Can We Regain Control?

Can We Regain Control?

We haven't had sex, but we've gotten close. Is it possible for us to have a godly relationship again?
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Q My boyfriend and I have been going out for about a year, but over the last few months we've gotten ourselves into a big mess. Whenever we see each other, we start to feel sexually aroused and, unfortunately, act on our desires. We haven't had sex, but we've gotten close. We know what we're doing is wrong, but we can't seem to stop.

Our relationship used to be so godly and pure. We know and love the Lord with all our hearts, and have really encouraged each other in our spiritual walk. I don't know where we went wrong. Is it possible for us to have a godly relationship again? Is this God's way of letting us know we're not right for each other?

A It would be impossible for me to say whether or not God feels you're right for each other. Yet I do believe you're both experiencing sexual feelings that are very normal and human. Sexual feelings are a natural part of a loving relationship. But God is very clear that we are to control ourselves sexually. God wants us to learn how to resist temptation—to be thankful for our sexual nature and yet be able to avoid its misuse.

Is such a thing possible? Yes, though not easy. You're dealing not only with your own sexual urges, you're also dealing with the ideas planted in your mind by our sex-worshiping society. Most couples aren't strong enough to resist those ideas by themselves. With the help of others, however, it's possible to go against the tide.

You need to find someone who will pray with both of you regularly, talk with you about your struggles and check in on how you're doing. I'd recommend you find somebody older—someone you can relate to, and whom you trust to keep confidences, like your youth pastor, or a trusted older sibling. Ask God to help you find the right person. Knowing you have to report back to a third party can be a big help in controlling your sexual urges.

You also need to surround yourselves with friends. In the next few months, try to avoid being alone. Go on group dates, spend time with your families, take a younger sibling to a movie or out for ice cream. If you can't resist temptation, avoid it.

Finally, I would suggest the two of you put aside all physical contact for a while. That means no hugging, no kissing, no back rubs, nothing. Then, start from square one again. Treat each date like it was your first date. Do no more than you would have on your first date.

It's never easy to step back from a sexual relationship. It's like climbing back up a waterfall. But it is possible. And as you work at building a relationship that honors each of you and God, you will experience a joy greater than any of the physical pleasures you're giving up.

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