For those singles who believe in chaste courtship and sexual purity, avoiding premarital sex is a given. However, what is more nuanced and not so easy, is to safeguard your heart through maintaining emotional purity.
In the same way physical purity involves setting boundaries when it comes to physical intimacy, emotional purity refers to setting boundaries around your heart so that you don’t become too close too quickly to someone you are in a relationship with.
What’s wrong with being vulnerable and how are we supposed to get to know each other, if we don’t relax those boundaries?
Tammy & John met on the internet and knew they were meant to be with each other from the get-go. They had so much in common, including their love for God and our Lady. Since they were local, they began to see each other twice a week. Within a matter of 3 weeks, they were telling each other everything and spending hours on the phone.
However, it turned out that Tammy had a huge temper, something she had not yet mentioned. One day, during a disagreement, Tammy slapped John.
John was shocked and devastated.
You see, he had been in a relationship where he was physcially abused by his girlfriend. Having been raised as a gentleman he never hit her back, but he began to doubt the longevity of the relationship.
Unfortunatelty, it took him 2 years to untangle himself from that relationship.
He knew that given his history, he should probably break up with Tammy, but since they had gotten so close, he was loathe to do so, especially when the tears started flowing. He couldn’t bear to see her cry.
If Tammy and John had not gotten so close so quickly, it would have been easier for him to tell her that it was just not working out.
So how can you tell if you’re getting too close too quickly?
If you suddenly feel like you’re in love after two weeks and you start looking at reception halls, then you’re already in trouble.
Would you like to avoid this type of complication? Pace yourself and avoid these 3 pitfalls.
1) Don’t Have Discussions of Your Past Sins or Current Sins Too Early
In discerning our future spouses, we have to look for virtue. This involves learning someone’s strengths and weakenesses. However, doing so too quickly has its perils.
For example, if you were sexually active in the past, your significant other should know that.
However, you don’t need to go into details that you haven’t shared with anyone else and you don’t have to ask the other person to pray for your current struggles with chastity.
This puts the other person in the role of “counselor” so they feel responsible for you. At the same time, you become dependent on that person to help you solve your problems.
Emotional purity is threatened by making you feel close to each other prematurely.
2) Don’t Fantasize Together About Marriage in the Early Weeks
Although your intention to find someone to marry should be clear from the beginning, fantazing early on in the relationship about the house you’re going to have or the amount of children you will have, or the dinner ritual you will have, can affect your objective judgment of the relationship. It is important that you’re able to properly discern without heavy emotions getting in the way.
If you can conceive it, you can achieve it.
The more you fantasize about your future life, the more committed you will be to making it a reality. The question is, “do you yet know if you want to make it a reality”?
Although talking about the future in this way is entirely appropriate further on in the relationship, if you do it too soon, you risk prematurely getting too close to someone you don’t even know yet.
3) Don’t Spend Too Much Time Together Alone
Ideally in a courtship, most of the time you spend together will be spent at the parent’s house or in the presence of a trusted mentor or older couple.
However, life is not perfect and sometimes a young couple may not live close to their parents or they might not have a mentor, or they might be an older couple.
Don’t spend every day together the minute you meet.
Don’t get into a rhythm which might give you the false impression that you or your guy/gal has made a greater commitment than the two of you actually have.
To recap, emotional purity is important early on in the relationship when you are discerning. Both men and women need to safeguard their hearts (women even more so) to avoid making an imprudent decision.
Thank you for posting such edifying blog entries. I really enjoy the practical examples you give. Please consider posting more on emotional chastity before courting & while….such needed info on that. Thank you.