Not too long ago…

I was having a conversation that I’ve found myself having a lot over the years. A young woman has been getting it on, hot and heavy, with her boyfriend for the past couple of years. Recently, she has decided to live a life of purity while still trying to keep the relationship going. The thing is, her boyfriend has not had the same kind of spiritual epiphany as she has and so therein lies the dilemma.

Should she keep on having sex?

Should she cut back on the kind of sexual activities that she engages in?

Should she slowly “wean him off”?

She she go cold turkey?

Does the guy get a vote in any of this?

Because here’s the other point: While it is *her body*, it is also *their relationship* and when a relationship has a sexual foundation (among other things) and one of the people pulls that foundation out, it’s a bit unrealistic to expect the relationship to remain as “stable” as it previously was. It’s also not the most fair to act like the guy doesn’t care about her simply because he doesn’t support her decision. (Just one more reason why it’s best to wait until marriage to avoid this kind of rigamarole.)

So in the spirit of trying to make this easier for other women out there who may be going through something similar, here are five tips that I recommend when you love someone, you were once “making love” and you’ve now decided to pump the brakes:

1) Understand where you stand. It would be nice if everyone felt convicted to not have sex until marriage because the Bible says that sex is for marriage (Hebrews 13:4), but that’s not always people’s rationale. Some people do it for health reasons (including not wanting to get an STD or get pregnant or pregnant again). Others do it because they want to break their “Why do I make such bad choices in men?” pattern. The list varies as much as the faces do. Whatever your personal resolve is, make sure that you are clear about it. You can best believe that when you discuss it with your boyfriend, he’s going to present some “opposing arguments” and so you need to be prepared.

2) Don’t apologize for it. While it says in I Corinthians 7:5 that a man and wife have authority over one another’s bodies, this provision is not made for dating couples. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make decisions that are best for you, sometimes at the expense of your relationship with others. That’s actually one of the joys of being single: You are your top priority. Period.

3) Discuss it with your boyfriend. By “discuss” this means, don’t ultimatum him, don’t nag him, don’t challenge him. Simply share with him where you stand and why. If he’s open to sharing his point of view as well, be open to hearing it. Honestly, if he’s not convicted about being abstinent, his points are probably going to be alone the lines of “I mean, I like having sex”, “Are you saying that we won’t ever have it again?”, “What are you expecting me to do?” Real talk, it’s going to be pretty hard to maintain a relationship with someone who still wants to have sex and so you have to think long and hard about what’s most important to you: What’s best for you or what he wants. Plus, the “weaning off” thing? Well, I’ll just speak from personal experience and put it this way: Eating a cracker while you’re fasting tends to only make your hungrier. It’s probably going to have to be all or nothing (total abstinence or the end of the relationship) if you don’t want to go through situations like guilt from giving in or finding out that he’s been having sex with someone else. Bottom line, if he says he’s not interested in being abstinent, he probably means it.

4) Be prepared for all possibilities. If you two are pretty serious and you’ve been discussing marriage, there’s a chance that your boyfriend might wait it out if there’s light in the form of a wedding date at the end of the tunnel. I will say this, though: If you’ve been having sex, it’s a good idea to really get into some serious premarital counseling. There are far too many people who have confused “good sex” for a great relationship, got married and ended up regretting it. The “high” of an orgasmic feeling is not the most reliable thing when it comes to making a serious decision like marriage. On the other hand, if he wants to end it, *it will be hard* but try not to take it too personally. He’s not saying no to “you” so much as no to the kind of relationship that you want and *trust me*, you definitely want someone who is strong enough to support your purity stance because there will come days when you’re not going to be as strong as you might be right now. A guy who is convicted to remain pure is easier to date than a guy who is simply conceding to your decision to wait. I recently read a quote that said “A guy who loves Jesus will worship with you, he’ll pray for you, he’ll lead you with strong hands and stand up when you can’t. But he’ll also remind up that only God can satisfy.” Words to live (and date) by.

5) Pray for him. I have a running joke with my friends that if they ain’t actin’ right, then I am cool on them not praying for me because James 5:16 tells us that it’s the prayers of the *righteous* that have power and when it comes to remaining abstinent, I need all of the power that I can get (LOL). My point is this: You living a pure life is living a righteous one and that affords you some real and significant praying power. Therefore, use some of that to pray for your boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. You never know. Your strong stand could end up being just the kind of witness that he needs to get his own self together. And whether the two of you reunite or not, that can be a beautiul end to your “love” story.