Updated: November 2, 2022
Figuring out physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships can be a challenge for many different reasons but there is definitely a way to do it so you may see the most success when trying to walk the purity journey out. It’s one of the main areas of purity I have gotten asked about while teaching purity all these years.
Setting up physical boundaries is extremely important because everyone may have different ideas of what that looks like and how they are going to implement it. Learning how to set up physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships was something that became a trial and error when my hubby and I were walking out our purity journey because we were both new to the faith and we both had history already. It’s not something either of us grew up doing or seeing around us.
This is why I am sharing these tips. I want people to know faster so they can implement these methods into their relationships and be able to walk out this purity journey with success.
Keep in mind, sexual purity is a journey not a destination. The habits you create now will carry over into your future marriage. If you learn self-control now, you will implement it later in different challenges that come with sexual purity and marriage.
Setting boundaries helps your relationship start off in the direction God calls us to go or helps redirect your relationship to get on track. It keeps your focus heavenward rather than bedroomward. Remember, He calls us to be holy.
Here’s a little warning, although it may not be your case, sometimes you may stumble, veer off course, get tired, etc. but continue to fight for purity. It’s worth it!
Boundaries are going to look different for everyone because we are all in different places either geographically or spiritually. Like my Youth Pastor said on a similar topic, “Modesty is contextual; purity is non-negotiable.” It’s the same thing with boundaries.
I know when I was dating my husband I not only had to set boundaries but I found as time went on and feelings grew I had to reset some boundaries too. For example, when we first started dating, sitting on the couch while watching a movie was no big deal. Six months later it became a big deal because now we were more comfortable with each other and we fell in love.
Sometimes you may stumble, veer off course, get lost, get tired, etc. but decide you will prevail and you will! So here we go!
7 Tips on How to Set Physical Boundaries in Christian Dating Relationships
Tip #1: Know what the physical boundaries are for both of you.
If you have never discussed physical boundaries before you got into a relationship, now is the time. Is it okay to hug? Is it okay to kiss? Maybe not kiss on the mouth but maybe a kiss on the cheek is ok? Ask for advice from a trusted Godly family member, friends, Pastors, mentors, or anyone who is a supporter of your decision in purity.
Remember, boundaries are going to look different for everyone. Maybe a hug is okay for you but not okay for the other person. It can still be considered too tempting for them. Culturally, someone may not even be able to sit on the same couch as you where for someone else it’s totally okay. This is why it’s good to know what the physical boundaries are for one another.
One of the questions I often get asked is, “Well how far is too far?” The better question is, “Are these actions bringing me closer to God or farther away?” Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance if you are really unsure. He is faithful to confirm or deny in what you are doing.
When you know what your physical boundaries are, you are able to talk about them, and revisit them if needed. If you feel like you have already crossed some boundaries, take this time to set them now and be strong in walking out this purity journey together.
Tip #2: Make sure you are both are in agreement.
When I first hung out with my hubby alone, I let him know in a very indirect but direct way what my intentions were with physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships even though at the time we were just friends. This way if his intentions weren’t aligned with mine, as far as what it could look like in the future dating, he was able to go somewhere else because it wasn’t happening here!
Both of you must come into agreement with the physical boundaries. Otherwise, what could happen is one will give into the other when tempting situations arise with any kind of justification that could sound like, “Well I never agreed to it from the beginning..” or “I can’t force him or her to accept my beliefs so I’m going to give in.” The enemy will use ANY foothold he can get to help deceive and get you two to trip up.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Tip #3: Write down the physical boundaries and make a game plan.
Now that you have implemented Tips #1 and #2, this is where you write down physical boundaries and make a game plan. Planning is what helped my hubby over and over again from falling into tempting situations that may have been difficult to get out of.
It’s not only the physical boundaries but the steps leading up to it. For instance, make it a rule not to go into each other’s bedrooms even if either your parents or their parents say it’s ok. I remember going over my boyfriend’s houses when I was a teen and their parents being totally ok with us being in a bedroom, with the door locked, and giving us privacy. I’m sure you already know the problems that came from that. Even if they say ok, say “No way”! I know that was corny but it’s going to happen a lot in my writing, love me anyway! Plus, rhyming helps keep these ideas in mind.
Writing them down in a place that’s easily accessibly is so you can both go back to it will help you to be reminded of what you both agreed to so no one can hold anything against the other. Make a list and and make sure you both understand it.
You may need to add onto it later especially when feelings become stronger. For instance, watching a movie together on the couch may be okay at first but later on it may be too tempting. Remember, physical boundaries can include proximity and your environment. Start off with a game plan and then adjust when necessary.
Tip #4: Ask people to help you and be specific with what you need help with.
I had a friend who was in her twenties and asked me to help her with purity by texting her every few minutes or so because her fiancé was coming over to her apartment to watch a movie. So I did! Every few minutes to an hour I would text and then we had an honest conversation when he left. She understood how important it was to have physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships and wanted to know someone was holding her accountable and she trusted I would follow through.
Ask those around you who support your decision to stay pure NOT the ones that are going to support you in the opposite direction, and you know who those people are. Let them know your plans. They might be led by the Holy Spirit to give you advice against it or provide other alternatives to hanging out that you might not have thought of. Allow Godly, safe, and healthy people to speak into your life.
Remember, stay FAR away from the influence that is going to pull you in the opposite direction. Even those who may “joke” about your decision. I remember having a friend who wanted to stay pure but ended up with people around her who constantly “joked” about when she was going to slip up until one day she did.
Genuine people who genuinely want you to succeed don’t mind supporting you and helping in any way they can. If you don’t have those kind of people in your life, ask the Lord to bring them to you. There have been so many times in my life where I specifically asked The Lord for Godly friends and those who would support the way I needed and He provided. He is faithful!
Tip #5: Check in with your boyfriend or girlfriend on a regular basis.
This simply means to check in and see if you two need to make adjustments to your boundaries, where are you both going to for support, what are your goals, and remembering the reasons behind your wait. These will all help you reset your focus and remember why you are on this journey to begin with.
Hopefully, the mindset behind you two getting together is to one day marry. This is a heavenly investment into your future marriage. Even if, it doesn’t work out, at least you both can stand before The Lord knowing you were both honorable with each other.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
We are called to look at our boyfriend or girlfriend as a brother or sister in Christ first. Are we bringing them closer to God or farther away? Sometimes, He will cause a break in the relationship. God is a jealous God, He is meant to be first. Now before you get upset at Him for it, know that He does it for our good because we were never meant to be somebody’s god. We are not equipped to handle the weight of that and vice versa.
Checking in with each other ensures that you two aren’t ignoring any changes that need to be made to your physical boundaries and that you are honoring God in them. I remember when my husband and I were within one month of getting married, we decided to not kiss anymore. We started to notice it was becoming too tempting and we had our goal in mind. It was difficult but when it came to the point of our wedding ceremony where he said, “You may kiss the bride..”, it was definitely worth the wait! Yaowwww! #marriageswag (I’m infamous for this hashtag in my circle..and trust me it is definitely a thing).
Tip #6: Write down purity scriptures and try to memorize them, (even the scary ones).
This helps for a number of reasons. First, it will remind you of God’s commandments especially when it comes to having physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships. Yes, He wants you to wait until marriage. Yes, there will be consequences even in the context of forgiveness if you decide not to. He is a Holy God and as His children, we are called to be Holy as well.
Second, it will help you battle the devil, God’s truth against his lies. The devil and his minions are constantly waiting, watching, and setting assignments up against you. Be prepared with the Word of God and speak it out loud. There is power in His Word!
Third, it helps give you encouragement and direction for your purity journey. Knowing you have The Lord and His heavenly armies backing you and your loved one’s decision helps when others want to tear you down. Speaking His Word to others not only backs you up but reminds you of it as well.
Try to memorize the scriptures on purity because there might be a time when your bible may not be right by your side. (Quick Tip: Buy a bunch of bibles and put them in all the rooms in your home so there’s never an excuse. Also, make sure to never leave home without it!)
Tip #7: PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
Pray about it in the morning! Pray about it in the evening! Continue to stay in prayer because it is through the power of Jesus Christ that we can know how to have these physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships and implement them throughout our purity journey.
Pray and remember the key words are IN JESUS CHRIST! If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be talking to you today! I couldn’t walk out my purity journey without Him. He gave both my hubby and myself strength when we needed it the most.
Likewise, He will give you the strength because He has given you the Holy Spirit. One part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (See Gal. 5:22-23). So I’m sorry but if you or someone who is a believer in Christ tries to say, “I just can’t control myself!”, it’s not true! When you have Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit, which means you have self-control!
I pray this helped you in understanding physical boundaries in Christian dating relationships. If you have any questions or want me to add further detail to any of the tips above, let me know and I’ll gladly do that for you. I pray for protection over you and your boyfriend or girlfriend in your journey of sexual purity. I pray you and your boyfriend or girlfriend will see this not as a burden but as a heavenly challenge that you are both gladly accepting because Who Jesus Christ is in our lives.
Baskets of Blessings!
Jesus, family, ministry, and lots of coffee! My heart comes from being a young teen girl who didn’t know much and found Jesus in a dark time. My ministry focuses on the heart of God for this generation to make Godly decisions especially in the area of purity. A blog for all ages because God’s Word is eternal and has no age limit!