Question:

Hello,

My boyfriend and I have known each other since we were teenagers. We are in our early twenties now. We have been in love with each other since we were teenagers but didn't start dating until the last couple of years. So technically we have only been in a relationship for a few years now. I am his first kiss and his first girlfriend.

He is more knowlegdeable with the Word than I. He has been a Christian all his life and I have been one since my late teens. Since the begining of our relationship we have had counseling from our parents and our pastors.

We have been having problems with sexual sin. We do want to get married, but we feel that we need to be financially ready to be on our own, and right now we aren't completely ready. We also feel that we don't just want to get married because "we can't control ourselves." We will do something and then the next day we repent, feel bad and ask for forgiveness not only from each other but from God as well. We try to make more restrictions for ourselves; we are good for a few weeks and then we eventually fall. It has become a cycle, and we are getting really frustrated. He is getting to the point where he thinks the best thing to do is to just break up indefinitely. He says that he has to stay away from sin, and if we keep sinning then maybe we don't belong together.

This is obviously breaking my heart because we had already made plans how we wanted to get married within the year, and we want to do so many things to serve God. I feel like how can two people who want to serve the Lord and have so many plans not be good for each other?

I need help. I don't know what to do anymore. I have prayed for patience and guidance and direction. But he is just giving up. I understand that after a year of "being good and then messing up" it gets frustrating. We just don't want to sin anymore. But we are tired of "giving rules" and then eventually breaking them. Please I need advice. I love Him, I really do. But we both love God more, and sometimes we just don't show it. But I don't want him to give up on us. I still have hope and faith, but he just feels like there's a line that has to be drawn eventually. He still loves me, but we don't know what to do.


Answer:

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

People have a strong tendency to solve problems by taking extreme positions. If I get into an argument with Sally every time I talk to her, well then, fine, I'll just never talk to her again! But in taking such extreme positions, the real problems are not actually addressed or solved. At best we avoid them. At worse, we introduce a whole new set of sinful behavior.

Sinful behavior of any sort is not to be trifled with. Jesus illustrated the seriousness of sin with hyperbole when he said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29-30). Jesus is not literally talking about maiming ourselves to avoid sin, but he is giving an extreme illustration to emphasize that we can't take sin lightly.

It appears to me that both of you are expecting the other person to establish the boundaries for your behavior with the result that neither of you are behaving. I doubt breaking up is going to solve the problem. Oh, you two might stop having sex with each other but the temptation for sex will continue and result might be that you end up having sex with other people. What has to be looked at is why each of you as individuals are not staying away from sexual sin. "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (I Corinthians 6:18).

I suspect a part of the reason for talking about breaking up is that each of you see the other person as causing the sin instead of fully accepting personal responsibility for the sin. There is the hope that staying away from the other person will remove the temptation and make living righteously easier.

Then, too, there is the element of doubt. One hopes to marry a person who will help them be more righteous. Finding out that you repeatedly sin when you are with someone does cause a person to wonder if they found the right person.

Like all other sins, there is a way out, but notice that you've put convenience, or perhaps pride, ahead of not sinning. If you weren't certain that you wanted to marry because of character issues, that would be one thing, but that doesn't appear to be the case here.

Thank you so much for your reply. I really do appreciate everything you said. You also quoted some of my favorite passages. I do agree with you and you have definitley opened my eyes to some new things I didn't see before. I am sure you are busy but I really do appreciate you taking this time.

Like I said, there is nothing more that we want than to serve the Lord and live in fear of Him and obey Him and honor Him. I pray that God has my boyfriend as my partner in which to do all these things with. I have all my trust in God and I know that He has complete control, although I may not see it right now, there will be something good come out of this. Romans 8:28 is my all time favorite verse. I do believe that God will show us a way out through this. I hope that it does not include me losing my boyfriend forever. Like I said, I want advice, and I will do anything to make this situation better.

My boyfriend currently is staying away from me. His saying is that "he needs a woman to have sex with, so if he doesn't want to have sex, he is going to stay away from women for awhile." I personally think it goes back to what you were saying about extreme positions. I obviously cannot force him to be with me. I understand that after many times of messing up he feels the only way to stop is to separate, but I feel this is not the way to go. I love him and I am willing, with the strength of God, to get back up and keep trying.