I was in a conversation with someone the other day, who believed that it was difficult to stay faithful in a committed relationship such as marriage. I countered his argument by explaining why some people find it difficult to keep it in their pants, which is a result of a lack of intentionality and healthy boundaries.
If you want your relationship to succeed, then you must be willing to put in the work to see that happen. You have to be intentional about your relationship, and one way intentionality plays out in healthy relationships is by instilling boundaries early enough. Think about it, there are certain things you allow in your life, and certain things that are an absolute no-no, such a principle should be also applicable in your dating life.
After a horrible relationship experience, I was honestly sick and tired of relationships. It was as if nothing was working out, I usually gave my all to my relationships, but nothing seemed to pan out. So I began to look back on my life to see where I must have been doing things wrong, and if I wanted to see different in my life, I had to be willing to do something different. Different strategies=Different results.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, they say. While that is not true in every situation, for the purposes of this article, we will act like it is, and change our strategies.
I love this picture above because it reminds me of a passage of scripture in the Bible, where the writer of proverbs talks about wisdom being present when God set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries (Proverbs 8:29) and also in Acts 17:26 (NKJV) the writer says; “From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
We all know what happens when the sea or the ocean goes past its boundaries; there is a possibility for great chaos. And also when people try to cross boundaries illegally to other nations, there is always trouble. So it is safe to conclude that it is a wise thing to have boundaries, not just in relationships but in all aspects of life. And if there are no boundaries, chaos is bound to spring up.
“Our best teacher isn’t experience, but evaluated experience” John Maxwell
I had to look back and evaluate where I was doing things wrong. As a Christian, I had this tattooed at the back of my mind, that sex before marriage was a sin and was displeasing to God, but I did it anyway. And whenever I indulged in premarital sex, the relationships never led anywhere. It always left me empty and lonely.
As I began to feed myself with the word of God and learn from others who decided to save themselves for marriage, I started seeing clearly— I was the common denominator in all these relationships. Although I was seeking the right thing, I was going about it the wrong way. I did not have standards or boundaries in place.
My conversations with men at the time were not intentional; I was scared to ask in-depth questions from the get-go, which was as a result of the fear that they will possibly leave me. But if they leave because you ask questions, they were never meant to be there, to begin with. So healthy boundaries have to be in place so we can build healthy relationships.
I have noticed that why a lot of women, maybe even men may find themselves in “situationships" (Commit-less Relationships.) This is because there are no boundaries in place. For instance, boy meets girl, girl starts catching feelings for boy, and boy starts feeding girl with what he believes girl's ear is itching to hear, and girl falls, hook, line & sinker.
Boy then wants to hang-out with girl at her house and at mostly odd hours, girl obliges because after all, this is a guy that she is "talking to," and surely he must like her, and she also likes him. Boy then comes over to girl’s house, and one thing leads to another, and within a short amount of time, they become physically intimate. Then boy starts thinking clearly, and girl isn't, and it now becomes a vicious cycle of girl chasing after boy, who masked himself as someone who wanted a committed relationship in the beginning, but when in all honesty, the signs were glaring.
I can't tell you how many times I have found myself in such situations, just because I was looking for love. Why I fell most of the time was because I did not have standards and boundaries in place. There is this saying that goes "if you don't stand for anything, then you will fall for everything."
Let us define what boundaries are; according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Boundaries are unofficial rules about what should not be done, and also limits that define acceptable behavior. You see, when you have the big picture at the forefront of your life each day, or when you know your why, and it will be hard to make little compromises along the way.
“You say I am allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for you. And even though I am allowed to do anything, I must not become a slave to anything.” Paul (1 Corinthians 6:12)
If for example, I had boundaries in the past, I wouldn’t let a man who I am not officially dating come over to my house, with me alone at home. I wouldn't entertain sexual conversations with a man who isn’t my husband, I wouldn't allow a man to touch me inappropriately, and we wouldn't spend our times together at each other's homes but rather in public spaces.
If a man wants to come over all the time or wants you over to his place all the time, without any effort to properly date you, then that is a red flag. The man is probably looking for just sex. Be careful not to fall prey to these types of men or even women (men get played too).
Both parties interested in a relationship with each other should define what they expect in a relationship from the beginning. They should state what is acceptable and what isn't. If both parties are Christians, they should set rules in such a way that they don't fall into sexual sin. Once there is an attraction, and once the mood is right, it is seamless to fall prey to sexual immorality—If your goal is to honor God (as it should be with all Christians), then boundaries must be set in place to avoid such situations from happening or reoccurring.
What Boundaries May Look Like
1) Avoid hanging out alone in confined spaces
2) No sex before marriage
3) Avoid sleepovers
4) Avoid kissing as much as possible
5) Avoid sexual explicit conversations
The Benefits of Boundaries
1) Reduces the chances of heartaches (even if the relationship ends, both parties are not as messed up)
2) Decisions are made with a clear head
3) If the relationship doesn't work out in the end, lines were not crossed
4) It perpetuates self-control, faithfulness, and trust
5) Both parties gain respect for each other
When boundaries are in place, you get to build self-discipline, which not only helps you in your single life but will also show up when you are married. Both parties will be able to build a level of trust that will not be easily broken. Since the parties involved didn’t have sex whilst dating; with themselves or others, then there is a high chance that they might not fall into sexual sin whilst married, since self-control and trust have been built over time. This is important, because there will be times when you wouldn’t be in the same location as your partner, and self-restraint has to be practiced.
Also, as a believer, when (sexual) sin is absent from your life, you get to enjoy intimacy with God without any walls or barriers stopping you from communing with Him. I believe our number one reason to save ourselves should be to honor God, and when we put Him and His desires first, He will in turn honor us. (Check out the story of Joseph, Genesis 39)
Have any of you put boundaries in place in your relationships? How did it work out for you? Are boundaries necessary? We love to hear from you! Comment below or contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, remember to like, share and subscribe, never to miss an update on Let’s Talk Nation.
Like what you just read? Click this link to explore more on our Relationships page.
About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.