Boundaries. Why do we set them? Maybe you’ve set boundaries with the food you eat, or the friendships you’re in. Could it have been the music you listen to, or the amount of money you spend? Whatever it’s been, you usually set them to try and better something and make it healthier, which is a really good thing to do in any situation. Although, today my main focus is boundaries in relationships and how it’s affected me and one of the most important relationships in my life.
Here’s a little background to get us started. About a year ago, I started dating a pretty great guy. Cole had been my friend for a while, but I always thought he was cute and had a little crush on him. It turns out he thought I wasn't too bad myself, so he asked me out on a date. A lot of car rides, trips to the zoo, dinners, church visits, movie dates, and time with our friends and families later, I was finally his girlfriend. He comes from an amazing supportive family, loves God with his whole heart, is loving and supportive in every way possible, and is one smart cookie. I couldn't have asked for much better.
At the very beginning of our relationship, we had a lot of serious discussions on where we wanted this relationship to go and what goals we wanted to set. The biggest thing we talked about was sex. Yes, you read that right. Go ahead, get your giggles, “ewww’s,” and shocked faces out now because this will be very open and vulnerable. OK, are we good now? Let’s get back to it.
So we both agreed that we did not want to sleep with anyone until the day of marriage. As a result, together we decided to set some boundaries. There were a lot of reasons behind why we were doing this, but I'm only going to share a few. First and foremost, we wanted God to be the center of our relationship and to grow together in our faith. Second, I have been in plenty of relationships in the past where God was not even close to the center, and as a result of that there were a lot of mistakes made, and I didn't want to live like that anymore. Lastly, it’s written in the Bible that sex is to be shared between husband and wife and we wanted to make sure we lived by that. This was our biggest boundary in our relationship.
With the big boundary came tons of little small ones to keep us in tact. We made sure we weren’t spending too much alone time together, that we spread it out evenly by spending time with our families as well. When we cuddled, we made sure we weren’t spooning or touching each other inappropriately. We also said no closed doors and stay out of the bedrooms. These few little things were to make sure we kept that big boundary in sight and didn’t put ourselves in a position where it was easy to be tempted.
Some other things that we reminded ourselves of was to make no exceptions and no compromises. You might think “Oh, it’s just going to be this one time and we won’t do it again.” NO!! Don’t do that. If it happens once, I guarantee it will happen again, and again, and again. If you feel like you need to move or stop doing something when parents come in the room, you’re doing something you shouldn’t be. It should never be how far you can take something until it reaches a stopping point, but what you should be doing to avoid those temptations. Keep in mind this relationship could quite possibly not end in marriage, so really think about the regrets it could leave in the end if you take things too far. So remember, don’t compromise or make exceptions!! It will only make you break those boundaries you set.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering why I have felt the need to write this blog. In the past, I have struggled with having boundaries in my relationships with guys. To be honest, I never really had any until I met Cole. I would cross lines with them that were not meant to be crossed and it resulted in some pretty toxic breakups. The major thing was though, God wasn’t in any of those relationships. I wanted that to change, so I made sure it did. But the reason I'm putting this out there is because I feel like a lot of young teenage couples struggle with making sure God is the center AND having boundaries to make sure He is. We feel like falling into the trap of temptation is just an ok thing at this point. I was one of them at a certain point. I thought that it was normal to do the wrong things, not have any boundaries, and think that everything would be fine in the end. Boy, was I wrong.
Please understand I am not saying at all that we are perfect, because we’re not. Mistakes were made and there were times we needed to be reminded to refocus our attention on the bigger picture. It took a lot of help from our families to make sure we stayed on the right path, and I am forever thankful for that. We both believe relationships are all about growing and learning. If it weren’t for Cole and our relationship, I wouldn't have known what a true Godly relationship for myself is. He pushed me, kept me accountable, and grew with me. In the end, we decided that each other was just not what God had planned for us. But we still continue to push, grow, and learn as friends with one another. That can be possible for you as well. Not all relationships have to end in a big toxic mess. If you make sure you stick to these things and truly put the boundaries up, but for some reason it just didn’t end up being the right relationship for y'all, it can still end with a healthy friendship and have a great connection to step away with. That was one of the biggest blessings for Cole and I.
I can confidently say having God in the center of one of my relationships and those boundaries to make sure we stick to what He wants is 100x better than ones without any of it. I felt a stirring to share my experiences and tell you that it is possible. Every relationship is meant to help you grow and learn as a young person, to know what you want for your life. What it is not for is sexual desires to be fulfilled. I get it, it’s hard. It’s so tempting, but I promise you, instead of using that time for sexual activity, set those boundaries and use the time to pray together. Read your Bible, do a Bible study, listen to a devotional, grow in God together! I cannot express enough that boundaries are so important to keep God at the center of it all! A recent quote that I read says this: “A relationship works best when God is at the heart of it.” I could not agree with it more.
Sometimes we think of boundaries as a bad thing. They seem hard, unmeetable, and that we will just give up in a couple weeks. But I say, BOUNDARIES ARE WORTH IT!! Be open with your significant other today, set goals to meet together, put God at the center of it all, stick to it, and I promise it will pay off! You’re not in this alone; so many people struggle with these things everyday, and I'm one of them. I’m here to remind you that you can do it. It will be worth it in the end. I’m so thankful for Cole and the relationship we had and all the things I learned from it. Without those boundaries, I believe we wouldn’t be in the place we are today with each other and our relationships with God. So, to wrap this up, I encourage you to set those boundaries and stay obedient towards them; it will pay off in the end. You’re capable of much more than you could ever imagine and I want you to remember that girls and guys, you’re not alone!!
Check this song out for some extra encouragement today!