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“SINGLE AGAINs”- Part IIIB:
Your Purity Threat Assessment (Cont’d)

You might want to read the beginning of this discussion:
“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part I: The Purity Challenge
“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part II:Transitioning To Singleness Due to Divorce – Dating
“SINGLE AGAINs” – Part IIIA: Your Purity Threat Assessment

Let’s face it:  Being single in the 21st Century is tough, especially if you are also a Christian Single!  Having been married and sexually active it is especially challenging to adjust to being completely celibate!  As we saw in the last post, it is important to identify threats and vulnerabilities.  If we don’t know of a danger, or weakness, then we can never defeat it.

As stated in Frank Herbert’s novel, DUNE:

The first step in avoiding a trap is knowing it’s there!” 
Duke Leto Atreides

So, let’s continue our threat assessment!

Let’s review our combined list of threats and vulnerabilities, when it comes to sexual purity:

  1. We live in a sexualized society: Sex is EVERYWHERE!
  2. Dating puts us in situations where we can get turned on, big time
  3. We’re living on our own (mostly) in terms of being “the grown up in the house”
  4. We are used to responding to advances/kisses/caresses in a way that takes us “around the baseball diamond”
  5. We are used to having sex.
  6. We have a history of enjoying sharing intimacy and a bed with someone (i.e. we don’t like being lonely).
  7. We may have friends who are urging us to “go have fun!”
  8. Society is encouraging us to have FWB/NSA (Friends With Benefits/No Strings Attached) relationships/sex.
  9. It is EASY to get into trouble, especially with all the Internet options!

Now, it is time to continue with #4:

#4 AUTOMATIC RESPONSES

If we are honest about it, we’ll admit that we can be creatures of habit.  In our love lives, when we are married, that can lead to getting into a sexual rut because as our spouse does THIS (kiss, touch, caress) then we automatically do THAT which leads to a RESPONSE in our spouse that continuous us on around the baseball diamond of making out and to “Home Plate”.

But, touching isn’t all that can trigger a response.  It may be seeing our date in a certain situation, or outfit, or activity, that gets the blood going and causes us to respond, automatically.

While we were married we became used to kissing, leading on to caressing other parts of the body, then on to efforts to disrobe, and finally to more intimate situations (laying together on the couch, on the floor, etc.).  What we are NOT used to doing is putting on the brakes!  And that is what we have to assess and plan for.

We know that, when we are dating, that we have to be on alert for these triggers, these situations that must be countered if we are to please God in our dating lives, and remain pure by His standards!  The way to win is:

MENTALLY PRACTICE WHAT TO DO!

Think about the situations you need to prepare for.  List the things that will cause you to start getting aroused beyond what is wise (if you are on a date and you are totally NOT turned on, you may need to reassess your choice of a date).  List what a date could do, say, or ask, that would need to be countered (gently and politely, if you want to keep seeing them) by forethought on your part.  Here are some examples:

  1. A kiss goodnight begins to drag on and get more passionate.
  2. During a kiss hands begin to move outside the proper areas.
  3. You and your date are out on a date and you know that you are getting too turned on, like at a ball with a lot of close dancing.
  4. Your date, in a moment of passion/weakness, asks you to go further, or to even spend the night.
  5. It is a scientific face that many sports activities an get you worked up!

Some of these are countered just by limiting WHERE you are!  In my TECH-SAFE YOUTH seminar I tell teens that they do NOT need to be alone at home with their date/beau.  If Mom/Dad run to Wal-Mart, they should go with them, or they should go to the park, etc., to get OUT of being alone in a private place (the house, in this case).  A lot can happen in 10-15 minutes!  Lives can change (and be created)!!!

This is a good standard for single adults, too!  You don’t stay in and watch TV on the couch, with no one else at home.  Things might get out of control.  Yes, you need some privacy for some discussions, but those situations should be few, and should have protections in place. (You and your beau/girl are talking in the living room but the kids are in the next room, or outside the large plate glass sliding doors with the drapes OPEN.)

The key is, identify situations and activities that could lead to sexual sin, and avoid or counter them!  As fighter pilots do, mentally rehearse your “escape maneuvers” and your “emergency procedures”!

NOTE:  Both men and women know how to dress attractively.  That doesn’t mean you dress seductively, or provocatively.  If you do, you are not respecting the one you claim to love.  Dressing in a sexual manner can harm their relationship with God (by affecting their thought life and desires).

 

#5 WE ARE USED TO HAVING SEX!

At some point in our marriage we were happy, and had a sex life that (hopefully) met our needs for physical and emotional intimacy.  We got used to making love or, sometimes, just having sex.  (Yep, there’s a difference!).  Now that we are single, we have to realize that our previous situation produces temptation and distraction.

This is closely tied to #4, above, but it is also different in that we are going to desire physical intimacy.  This may be due to mental, emotional, or hormonal causes, but it is still there:  We are going to want to have sex and we are used to those desires being met.

So, how do we deal with this vulnerability?

First, we have to firmly establish our new boundaries in our hearts, minds, and souls.  We need to identify those “red lines” that will not be crossed…the limits for what it is OK to do.

What are those limits for the Christian single: First base.  Kissing. On the lips.  That’s it.

For some couples even that will  be too far, as I’m sure you have seen in articles about those whose first kiss was after the preacher said: “You may now kiss your bride!”  Many say that should be the standard.  I would hesitate to have that as a blanket boundary, but it is a good starting one for all relationships!  If a couple is going to kiss, they need the following limits:

  1. You only kiss where you can’t go further.  That means, as adults, we say good night on the doorstep, we do not “make out” in the car, etc..  We may have privacy to kiss, but nothing more.
  2. You only kiss.  Period.  Hands are in appropriate places.  Bodies are in appropriate physical positions.
  3. You only kiss for a short while.  That may vary by couple, but we have to remember that continued kissing gets the blood hotter, and hotter.

Each couple should DISCUSS their boundaries, in a clear manner, early on.  Given the propensity to chat/e-mail/text, that should be easily facilitated. While you are dating you should both pray and study God’s Word regarding dating, avoiding sexual sin/temptation, and have accountability partners to keep you on track!    If you are wanting to honor God with your boundaries, and your date does not agree with your limits, then that may be good reason to re-evaluate the relationship, before you get too attached.

TIP:  If you and your lady/gent are going to discuss intimacy (which may be very appropriate, especially as the relationship matures and nears the possibility of marriage), do this:

  • Agree to meet in the park for a picnic (the park should not be within walking distance)
  • Drive there separately
  • Pick a spot for your picnic where you can have privacy of speech, but where you are easily seen
  • Limit contact to hand-holding and brief kissing
  • Have the discussion
  • Leave separately, at least 10 minutes apart
  • Wait 2-3 days to see each other in order for any “hot blood” to cool down, but also to allow you both time to “process” what you talked about!

OK…WHY LIMIT CONTACT TO KISSING?

Because anything else leads to sex!  If you don’t believe that you need to read: Why “Making Out” Is Like A Beer Party!

Second, you have to deal with this threat factor: LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!

It is unlikely that you will go too far if you are kissing on a bridge in the park (KISSING, not making out!).  But, if you are at home, alone, on the couch, with the lights down, there  is danger.

For the “Single Again” who wants to remain sexually pure it is critical that they do not allow themselves to be in a place/situation that could facilitate going too far.  That doesn’t mean you are never alone, just that you are alone “in plain sight!”  If you watch TV together, you are not alone in the home, or even alone on the same floor of the home. (You wouldn’t go upstairs with your teen daughter sitting on the couch with her boyfriend, would you?)

Whatever rules you would make for your children, whom you are wanting to remain pure, APPLY TO YOU EVEN MORE!  The “It’s OK, we’re adults!” excuse is, to be blunt, a bogus cop-out!

Here’s the one key: ASK GOD TO REMOVE YOUR DESIRES UNTIL THE TIME IS RIGHT!

Don’t worry. He loves you, and will give them back, when it is time.  Just don’t make His job harder by “stoking the fires”!

#6  WE DON’T LIKE BEING ALONE

I’m not single.  I’ll admit that, but there have been times due to military service and corporate work that my wife and I have been separated for long periods of time.  I’m talking a year in one case!!!  So, I think I can speak of loneliness, and the desire to have someone with you, even if they are only just hanging in the house, or asleep in bed.

This is one of the hardest transitions we may have to make:  To learn to be alone only with God.

Satan will use loneliness to tempt us, to wear us down.  We just want someone near, someone to hold, someone to hold us and make us feel wanted and cherished and desired.  Especially late at night.  When we are alone.  After a bad day.

It can get so bad that we will believe Satan’s lies, that “just once” is OK, that “God will understand”.

Those are LIES!!!

We have to remember that Jesus was single, and alone.  Yet, He found His peace and strength through His relationship with the Father.  That is our path, too!  It should be our path even when we are married!

So, recognize how Satan can attack you on this level and plan your responses ahead of time:

  1. Are there passages that speak to you, and comfort you, in these times?
  2. Can you have an accountability partner (NOT your GF/BF!) whom you can call, anytime?
  3. Is there somewhere you can go to not be completely alone, at least until you get a handle on the attack? (I’ve walked many a Wal-Mart late at night!)
  4. Can you train yourself to automatically turn to prayer when under attack?
  5. Can you accept that you may be alone, for this time, and own it?

These three threat areas have all dealt with “internal” issues and temptation.  Next post we will look at three important, and dangerous EXTERNAL threats to single purity!

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