Updated: January 12, 2018
7 Tips on How to Set Boundaries
One of the questions that gets asked a lot is, “How do I set up boundaries?” Setting up boundaries is extremely important because everyone has to be on the same page with each other. I know it was one of the elements that helped my hubby and stay on track with our goal to stay sexually pure throughout our dating relationship. It was something we could point back to when challenges arrived. If we didn’t do that, there was a huge possibility that our plans would’ve failed.
Setting boundaries helps your relationship start off on the right foot and keep your focus heavenward rather than bedroomward (I just made that word up…it’s okay…it’s going to happen a lot..loll). Boundaries are going to look different for everyone because we are all in different places either geographically or spiritually. Like my Youth Pastor said on a similar topic, “Modesty is contextual; purity is non-negotiable.” It’s the same thing with boundaries.
I know when I was dating my husband I not only had to set boundaries but I found as time went on and feelings grew I had to reset some boundaries too. For example, when we first started dating, sitting on the couch while watching a movie was no big deal. Six months later it became a big deal because now we were more comfortable with each other and we fell in love.
It’s a natural response to want to be intimate with someone you love. When you are a child of God, it’s an unnatural response to do it outside of marriage.
We must remember that sexual purity is a journey not a destination. Sometimes you may stumble, veer off course, get lost, get found (no not Paper Towns..loll), get tired, etc. but decide you will prevail and you will! So here we go!
Tip #1: Know your boundaries.
Write them down for future reference, know what they are and look like, even have your people to test you on it.
The question is often asked, “Well how far is too far?” I say imagine your boyfriend or girlfriend asking you the same question in regards to their actions with another person. Think about how you feel when they ‘Heart’ someone else’s IG picture, laugh a little too loud at their jokes, play fight, hold hand, constantly compliment, and flirt. We get mad at those things so imagine what God feels like when you flirt with the devil.
“How far is too far?” More like, “Is it worth more than what Jesus did for you on the Cross?”
Don’t play with this question either. It’s easy to get into a tug of war with words and limits but remember He was serious about our love for us. We need to be serious about our love for Him. I only say this because more than I want you to succeed, God wants you to succeed, and the devil wants you to fail in the most humiliating type of way.
When you know what boundaries are, you are able to talk about them, and defend them if needed. If you are already in a relationship, even if you feel like you already crossed some boundaries, reset yourself, sit down, do the steps above, then hit the Jesus ‘Restart’ button (yes you can do that and we all have one!) and get back on your sexual purity journey.
Tip #2: Say it right from the beginning!
If there is ANY inkling that you and the other person have feelings for each other, there is potential for a relationship, or any other feelings that is a step out of the friendship zone then let them know immediately that you are waiting for marriage to have sex. I did this the first time my hubby and I hung out alone. I let him know in a very indirect way what my intentions were so if his intentions weren’t aligned he was able to go somewhere else because it wasn’t happening here!
Honestly, everyone should know where you stand because it won’t come as a surprise to anyone.
When this happens people will do the work for you and warn the person ahead of time so may not even need to feel awkward about bringing it up but just be confident in answering questions.
Be proud of it too! Sometimes people don’t want to say anything because they are embarrassed.
If YOU are proud, confident, know your worth, know what you want, AND will defend your stance, then people will grow to respect it as a part of you.
Defend it! Defend it like a Mama Bear with her cub! Growl, growl, scratch, GROWL!
Tip #3: Make a game plan.
Decide now the dos and don’ts of your dating. For instance, make it a rule not to go into each other’s bedrooms even if your parents say its ok. I remember going over my boyfriend’s houses when I was a teen and their parents being totally ok with us being in a bedroom, with the door locked, and giving us privacy. I’m sure you already know the problems that came from that. Even if they say ok, say “No way”! I know that was corny but it’s going to happen a lot in my writing so get used to it (and still love me..please..loll)!
Also, write them down so you both can go back to it! Make a list and check it more than twice (I warned you…the corn is real people!). Add to it, if you need to but definitely have a starting game plan.
Tip #4: Ask people to help you.
I had a friend who was in her twenties and asked me to help her with purity by texting her every few minutes or so because her fiancé was coming over to her apartment to watch a movie. So I did! Every few minutes to an hour I would text and then we had an honest conversation when he left. She wanted to know someone was holding her accountable and trusted I would follow through.
Ask those around you who support your decision to stay pure NOT the ones that are going to support you in the opposite direction, you know who those people are.
Stay FAR away from that influence. Genuine people who genuinely want you to succeed don’t mind helping!
Tip #5: Check in with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
These will all help you reset your focus and remember why you are on this journey to begin with.
I remember when my husband and I were within one month of getting married we decided to not kiss anymore because it became too tempting and we had our goal in mind. It was difficult but when it came to “You may kiss the bride” it was definitely worth the wait! Yaowwww! #marriageswag (Im infamous for this hashtag in my circle..and trust me it is definitely a thing).
Tip #6: Write down purity scriptures (even the scary ones).
This helps for a number of reasons. First, it will remind you of God’s commandments. Yes, He wants you to wait until marriage. Yes, there will be consequence even in the context of forgiveness if you decide not to. It is what it is! Second, it will help you battle the devil, truth against lies.
The devil WILL be making an appearance so might as well be prepared.
Third, it helps give you encouragement and direction for your purity journey. Fluffing your spiritual feathers always feels like a breath of fresh air. Lastly, its scripture! It never hurts to keep the promises of God memorized especially when your bible just happens to be in the other room. (Quick Tip: Buy a bunch of bibles and put them in all the rooms in your home where you like to visit the most so there’s never an excuse!)
Tip #7: PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
You can do ALL thing in Jesus Christ who gives you strength! (See Philip. 4:13) Pray about it in the morning! Pray about it in the evening! Pray about it at suppertime! (This sounds similar to a commercial and I’m dying trying to figure out which one but I can’t Google it right now; I’m writing to you!)
Pray and remember the key words are IN JESUS CHRIST! If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be talking to you today! He WILL give you the strength because He has given you the Holy Spirit. One part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (See Gal. 5:22-23). So I’m sorry but if you or someone who is a believer in Christ tries to say, “I just can’t control myself!”, you or they are a Liar Liar, pants on fire! You have Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit, you have self-control!
I pray this helps you in your journey. If you have any questions or want me to add further detail to any of the tips above, let me know and I’ll gladly do that for you. I pray for protection over you in your journey of sexual purity. I pray you and your boyfriend or girlfriend will see this not as a burden but as a heavenly challenge that you are both gladly accepting because at the end of the day it’s about love, it’s about Christ, and it’s not just about sex.
Baskets of Blessings!