Erika Parks

How Far is Too Far?: Purity in Dating

This October, my boyfriend and I will celebrate our 1 year anniversary of dating. Needless to say, I'm excited to celebrate the day with a bunch of cheesy romantic gifts and a fancy dinner!

However, as the day comes closer, I find myself reflecting on all the things I've learned these last twelve months, especially about how to live a holy and chaste relationship.

The Big Question

I think there is always one question that gets asked when it comes to Christian relationships: 'How far is too far?' In this past year, I've come to realize that the answer to this question is much more complex than, 'Don't do this and don't do that.'

The answer ultimately comes down to one thing ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù purpose.

Choosing the Good

Before we even started dating, Frankie (my boyfriend) and I realized that we wouldn't last very long if we dated the way the world told us to; so instead, we decided to date the way God intended us to.

In order to date the way God wanted us to date, we realized we needed to find the purpose of our relationship. In other words, we had to decide if our relationship would be rooted in selfishness ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù choosing our desires first ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù or in love, which would mean choosing the good for one another first (CCC 1766).

We chose love.

One Mission

However, learning how to change our question from 'How far can we go before going too far?' into 'How can we love each other?' came through a deeper understanding of sacrifice.

In the book of Sirach it says a thoughtful wife puts flesh on her husband's bones (Sirach 26:13).

Although this might sound like 'a thoughtful wife must cook delicious food for her husband to fatten him up,' it actually explains the beautiful role a woman has in a relationship. Women are called to strengthen men by supporting their mission, not distracting them from it.

St. Paul explains what the mission of man is in his letter to the Ephesians, 'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her,' (Ephesians 5:25). Guys, this means you are called to literally sacrifice your life for the salvation of the women in your life. Men are called to lead women closer to Heaven, not closer to themselves.

Changing the Question

If every woman and every man truly lived these roles in their relationships, there would be no question of 'How far is too far?'

Rather the questions would be:

  • 'Is what I am doing helping my boyfriend become the man he is meant to be?'
  • 'Am I leading my girlfriend closer to the Lord by doing this?'
  • 'Are we choosing Heaven or are we choosing each other?'

Unending Love is an Unending Choice

Brothers and Sisters, I urge you to demand that heaven be the purpose of your relationship, if it isn't already. You have to make the choice every day, multiple times a day. It won't always be easy, but sacrifice isn't supposed to be.

If you don't want to take my word for it, learn from the world's first couple: Adam and Eve. When your desires become more attractive than your partner's salvation, eventually you'll fall.

Want to read more about God’s plan for your sexuality? Check out these blogs!

Erika Parks

About the Author

I joined the Catholic Church in 2006 and have been chasing after sanctity ever since. I've been a nanny for 4 years, which means I can pretty much sing the theme song to every kid show. Also, I really love chewy candy and refuse to eat meat off of a bone.