Tag Archive: how far is too far


belgiumI remember the first article I was invited to write for Truth magazine back in the day had the title, “How far is too far?” so I wrote, “Belgium. Belgium is too far!” and then proceeded to write the rest of my article [for some reason, they let me stay.]

And the main point of the article was that if we are asking ‘How far is too far?’ then we are already in trouble because we are asking the wrong question. From the Christian perspective, basically knowing that ‘Sex before marriage is the greatest evil’ [it’s not, but you’d think so from the trailer!] the ‘HFITF’ questions is pretty much asking, ‘How much can I do with my girl/boy-friend before I have to feel bad?’ ‘How close to the cliff can I get without falling off?‘ [where falling off was a metaphor for ‘having a baby’ or something] or else quite simply ‘How close to evil can I sneak without being called it?’

In essence, the question we were all taught to ask was ‘How much can I get away with?’

And it’s the wrong question!

But we never knew that, because sex was such a dirty topic. It was a dirty topic at home as our parents were from the ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ generation [who must have all had sex by accident one day when they tripped on top of each other and their clothes burnt up in the friction as they fell, or something] and it was definitely a dirty topic at church [Sex was pretty much the ‘Voldemort’ of church. Voldemort being the ‘Saying Macbeth before theatre productions’ of the Harry Potter world. And so on.]

And so, because we couldn’t learn about sex from our parents or our church leaders, all that left was our friends and their illicitly-smuggled-from-deviant-older-brother ‘smuggled in brown paper bag’ magazines [which in my day had these little white stars posted over the n_p_l_s! Who, by the way were not always the best of teachers. [Our friends and magazines, I mean, not n_p_l_s. Although they weren’t much help either]

Oh parents. Oh church leaders. How you might have saved us much trouble and confusion and who knows what other kinds of traumas and complications had we just been able to sit around and have an open and adult conversation about S-E-X. We don’t blame you for it, because you had your own story passed on from your parents and society, and I really think you did the best you could. But it would have helped.

Today all of that is history as we have our good friend Uncle Google who has all measure of wikipedia entries, how-to videos and image galleries to walk us through it. [But it would probably still go a lot smoother if you just gave us the chance of a decent potentially-awkward-but-we’ll-get-over-it conversation before we turn 30 and without merely tossing a pamphlet, book or website URL on our pillows when we are out]

Let’s talk about sex.

This is a relevant conversation for Christ-following people for sure, but I believe it extends way beyond that. I think that healthy sexuality, purity, intimacy and self-control and other aspects  linked to relationships and sex are relevant for everyone because I believe that getting a healthy grasp on them [hee hee] is more about living well than merely living christian. So I hope you will find these posts useful:

First up I have two posts by the incredible Jamie Wright who blogs as ‘The Very Worst Missionary’ and has written two extremely helpful blog posts, in her own very unique style, which I think really captures the heart of at least some of what this topic is all about:

Meet Jamie Wright, aka The Very Worst Missionary

i have recently been collating some of my archived blogs on various aspects of relationship and so here are a bunch of different thorts and ideas related to DATING largely by me but also from a friend or two of mine – hope they give you a fresh and inspiring picture of some different aspects when it comes to DATING:

i kissed dating, part number one thing

dating Q & A: where have all the good (christian) men gone? [the email]

dating Q & A: where have all the good (christian) men gone? [the reply]

dating Q & A: where have all the good (christian) men gone? [more reply]

get to know the person first

vision/values essential, passion helpful

marriagewards

good, positive, successful break-ups [WHAT?]

how far is too far? [part I]

how far is too far? [part II]

how far is too far? [part III]

Sex before Marriage

Step up! [Both of you!] – for the Ladies!

Step up! [Both of you!] – for the Men?

i kissed dating part revirgining yourself

i kissed dating part Joy and Serving one another in Love

i kissed dating – guest post – the dog whisperer

i kissed dating part Eliminate the Klingon

i kissed dating part “the ONE”

my beautiful wife’s story [READ THIS!]

Terran Williams kissed dating…

continuing with the HOW FAR IS TOO FAR question…

finished the first part by saying this:

So THE QUESTION you frame will sound a lot more like this – HOW CAN I LOVE AND RESPECT THIS PERSON i am in a relationship with to the extent that if the dating relationship ever ends, he/she does not walk away with A WHOLE LOT OF BAGGAGE [physically, emotionally…] and HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE OF MYSELF AND KEEP SPECIAL for the person who i am going to end up marrying?

and HERE ARE SOME PRINCIPLES that should help you deal with this in a POSITIVE AND HEALTHY way:

[1] DECIDE ON THE BOUNDARIES BEFORE YOU NEED TO – if you are sitting in a darkened room with your girlfriend on the couch at 11pm on a Saturday evening and there is no one else at home, then the moment things start progressing physically is not the best time to start thinking about what your boundaries are – it’s NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. So come up with a plan and discuss it with your person BEFORE you get into the situation, so that WHEN THE SITUATION OCCURS the boundaries are already in place and it will be easier to slow things down or stop them completely.

[2] ERR ON THE SIDE OF SAFE – as i mentioned before if you are playing right on the edge of the cliff then you are only ONE BAD MOVE AWAY from falling over. So when it comes to what physical stuff you and your person are happy with, rather err on the side of less. As a married man, i can promise you that i NEVER LOOK BACK at past relationships i had AND WISH I HAD GONE FURTHER with any of the girls. Rather when meeting and dating and eventually marrying Val, i wish that i had done less. I was her first boyfriend and so i know i was not able to offer her the same purity that she offered me. So DO LESS! Take more time to get to know each other and enjoy each other as people, and less time in darkened rooms making out. [There is lots of time for that later, Mmm…]

[3] HAVE GOOD ACCOUNTABILITY – Proverbs 27.6 says “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” And what this means is if you have someone in your life who you know loves you and cares about you, then even their words of caution or rebuke can be trusted (because it will be done in love) whereas people who just say “Yes!” to everything you do or want to do, are really acting as enemies to you. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SOME GODLY PEOPLE who will not be afraid to SPEAK TRUTH in your life. For guys, have a guy and for girls, have a girl who you can speak to about your relationship stuff, about the struggles and temptations [especially in this area of physical stuff] and who will check in on you and be praying for you and loving you back to health if you ever do mess up.

This is one of the areas that takes down Jesus-following people MORE THAN MOST OTHERS. Largely because of THE GUILT AND CONDEMNATION that comes to visit when you get it wrong. We know that in Jesus there is no condemnation – there is GRACE AND FORGIVENESS and a second chance. But WHY EVEN GO THAT ROUTE? MAKE GREAT CHOICES FROM THE BEGINNING and you won’t even have to go down that road.

It STARTS WITH ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTION – and HOW FAR IS TOO FAR? is not that question.

HOW CAN I LOVE AND RESPECT THIS PERSON i am in a relationship with to the extent that if the dating relationship ever ends, he/she does not walk away with A WHOLE LOT OF BAGGAGE [physically, emotionally…] and HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE OF MYSELF AND KEEP SPECIAL for the person who i am going to end up marrying?

[to continue to part III click here]

Belgium. i would say that Belgium is probably TOO FAR. Unless you’re in Holland, cos then it’s just like down the road or something…

But in our recent history or being asked to speak or lead workshops on relationships, THE ONE QUESTION that the beautiful val and i GET ASKED WITHOUT FAIL is this one: HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?

And the answer is very simple. ASK A BETTER QUESTION! Because with ‘How far is too far?’ WHAT YOU ARE REALLY SAYING is:

“I know there’s a line, there’s a cliff. But i want to know HOW CLOSE TO THE EDGE of the cliff can i get without actually being over it?”

or another way:

“How close to being bad can i actually get WITHOUT HAVING TO FEEL GUILTY?

or something like that… and because you are asking THE WRONG QUESTION, you will never get a satisfying answer.

and if there is a line or a cliff and you spend all your time hanging out right on the edge of it, then THERE WILL COME A MOMENT when you are not strong enough to resist temptation and it is just a step away from A LONG AND PAINFUL PLUMMET from which it is not possible to come back without some scratches and bruises.

Well then WHAT QUESTION SHOULD I BE ASKING? Well it starts with my premise that all dating is done with the possibility of this person being the one that i end up married to. With that in mind – and remembering everything that was said about good break-ups in the last blog [when you realise you are not a good match] – there is always the probability that if things do not work out for me and this girl, that she will one day be SOMEONE ELSE’S WIFE.

With me so far? If things don’t work out with me and present girlfriend at some stage she will be someone else’s wife. Now be that person and work backwards from there: If you are dating someone who is one day going to be my wife, what do you think i would be happy to allow the two of you to do? And the answer is probably NOTHING!! i would not want you to do anything – in the physically intimate sense – with the girl who will one day be my wife.

Now DO NOT PANIC!!!, I AM NOT SAYING DO NOTHING. What i am saying, is that if we are able to view our relationship with this person as someone else’s potential life-long mate, it MAY HELP US TO MORE EASILY AND THOUGHTFULLY DEFINE what those boundaries are.

Because i am NOT SURE THE SPECIFICS ARE THE SAME for everyone. And i am not going to give you a list of THINGS YOU CAN DO and PLACES YOU CANNOT TOUCH [altho reproductive organs and baby-feeding appendages are probably great non-negotiable areas to completely avoid] because i think there are some KEY PRINCIPLES that if you put them in place, will make the living-out-of-it’ness a lot easier.

So THE QUESTION you frame will sound a lot more like this – HOW CAN I LOVE AND RESPECT THIS PERSON i am in a relationship with to the extent that if the dating relationship ever ends, he/she does not walk away with A WHOLE LOT OF BAGGAGE [physically, emotionally…] and HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE OF MYSELF AND KEEP SPECIAL for the person who i am going to end up marrying?

[to be continued… by clicking here…]

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