A young friend of mine was struggling with issues of intimacy in dating, particularly as it pertains to Christians, and she asked me for my perspective on the whole realm of proper Christian dating behavior.
Well, I told her, Christians absolutely have the same right to date as anyone else, but we live by a different set of standards – God’s Word – and we are bound by those standards. That having been said, it does not mean that Christians can never hold hands or hug, or even kiss, when dating – but it does mean that a certain sense of propriety is to be maintained at all times.
This means refraining from sex during the courtship or dating phase of a relationship. Forgive my bluntness, but that really is the bottom line in proper Christian dating behavior. Physical intimacy is for marriage.
It is permissible to hold hands, even to kiss, but as a Christian, your goal should be to maintain purity in your relationship. In this way you bring a gift of purity to your spouse and to God, when marriage is the end result of your relationship.
If you feel that you cannot maintain proper Christian dating physical limits, then you should seek the help of a wise mentor, a prayer partner who can pray with you and seek God’s wisdom and guidance in those times when the temptation is too great.
Ultimately, the responsibility for proper Christian dating behavior rests on the two of you. But it also helps if your parents have modeled appropriate behaviors throughout your upbringing, and taught you the concept of purity as you grow. A good foundation of purity will go a long way.
Something that I found helpful was the youth group at our church. Our kids learned proper Christian dating behavior not only at home, but in the setting of youth group activities. The youth leaders are married couples who have Godly relationships and are strict with the teens, helping them to see the wisdom of purity and restraint in dating. This has been a real blessing for our family and I strongly recommend that anyone with small children find a church with a strong youth group and Godly leaders to help to guide the moral upbringing of your children. As parents, we need all the help we can get!