Q: I have a boyfriend who is two years older than me and a very new Christian. My mom has set strict guidelines for our relationship, but, unfortunately, we’ve already broken the rules. My boyfriend and I have talked and we are both committed to not having sex, but we’ve gone as far as making out and I’m afraid this will lead to more, as well as the fact that my mom does’t even want us kissing. I want to obey her. How do I tell my boyfriend this, and what if he doesn’t get it? And how do I make sure we are slowing down?

First of all, I’ve got to give you big props for wanting to obey your mom’s guidelines for your relationship with your boyfriend. That’s a smart move! And I’m right there with her. I’ll tell ya why: You’ve already discovered how hard it is to stop a physical “encounter” once it starts, right? I mean, it sounds like you weren’t  planning on making out with your boyfriend. “It just sort of… happened” is what I hear a lot from girls. When you’re in the moment, you’ve got hormones (and even sometimes pressure from your guy) playing against you. If you don’t want to keep going there with him physically, you’ve got to set some clear and firm boundaries. Now I’m going to be 100 percent honest here–this is going to be harder for you and your bf because you’ve already messed around. But it’s definitely not impossible. With God, honoring Him is always possible.

First, you’ve got to decide for yourself what your new boundaries will be. Here are your choices:

  1. You could stick to the ground rules your mom gave you (i.e., no kissing).
  2. You could disobey your mom and set your boundaries at kissing and no more.
  3. You could pick a line somewhere in the making out range.
  4. You could leave the decision up to the heat of the moment.

If you want my advice (which I’m assuming you do, since you asked me the question!), I’d stick to the first option, as hard as that might sound. I’ll tell you why: The Bible promises that you’ll please God and it will go well for you if you obey your parents, even if you don’t think their rules are fair (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20). And having God’s blessing on your life is way, way, WAY better and cool and satisfying than the temporary pleasure of physical intimacy. God’s blessings will make your heart rich, and won’t have a bitter aftertaste like sin does (Proverbs 10:22). As extreme as your mom’s no-kissing rule sounds to you, it will most definitely save you a whole heck of a lot of heartache! No regrets, no shame from physical sin, and when you do meet your prince charming, you won’t have all that physical stuff in the way of truly getting to know each other. Make sense?

Other than letting your bf know that you don’t want to have sex before marriage, it sounds like you haven’t talked about this stuff with him. So… here’s the hard part. Now you’ve got to. Don’t waste any time–do it the first chance you get! Here are some tips for the conversation:

  • Before you talk to him, have a mental note of the most important things you want to say. That will help you keep a clear head when strong emotions come into play.
  • Be brave enough to be very clear and firm. Don’t leave any room for misunderstanding or compromise.
  • Get ready to stick to your guns, girl! I know you can do it.

If he’s a quality guy, he’ll not only hear you out, but he’ll also support your decision to do what’s right. If he can’t handle the physical boundaries you set, then he ain’t the one for you! You deserve a guy who will protect and cherish your heart, soul and body. ‘Nough said.

As to your last question, you’ll know you’re “slowing down” when you don’t cross the boundaries you set. If you find yourself in a cycle of going too far, resetting boundaries, breaking the boundaries again, trying to do better “next time,” and on and on (trust me, I know that cycle too well!), then this relationship might not be what’s best for you. I’ll be praying it doesn’t come to that, and also that you’ll find the perfect time and way to talk to your bf.

Most importantly, make sure you’re spending lots of time praying and reading God’s Word as you think through all this stuff, k? Your heavenly Father wants to weigh in on your decisions and help you sort all this out.

Love,