Intimacy in Christian dating before marriage: What’s Allowed?

by Sister McCook
Two Christian dating and sitting overlooking a valley

When it comes to Christian dating, intimacy can be a tricky topic to navigate.

On one hand, we want to honor God and avoid sexual sin, but on the other hand, we long for the emotional connection and romantic intimacy that comes with dating.

So how do we find a balance?

Let’s look at the importance of intimacy in Christian dating before marriage, as well as practical ways to cultivate healthy intimacy without compromising our values.

Defining Intimacy

Before we can discuss the importance of intimacy in Christian dating, it’s important to define what we mean by intimacy.

Intimacy can take many forms, including emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical intimacy.

All of these types of intimacy are important in any healthy relationship, but for the purposes of this topic, we’ll focus on emotional and physical intimacy.

Emotional intimacy refers to the closeness and connection we feel to another person on an emotional level.

It’s the ability to share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with someone else and feel understood and accepted in return.

Physical intimacy, on the other hand, refers to the physical touch and affection we share with another person.

While sex is the most obvious form of physical intimacy, it’s not the only one.

Holding hands, cuddling, and kissing are all forms of physical intimacy that can be appropriate in a Christian dating relationship.

The Importance of Intimacy in Christian Dating

Now that we’ve defined intimacy, let’s talk about why it’s important in Christian dating.

First and foremost, intimacy allows us to build a deeper connection with our partner.

When we share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with someone else, we create a sense of trust and vulnerability that can strengthen our relationship.

In addition, physical intimacy can release hormones like oxytocin, which can create feelings of bonding and closeness.

While we should be cautious about engaging in sexual activity before marriage, physical touch and affection in other forms can still be appropriate and beneficial.

The Dangers of Avoiding Intimacy

While it’s important to honor God and avoid sexual sin in our dating relationships, it’s also important to recognize the dangers of avoiding intimacy altogether.

When we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open with our partner, we can miss out on the deeper connection and emotional fulfillment that comes with a healthy relationship.

Furthermore, avoiding physical touch and affection can create feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can lead to temptation and compromise.

It’s important to find a balance between honoring God and cultivating healthy intimacy in our dating relationships.

How to Cultivate Healthy Intimacy in Christian Dating

So how do we find that balance? Here are a few practical tips for cultivating healthy intimacy in Christian dating:

Communicate often

Communicate openly and honestly with your partner.

Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and listen actively to your partner’s as well.

Setting boundaries

Set boundaries that honor both God and your relationship.

This might include avoiding sexual activity, but it can also include setting boundaries around physical affection that feel appropriate for your relationship.

Build emotional intimacy first

Focus on building emotional intimacy first. While physical intimacy is important, it’s best cultivated within the context of a strong emotional connection.

Pray together

Pray together and seek accountability from trusted friends or mentors in your faith community.

Keeping Christ at the center of your relationship helps to further guard your hearts.

When you focus on your purpose as a couple of being united in Christ and fulfilling His plan for your lives, it allows you to focus on God’s glory as opposed to physical pleasures which together can bring you closer to each other.

It’s also important to find accountability partners or couples who share your values and can provide helpful advice during this season.

Remember that pre-marital sexual intimacy outside of your marriage is in direct violation of God’s plan for sexual purity.

It’s important to acknowledge the reality of the temptation of sexual sin while dating and address it early on.

Remember that God’s grace still works, and it’s okay to make mistakes.

However, it is our responsibility as Christians to flee from sexual immorality and commit our bodies to remain pure before God.

Intimacy is an important part of any healthy relationship, including Christian dating relationships.

By understanding the different types of intimacy and finding a balance between honoring God and cultivating healthy intimacy, we can create relationships that are fulfilling, emotionally rich, and pleasing to God.

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