Affection: Where do you draw the line?
How do we go about setting physical standards for dating?
Is it based on long you’ve known the guy? How much he’s done for you? How much you’ve told him about yourself?
Drawing lines like this can be like trying to draw lines in the sand—one wave comes and they’re gone. When we try to define our own standards for love, it can seem like an impossible task. Just when we are certain we have it figured out, we come up with ten different reasons to let the line slide back an inch: “I mean, at least there’s still a line right?”
Dating like this is exhausting! Constantly asking, “How far is too far?” and “Is this okay or not?” and “How do I know he wants me and not just my body?” These are all questions we ask ourselves time and time again. Maybe this is because we keep getting answers that we don’t like, or maybe we are simply asking the wrong questions.
“How far is too far?” This is the main question that we ask ourselves and it is the question that I spent so much of this past semester contemplating. I love him, so how do I show him that without compromising my values? Physical touch is one of my top two love languages, so wanting to express my heart through my actions comes all too easy to me. The intensity of the desire that you can feel to be close to someone that you love never ceases to amaze me. This is not a desire that can be easily resisted. What adds to the difficulty of this resistance is that these desires are something we should experience! It would be much more concerning if you were discerning marriage with someone and you did not desire to be close to them. That would probably make the “oneness” of a future marriage quite difficult.
So how do we take these natural desires, our love for the other person, and our desire to stay true to our values and answer this “how far is too far” question? We must look beyond our own sand-drawn lines. We must look to the creator of these desires and His original plan for them within marriage to find the answer.
What is the body of Christ’s bride worth? His life. What was He willing to do to show His love for her? He poured out all of Himself, holding nothing back. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, His bride. So our future husbands will be called to love us in this same total and giving way. The key is, as the future bride, we are not capable of setting our own price. If we want to find a husband that loves us as Christ loves us, then we must be willing to keep the standard set where Christ has set it.
Christ has chosen the price for love. Any price that we settle for, leads us to settling for a love that we do not truly desire. Isn’t it true that the more you pay for something or the harder you work for it, the more you treasure it? How much more can a man give than his life? The entirety of his heart, his love, his future children, his money, his last name… everything! As women, this is the kind of love that we yearn for. We long for a love in which we can give everything that we are, and know that we are loved in the same way. This is why Christ has chosen this price, for the protection of both men and women: to protect us from settling, and guide us back to the love we are created for.
Your body, your heart, and your life, are worth dying for. So instead of asking, “How far is too far?” begin asking yourself, “Am I looking at love in a short-term way, or a long-term way?” Then begin looking for ways to inspire the latter. Now you can focus on growing in love and friendship, instead of simply holding back physically in angst. Trust Christ with your heart, for He has paid its price.