I smile nostalgically to think of your students’ imminent arrival on campus. My wife and I agree. The four years we spent at Baylor University were the four funnest* of our lives, most of it, good clean fun. We made great friends and a lot of wise choices, so by God’s grace, we have few regrets.
I said we have few regrets. Most of those had to do with our failure to maintain moral purity as we grew closer and closer together, as we drew closer and closer to our wedding day.
We often got too close.
But, don’t worry folks, we didn’t do that! No sir! We remained virgins! (Never mind how we stripped that word of its meaning.) Indeed, we pretty much “lived the dream” of the good little conservative Christian students you’ll meet this fall. Unfortunately, that dream wasn’t God’s dream for us, and so we spent the first seven years of our marriage dealing with the fallout of how poorly I led in the area of sexual purity.
And all of this happened in spite of:
- Confessing our sins to faithful accountability partners
- Memorizing Bible verses on purity, self-control and holiness
- Praying for God’s protection from our own passions
- Constructing numerous “boundaries” designed to keep us from sin
This brings us to one single sex boundary that we never set. In fact, I don’t think it ever occurred to us. It wasn’t recommended by my college pastor or any of my friends. It probably didn’t occur to them either.
Perhaps that’s because it would have proven inconvenient at times. More than that, it would have been downright counter-cultural, defying a key element of the basic dating paradigm followed by Christians and pagans alike.
It also would have saved us much shame and regret. Indeed, this one little commitment would have done more than empower us to resist temptation. It would have eliminated the opportunity to sin altogether.
I wish we would have never isolated (ourselves).
I’m not saying we should have never been alone or intimate, but that we should have never gone places where we couldn’t be seen or interrupted without warning.
You can walk or run alone together through a park, while you take in God’s creation and dream about the future. You can be intimate in the corner of a café, where you can lean in close and whisper everything from deep secrets to sweet nothings. You might even kiss, but unless you’re an exhibitionist it’s probably not going to go much further than that.
But we chose to isolate ourselves. Many times. And eventually it became a foregone conclusion that when we did, “stuff” would happen. If only we hadn’t gone back to the apartment when we knew the roommates were out. If only we had left the door open… all the way. If only we hadn’t spent those hours in the car alone together without any accountability of when we were expected to be where.
If only we didn’t have to reap the harvest of the bad seed sown in our courtship, which soured the first seven years of our sex life (Gal 6:7). If only we had resolved never to isolate ourselves.
Would this resolution have proven inconvenient or even awkward at times? YES! But I’m convinced, inconvenient and awkward beats out shameful and dishonorable any day. Would you agree?
As you consider the start of a new school year, I hope you’ll consider whether this one little boundary might enable one or more of your lovebirds to write a different love story; one where couples can love and honor one another.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,”
– 1 Thes 4:3-4 (ESV)
If you’re intrigued, you will find a more thorough presentation of this idea in a series of posts called Keep Things Out in the Open. It appears on my Date Night Advice (DNA) blog over at www.F-M-U.com.
If you think I’m smoking crack, you can tell me that as well, but it’s likely many of the questions or concerns you might have – or objections your students will likely raise – will be addressed in the blog series referenced above.
Whatever your opinion, PLEASE don’t miss the opportunity to get your students started out on the right relational foot.
* Spell check says “funnest” isn’t a word, but spell check hasn’t experienced college.