I know what you are thinking, PLEASE-not ONE MORE person telling me their opinion on Christian dating!! I too am tired of Christians talking about how to date, how not to date, who to date, who not to date, when, where, why, how…the list never ends, and it seems like everyone sees it differently! While I would never venture to say that I am an expert on wise Christian dating, I certainly would say that I am an expert on how NOT to do it. What I would like to do is just share my experience on the subject and see if God might speak to you through it.
I am now 23 years old but I vividly remember my high school years, probably because they were so difficult for me. I was the girl my freshman and sophomore year who was friends with all the “popular” people, but I was definitely not popular myself. Inside I desperately wanted to be accepted and so outwardly I tried to be anyone but myself. Because of these insecurities I never really had a boyfriend throughout middle school and the beginning of high school, which was something I deeply desired. In the middle of my sophomore year of high school my family moved from Colorado to Florida, which just added to my anxiety. I became depressed during this year because I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t a part of any of the cliques that ruled my school.
However, during my freshman and beginning of my sophomore year of high school I was a cheerleader, and I finally became one again at the end of my sophomore year after I moved to Florida. It wasn’t instant, but eventually I began to make friends. Then when I came back to school my junior year I was the “new girl” and for the first time in my life guys liked me. I really didn’t know how to handle it, and I ended up starting a relationship with a guy the beginning of that year, we’ll call him Matt. Matt and I were serious from the beginning and I just loved the way he made me feel pretty and special.
About a month after Matt and I started dating I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior for the first time in my life. My family hadn’t really been involved in church (other than holidays) so this was totally new for me. It was a new world, and God gave me a joy and confidence that I had never had in my entire life. He truly made me into a new person. I jumped right into youth group and church leadership- I absolutely loved learning more about God.
The problem with this great new life is that it was totally separate from my relationship with my boyfriend, Matt. It was like I lived in two different worlds; my church world and my Matt world. I was growing as a Christian and involved in every single thing possible at church, but I was completely different when I was around Matt. Sure I didn’t have a problem with the “big” sins like drinking, smoking or cussing, but when it came to Matt, I would do anything to make sure he liked me.
I regret that I didn’t have anyone in my life at that time to tell me that it wasn’t okay for me to do sexual things with Matt, because I didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, the only person I blame is myself because I DEFINITELY felt God’s Spirit telling me it was wrong, but I just felt like it was something I couldn’t stop. I thought that as long as I didn’t have sex with Matt that it was okay for me to do everything else. So I just kept on living my double life and no one stepped in to question me.
I know that this is something that many of you might struggle with, and unfortunately it’s just not something the church talks about too much. That’s why I am talking to you about it now. Matt and I broke up a few times during high school because I KNEW it wasn’t a relationship God wanted me in. But I just kept going back to him because it was comfortable, and every time we got back together we just would end up doing more sexual stuff. Deep down I KNEW that it was wrong, but I would rationalize it away every time.
Eventually Matt and I went off to separate colleges and I was finally able to see how destructive our relationship had been and we broke it off for good. As I said, we never had sex and that is something I am so thankful for; and we only withstood that temptation by the strength of Christ. I have now been married for a year and a half to an amazing man of God who loves me and cares for me with the love of Christ. We both waited until our wedding night to have sex and it was the most precious gift I could have given or received. But when I was in high school I never thought about what would affect my marriage, and I bet you don’t either.
Here is the problem. While God will definitely forgive the sexual sins you make before your marriage, unfortunately our minds still want to hang on to them. My relationship with Matt still haunts me and images pop into my head that are nightmares to me today. Yes, I didn’t go ‘all the way,’ but the sexual sins I tried to ignore and rationalize, in the end, have still left deep scars. I am disgusted that I gave my body to someone who is now not my husband. And I am disgusted that I dishonored my marriage in such a way, as well. Furthermore, my weakness in not being able to say no to Matt means that his marriage will also always be blemished.
Trust me on this, young men and women of God, our God is a God of who makes us pure and new; as it is written in Ezekiel 18:31, “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” However, God can only make us clean when we are humble and willing. We have been promised that, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). What simply can’t be erased are the consequences left in our minds from the sins of our pasts. I can speak confidently and boldly from my own experience: seek righteousness and purity with all your hearts and minds during your youth for it has a great influence on your future. We all can rest on the hopeful and glorious promise given to use in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”