Purity during marriage is largely determined by purity before marriage. If compromises occur before the wedding, only with great concerted effort will they be prevented after the wedding. Every effort must be made to keep sexually and morally pure so that a stable foundation for a loving relationship can be laid rather than one that is ruled by lust. Genuine love demands purity.
1) Before Marriage
Singles must stay pure both sexually and emotionally before marriage. After marriage, their sexual expression will rigorously stay within the confines of marriage. Any compromise of these standards leads to deep marital problems. A bride must keep herself for her groom. A man must only set his affection upon his wife.
But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints (Ephesians 5:3).
2) Courtship and dating
In order to maintain pure standards, it is important to discuss them. This is hard to do in a dating context. Dating leads to an unsupervised ‘fun’ mentality with those of the opposite gender. This is especially true in a rich and mobile society. “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).
Courtship, however, is a long term relationship that has marriage in view. Parents, along with with the couple, give permission for the relationship to develop under clearly established standards. An accountability system is initiated by the father.
Courtships allow the couple to be together in public situations such as parks, malls and restaurants. They are not allowed to be alone together in private. After this trial time, the couple, with the parents’ blessing can get engaged to be married.
3) Establishing Standards
What standards should a couple have before marriage? We suggest focusing on the inward (what a person thinks and imagines) and outwards standards (what one does with his body or words).
No matter what we do, we must stay away from sensual entertainment, suggestive pictures and intimate contact. Different cultures might have varying standards but at a minimum we suggest restraint on physical contact such as kissing or touching each other. Let the wedding signify the permission for intimacy.
Men are strongly controlled by sight while woman by the need for relationship. Clear standards help each one in his or her weakness so that they can keep each other accountable.
Application: Strive for moral purity. Strong rules help focus on the development of a genuine relationship. If you have compromised in this area, confess your sin, establish clear boundaries and make purity one goal for your life.
A Christian, for example, should never develop such a relationship with a non-Christian .
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteous and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).