“Jesus didn’t have boundaries. He loved everybody, always.”
This was my opinion just a few months ago. I hadn’t read the book titled Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend that so many of my friends loved and recommended, but I was sure I disagreed with it. I had big plans to read it and then write a response about how we’re supposed to love everybody, always, and how there are no boundaries in love. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Sam was reading Boundaries before we started dating, and loved it. When she suggested that we read Boundaries in Dating, the authors’ follow up to Boundaries, I was willing and excited. Boundaries in dating did make sense to me. Kind of...
As I mentioned in a previous blogpost, my big plan was to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and convict me and Sam. And as I wrote before, I was horribly mistaken. So I was going into Boundaries with an open heart, but was still skeptical of the whole idea of putting up walls and restrictions and barriers between me and others.
Then, in chapter one, the shortest little sentence changed my entire worldview.
“Boundaries keep good things in.”
It all instantly clicked for me. God brought Sam and I together, and anything that God creates is beautiful. I had witnessed that beauty firsthand, and had sent up many prayers thanking God for the gift of this girl. This one sentence reminded me that there are powers in the world that will seek to destroy our love and purity. Boundaries are about protecting the good things God has given us.
Suddenly, I wanted to do whatever I could to guard both my purity and Sam’s purity. I cherished her love and our story, and was ready to put safeguards in place to protect the gifts God has given us.
It’s been a while since either of us wrote a post, and the truth is that we’ve really been struggling over the past few weeks. There’s been a lot to figure out. On my birthday, I wrote out what I felt were healthy boundaries and talked about them with Sam. It was an elaborate plan in which we could cuddle OR kiss, but never both. There was a cuddling column and a kissing column with different things that were and weren’t allowed for each. We both agreed to them, and within a few hours had broken most of the boundaries we had just set. Sam wrote a whole post about that, and you can read it here.
Then, Sam took a shot at a list of boundaries that was much stricter than mine. We broke those within a few days.
Here’s what I’ve found to be the hardest thing. There’s things that are okay to do that lead to things that aren’t okay to do. For example, there’s nothing inherently wrong with cuddling on Sam’s bed while watching Netflix. But it’s basically impossible to stop ourselves from doing more. We made that mistake several weekends in a row, naively assuming each time that we wouldn’t mess up again. Finally, we had had enough, and now we’re not allowed in each other’s bedrooms.
Here’s the point... God has given us the privilege to do so much. We get to talk to each other, laugh with each other, go on dates together, and hold hands. Those are all incredible gifts, and they should be enough. Those are the things inside the boundaries. Those are the things we’re protecting. We aren’t protecting those things when we make out on or in a bed.
The first boundary was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve weren’t allowed to eat from the one tree. There was a line around that tree that they were told not to cross. Something interesting I realized about that period of time was that everything was reversed... the entire world was good, and that boundary was keeping the evil in. Now that we live in a fallen world, evil is everywhere, and boundaries keep the good in.
If you’re in a relationship, protect the good. Sam and I highly recommend Boundaries in Dating. We’ve been learning so much about ourselves and about each other. Right now we’re reading about how our beliefs and convictions will play into our relationship. It’s amazing, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it.
That’s all for now, more posts coming soon.