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purity
Phylicia:  Last week I received an email from a young man asking, “How can I help my girlfriend uphold purity?” I passed the question along to my husband, Josh, and I think his advice is worth sharing.

Josh: Purity is a battle. Believe it or not, men have a lot of sway on the female heart.   While we both are responsible for our purity, but there are few resources that talk about the temptations we personally bring to those situations. Most temptations are discussed as if they come from an outside source; not from within our own hearts. Today, let me outline for you several things you can do to promote a healthy and pure relationship with your girl.

Learn to lead her into purity.

There are two aspects of leadership that have much influence on how you and your significant other interact: the spiritual aspect and the emotional. You must be a spiritual leader in your relationship.

When I say this I don’t mean that your girlfriend isn’t allowed to share verses with you or pray for you, remind you to have your devotions or even suggest going to a bible study. Those are all great and wonderful things for her to contribute – in fact, they are often helpful because if you’re anything like me, then you too probably forget to read your bible now and then, or don’t think of looking up what bible studies are offered at your church. I would take pride in your girlfriend for her spiritual contribution, then take the opportunity to contribute and pick it up where she left off.

This will encourage both of you to stay in the word AND keep God ever on your thoughts. This simple action will play a great factor in your conduct with one another.  It not only keeps God nearby, but is also a way of showing your girlfriend that you respect her and long for the both of you to remain pure and blameless in His sight.

These actions also make her feel like you aren’t thinking about anything sexual and that you are composed or even invulnerable to temptation. I know this seems silly – but in most cases it’s true, and setting a pattern of leadership discourages her from her own temptations for fear you will not participate.

Affirm her.

This is the most delicate tactic of the three. Guys must tread carefully and not get carried away.

Their are several reasons women give their bodies to a men, but in a God-seeking relationship the primary reasons are:

  • to attain affirmation of your love for her;
  • to confirm your desire for her.

She wants to know that you love her with all your heart, and she also wants to show you that she feels the same way. Physical intimacy is the most deeply emotional communication a woman uses to express those feelings. Because of this, when a woman loves you very, very, much, part of her naturally longs for that physical intimacy.

In order to preserve these longings of hers until marriage, you must affirm her of your love for her verbally, emotionally, and in other non-physical ways.  You must let her know that you value her beauty and purity. She also wants to know and be reaffirmed that you know how much she loves you, because many women try to prove their love by giving of themselves physically. Now this is where it gets tricky. My wife’s blog post I Don’t Take Hot as a Compliment” touches on this matter.  You must tell the woman in your life that you think she’s beautiful.  Women love to hear what you like about them! Just keep it clean, and almost platonic, stopping with enough room to prevent an unstable desire in her or even yourself.

Show her you respect her. Being her spiritual leader is one of the best ways to show that you have a healthy and respectful love for her. You can also affirm her of your affection and healthy desire for her by leaving her notes, being sweet and romantic (but not passionate), and taking time to take interest in her interests. All of those things are sure to satisfy most, if not all, of her need to feel desired.

Don’t play dumb.

This is the hardest and most self-denying thing we must do to keep temptation at bay.

I found that the biggest way of tempting my wife while dating was by ‘playing dumb’ – or you could even call it ‘playing tough’. This is in situations that we, as men, must avoid in order to stay pure. The situation could vary from being alone with her at your apartment to lounging on the couch even though you’re with all your roommates.

In almost every situation where sin took a toll, two things happened: the first was that I didn’t spend QUALITY time with God that day and the second was that I told myself “It will be fine” or “I’m strong enough to resist.” When we say these things it is usually in a situation that we know we shouldn’t be in and we must take a moment and be honest with ourselves about the temptation.

First: NEVER put yourself in a situation that you know you’ll be tempted. That is setting yourself up for failure. In fact, if you let that happen then you’ve already given in to the temptation by not staying away from that temptation. Proverbs 7:7-9 speaks of a man who flirts with temptation by walking by the house of a prostitute as night approached. Although he didn’t know she would call him into her house, he did know that he was walking by a den of temptation, and he did it anyway.

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “I’m strong enough to resist whatever might happen, I read my bible today.” It doesn’t make a difference even if we did read the bible or even spend quality time with God that day if we are relying on our own strength.  When we rely on our OWN strength to fight temptation, then we are not relying on GOD’s.

Don’t get me wrong, you WILL be tempted. Without a doubt. But it is up to us as men to avoid temptation every chance we can. And when it is unavoidable, we must be honest with ourselves, make the right decision (to flee temptation), and rely on God to keep us pure and without blame.


Phylicia: Remember that standards of purity are only as good as the heart that desires them. Without a heart that desires holiness and wants to stay at peace with our Savior, standards become a burden that we keep only to uphold our image or to prevent people from ‘judging’ us.

There are consequences for compromising purity: it almost always shifts the focus from who we are as people to what we can give each other physically; it starts a cycle of unhealthy dependency; and it creates a breach in our relationship with God. This final consequence was the most heart breaking for me and Mr. M when we made compromises while dating. Our hearts ached over the conviction we felt for separating ourselves from God by our sin.

We need men to rise up and help us, the women, in saying ‘no’ to ourselves in order to maintain holiness. This is a high and holy calling for men and women alike! When we view purity as the preservation of our holy standing before God, it is no longer a burden, but a blessing.

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