Allow Your Relationship to Change, but Do So Purposefully
Many happily married couples will say that everything changes after marriage. But hasn’t the relationship been changing all along? I hope so, because it should.
Relationships are as varied as the people who have them. Often, we try to take one rule or principle and apply it to every situation, but that usually brings confusion and frustration. There are precious few decisions that we can copy from other relationships and paste into our own; boundaries must be set with more awareness and purpose than that—specifically, awareness of and allowance for the differences in people and the naturally progressing stages of a relationship.
This doesn’t mean that any development in physical boundaries is acceptable. We cannot place every change beneath the umbrella of natural development and let it pass, unquestioned. Our desires (especially in this area) can be incredibly intense and disorienting and require more active discernment from us.
Each couple will experience different temptations, and boundaries that change in certain relationships should remain fixed in others. For some, when their relationship first began, spending time alone in a quiet room proved too tempting. But as they grew in discipline and matured together, seeking God’s will, they were able to enjoy the benefits of that time with less physical provocation.
Another couple in a similar situation might need to make a different decision.
Maybe you choose to kiss before your wedding day because it happens naturally in the development of your relationship (or, like me, you don’t relish the thought of kissing for the first time in front of a crowd). Maybe that causes too much temptation for one or both of you.
Maybe you enjoy cuddling in front of a movie and it doesn’t strain boundaries, or maybe it’s something you’ve agreed to avoid until after you’re married.
Whatever your decisions, make sure they are honoring God and not merely gratifying yourself. Let respecting, protecting, and loving the other person be your goal (Philippians 2:3-5), and always be aware of how your choices affect the people around you (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).
Caroline Madison is a freelance editor and writer with a passion for the written word and a special interest in telling and reading stories that present biblical truths in fresh ways. She also enjoys writing flash fiction, drawing pencil portraits, and playing piano.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White