When I was dating my husband we started talking a lot about physical boundaries, mostly because (like any couple) we had a hard time keeping them.
By the grace of God (and also because we took the “short engagement” advice so many had given us) we made it to the wedding day with purity intact, but our experience of crossing boundaries before we met one another, and then struggling in our relationship together, led me to write an e-book about how Christians never seem to be asking the right questions when it comes to sex before marriage.
You’re welcome to download a free copy if you haven’t yet.
Here’s another question that has entered our conversation since we got married.
Who’s responsibility is it to hold physical boundaries in dating?
I’m going to be really honest for a minute. I’m pretty sure I thought, before I got married, that it was the guy’s responsibility. I know that probably doesn’t make me sound very balanced or politically correct or whatever, but I’m just being real with you.
I grew up hearing this message (intended or not):
If a man really loves you, he won’t push physical boundaries. If he ever crosses the threshold of what you deem appropriate (even if you never communicated those expectations out loud—I mean, it’s in the Bible, right???) then he probably isn’t a good guy, and you should dump him.
I’m exaggerating (a little) to make a point. I’m guessing that, in real life, my attitude was a little more subtle, but either way you get the picture.
Lately I’m starting to wonder if I was wrong about that.
Part of it is that I’m gaining insight into the mind of a man. I notice how my husband’s “sexuality” is different than mine. He’s motivated much more quickly, and turned on by different things, than I am. None of this is rocket science. You’d be hard pressed to argue that a guy is wired differently (biologically) than a woman.
The point is that knowing what I know now, I’m pretty sure I would have acted differently (in the area of physical boundaries) when we were dating.
I’m pretty sure I would have dressed differently, first of all.
Not radically different. I wasn’t wearing string bikinis to our dates or anything. I would have just been more careful to notice how he responded to what I was wearing.
I would have been more careful about things I said, about my mannerisms.
I wouldn’t have left it up to him to have the conversation that I wanted to have.
I would have been honest, from the beginning, about what I expected and wanted.
I want to be careful. I’m not saying that it should be the woman’s responsibility to hold physical boundaries in a dating relationship.
I’m just curious.
Whose job do you think it is to hold physical boundaries? Is it more the guy than the girl? Is it more the girl than the guy?
What can girls do to help you, guys?
Girls, what can guys do to hold the boundary that makes you feel honored?
Photo cc by anne●vanilla on Flickr.