Imagine a love story that goes like this:
Boy meets girl.
Boy gets to know girl among family and friends who know both of them well.
Boy asks girl to date him.
Girl says yes.
Boy and girl grow closer. But not physically.
Friends and family support boy and girl’s relationship.
Boy asks girl to marry him.
Girl says yes.
Boy and girl marry and only then learn how to be closer physically.
Uncommon, to be sure. Perhaps it even lacks the allure of the Hollywood romance, but wouldn’t you say it would set a couple up for better longtime success than the typical lust stor… I mean “love” story celebrated today.
How can you grow closer to someone without getting too close? How can you begin to explore the depths of someone‘s soul without falling into the temptation to explore their body as well? Is it possible in today’s culture? Was it ever?
Well seventy years ago, CS Lewis had this to say in Mere Christianity, “Our ancestors have handed over to us organisms which are warped in this respect: and we grow up surrounded by propaganda in favour of unchastity. There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance.” (Imagine what Lewis would say today!)
That probably wasn’t the encouragement you were looking for, but it certainly points to the solution to our problem.
Do you want to avoid sexual immorality in your dating relationships? Then you must deal with the “propaganda in favour of unchastity.”
More pointedly, we have to get serious about looking away, tuning out, even setting up barricades against the sexually stimulating media by which we grow up surrounded. If you don’t believe me, believe Jesus:
“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.” – Luke 11:34-35 (NASB)
When I suggested last week that when you “feel your body (mind) getting sexually stimulated STOP what you’re doing,” did a thought like this cross your mind: “Good lands! If I stuck with this rigid advice I wouldn’t even be able to hold hands with someone”?
Well, I can tell you from personal experience that if you will commit to limiting your intake of sexually stimulating media, you can turn the dial back on your libido-meter. Over time. And just to clarify, I’m not just referring to pornography. I’m referring to any TV, magazines, books, music, and films that promote (or even simply make light of) sexual immorality. In other words, I’m referring to most media.
Am I talking legalism here?
I don’t think so. I think I’m talking LOGIC.
If you are struggling – seriously struggling – with sexual fantasy, masturbation, sexting, objectifying people you find attractive, and keeping your hands to yourself on dates, then wouldn’t avoiding all media that encourage such behavior be a logical prescription for wellness?
If you’re just getting excited by what you’re reading or listening to (or even just imagining), how could you ever expect to enjoy a real-life flesh-and-blood dating relationship and keep yourself under control? That doesn’t make any sense! If the eye “is bad, your body also is full of darkness.”
Tough words, but…
Imagine the joy of being able to see former “objects of lust” as beloved brothers and sisters in Christ instead.
I’ve been on both sides of that fence and can tell you the grass is infinitely greener on the “brothers and sisters” side.
Imagine the sweet victory of a courtship with no regrets! I did not get to experience this myself and that’s partially what drives me to save you from the harvest that I reaped.
Now I know that this counsel may come across to some as prudish and even repressive. Indeed, many would suggest following my advice will set one up for sexual disappointment in marriage. So we’ll address that next week. For now I urge you to take Jesus’ instruction seriously (I’m pretty sure he was being serious) and keep the lamp of your body clear by watching what you watch.
What about helping us bring light to those struggling in the dark with sexual sin? Consider a tax-deductible donation to Future Marriage University!
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!