You know the drill. You’re casually scrolling (mindlessly) through Facebook and then your eyes widen as you think – THEY’RE DATING!? I didn’t even know they were “talking!” You stop for a second and wonder. To “like” or not to “like”? It’s official. Facebook official.
Relationships are tough. No doubt about it! Two people attempting to navigate each others’ thoughts, feelings, intentions, and desires is just plain difficult for the average 21st century American. However, once it becomes “Facebook official,” the relationship has gotten off the “just talking” ground and has officially taken Facebook flight. It’s an exciting time! It usually appears in the spring air, where the cares, worries, and distractions of life seem to seize. This is a time when your significant other is PERFECT. Maybe your daydreams have led you to even think of the “M” word…(Marriage). Around this time, most couples have begun to express themselves physically: a handhold, a warm embrace, a kiss…or seven, and if you’re not careful – a whole lot more!
A Tough Conversation
I definitely understand the enjoyment of the new found physical affection. It’s a thrilling part of the whole relationship experience. However, there is a need to express how the physical aspect of your relationship should look. There are plenty of resources on ChastityProject.com about what is good, holy, and right, so browse through the website if you have questions. My intention is to simply urge you to take a breathe out of your “facebook official stage”, sit down, and chat about HOW you are going to purely express yourselves in your new relationship.
In my opinion, you should have this conversation about chastity within the first week of dating, if you haven’t already had it as friends. After all, why date someone if you don’t even know where they stand on the issue of chastity? What!? You read me right. It may not be the most natural conversation to have with your new found more-than-friend, but an honest conversation about how to be chaste is the sure fire way to put your relationship on the fast track towards healthy. It gives each of you an opportunity to learn about each other, respect one another, and get things off on the right foot. If you’re a guy, this is your role! Take the lead. Girls, look for a guy who would actually have this conversation. If you haven’t had this conversation and you’re dating, initiate it. If you can’t have it with them, you shouldn’t date/be dating them.
Here’s why I say the first week: You’re excited. They’re excited. They’re cute. You’re cuter. You are officially head over heels in LIKE with each other and most likely the significant change in your non-dating to dating status is the physical expression you now have with one another. The possibility of you going further than you want to go because of an emotional energy boost is almost nine times out of ten if you don’t set your boundaries within the first week (and…maybe even sooner!).
What should I say?
To start: this conversation is going to be awkward. Own the awkwardness and do it anyway. Express why you want to be pure and chaste, and speak from the heart. Express why you want them to be pure and chaste, and again, speak from the heart. Then talk about how to express yourselves appropriately at this point in your relationship. Again, if you have questions about what you should and shouldn’t be doing – browse ChastityProject.com for more information. Talking about chastity will let the other person know your “why chastity”, and then it gives you a chance to discuss, as a couple, the “how chastity”. This may be awkward, but it will begin your relationship with R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Enjoy the “facebook official” stage, but lay a firm foundation of chastity that will lead you both into a healthy relationship – regardless of where the future leads. If they’re worth dating…they’re worth this conversation.
Ever since his re-version to Catholicism through a high school youth ministry program, Pete has used his five loaves & two fish for the sake of building the Kingdom. Through storytelling, retreats, and writing he has proclaimed Christ’s freedom to thousands. He’s the Campus Minister at Saint Thomas More High School in Milwaukee and the Director of Evangelization for Arise Missions (arisemissions.org). Pete is a wanna-be philosopher, has a mild obsession with the band Switchfoot, and because of Christ, finds himself living a life greater than his dreams.