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dna-out in the open 2OK, so last weekend I made the socially-awkward suggestion to keep your dating life out in the open.

In other words, if you fear falling (or already have fallen) to sexual temptation, then don’t date in isolation where where people can’t see you. All the time. (If you haven’t read that previous edition of Date Night Advice, please do that first.)

I ended last week’s DNA with this question: “What if you have some intense issues to discuss that might illicit emotions (other than romantic passion) which you don’t want to display in public – emotions like anger, anxiety or sorrow?”

“It Just Happened!”

My thoughts?

Sure if you’re sharing deeply personal stuff you might actually shed a few tears there in front of others. I did that myself while at a restaurant – not on a date, but while out with some dear friends. Actually, what I did was more or less burst into tears. I mean, I managed not to draw stares from others (I think), but if you were to have looked over at me at the wrong moment you would have thought, “Whoa, what’s wrong with that guy?!?”

Was that embarrassing? Yes, indeed it was. Am I sorry I did it? Not at all. I didn’t anticipate sharing on that level with that couple at that time. It just happened.

And that’s precisely what two love birds will say after they wind up in bed together. “It just happened.”

Now let’s compare those two rush-of-emotion scenarios.

In one, I made a little bit of a spectacle of myself in front of some good friends (who, due to their love for me, likely weren’t embarrassed at all) and a bunch of strangers (who, if they even noticed, wouldn’t remember the experience today). In the other situation that “just happened,” two people give into passions that lead them to do something that both will live to regret and neither will forget.

Virginity ≠ Sexual Purity

Now it’s time for me to make a confession. The fact is, though my wife, Julie, and I were virgins on our Wedding day, I did NOT treat her with respect throughout our courtship. I was a poor leader in the area of sexual integrity. (I wish you could feel how difficult it was for me to type those words for anyone to read on the internet. A flood of shame wipes over me. Even now. Even though I know all of that sin is covered by Christ’s sacrifice.)

Sad fact is that for most conservative Christian believers, Julie and I “lived the dream.” We messed around, but held on to our virginity until our wedding night. “How far is too far?” we wondered.

If you’re asking that question, you’re not seeking Christ, you’re seeking sin. Love does not ask, “How much can I get away with?” Selfishness does. And I was selfish.

We made it to the marriage bed virgins, but we weren’t pure. And in the first seven years of our marriage we reaped the harvest of those crimes of passion in ways we couldn’t have imagined. I would save you this heartache.

Perhaps, like Julie and I, you have already gone “too far”. Maybe you’ve gone as far as you could go. Today is the day you can turn from selfishness to love!

Keep your dating life out in the open. Don’t risk another sexual failure you can’t undo.

At the end of the day, which risk do you want to take?

  • Looking foolish in front of your date (who will understand if they’re a true friend) and strangers who don’t know you
  • Defrauding someone sexually (1 Thes 4:3-8)

Believe me, it’s better to take the chance of losing control in public than alone. The consequences of the public disturbance are fleeting, of the private dalliance they can be devastating.

But what if you’re at the point in your relationship where you really need to make some disclosures that legitimately require the level of privacy of a counselor’s office?

  • Deep hurts you need to share (you were abused as a child)
  • Addictions you need to confess (alcohol, porn, drugs)
  • Emotional trauma you need to walk through (abandonment by your father)
  • Concerns you need to confront about your relationship (violence, manipulation)

Next week, we’ll discuss how you can walk through such issues privately without falling into temptation. (And believe me: Temptation is never nearer at hand than after two lovers have experienced intense intimate disclosure.) Until then, keep things out in the open.

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: Keep Your Dating Life Out in the Open
Click here for the next post in the series.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

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Want to grow beyond our DNA blog?

Our LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to grow spiritually and date wisely, so you can marry well.

This discipleship series is NOT for couples, but for the wise individual who wants to prepare for their future marriage like a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!

This discipleship series is NOT about dos and don’ts. It’s about learning the life lessons, mastering the life disciplines, and making the life decisions necessary for relational success.

You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!