I got a few questions and post topics this past month that I wasn’t able to cover in a full post. I did want to address them quickly here, though!
Saying “I love you”: Dan told me he loved me a few months into our dating relationship and a couple months before we were engaged. I believe he spent a lot of time considering the truth in the statement. And I’m certain he prayed about whether or not it was appropriate in our relationship at that time.
We were dating with the intention of getting married, so it didn’t catch me off guard at all. We had talked at the beginning of our relationship about physical boundaries and saying “I love you.” We talked about the implications and how we would know it was an appropriate or not.
He said it sweetly and earnestly without make a big, huge deal about it. No banner. No public announcement. It is a big deal, though. Things to consider, in my opinion: 1) Is it true? 2) Will this somehow harm the heart of the person I am dating? 3) Am I ready to bring another level of commitment to this relationship? 4) Do I feel peace about expressing this?
Physical boundaries: Oh, buddy. This is so deeply personal, yet it needs to be talked about openly so much. Dan and I had an awkward conversation very early in our relationship about what we thought was appropriate or not. I believe our standards were based in an understanding of Christ’s teachings. If you’re confused on what this may be, talk with a pastor or a spiritual leader.
Talk about it with your significant other! PLEASE. But be careful you don’t talk about it in a way that unnecessarily “turns on” your significant other. Make it awkward and clinical. For real.
Tell a close, wise friend what you decided. Ask him or her to keep you accountable. Do not tell a friend who you know (or even think) may have lower standards than you. Despite what they say, they will have difficulty keeping you accountable to your standards.
Fight for your standards. Battle for them. Recognize what triggers the stuff you don’t want to be doing — late nights, alone in the apartment, spending time in the bedroom, influence of alcohol, emotional days.
God designed sex for the context of marriage. And it is worth it to protect it for marriage. We know this, right? It is true!
Spiritual leadership in our relationship: To me, it’s all about Dan taking the initiative in spiritual matters. He is generally the one who steps back and asks that we pray about something together. He pursues spiritual conversations with me about the things I’m learning in my quiet time, what I learned from the sermon at church, and what issues I may be struggling with.
He has consistently set the standard in our home for quiet time. This has been true while we were dating and now.
My role is to encourage him. There are times recently when adoption stuff is crappy, and I have felt led to fast. I’ve encouraged him to do the same. There have been times I know he’s really busy and working really late or early shifts, and I know he’s not been able to set aside as much time in the Word. I don’t call him out on it. I just check in and encourage him.