Written by Joey Mielke / February 2016
When you are enrolled in high school, you are no longer a child but a young adult, and in four short years you are sent off on your own and are an “official” adult. That’s a very short time to become acquainted with the evils of this world, and to learn how to fight against them. Some of you now may be thinking, “We have been taught since grade school how to fight sin and temptation,” which is indeed true. However, never does that knowledge become so imperative as when you enter high school, and even more so when you graduate and move on to college. I will explain why.
Look back to your seventh and eighth grade years. I know for a fact that at some point during those two years, perhaps even earlier in your grade school career, you felt trapped. You NEEDED to get out, and get into high school, where you felt you “belonged.” You felt that you didn’t belong in grade school anymore, and you began to feel suffocated. You wanted to go to formal, to banquet, meet new people, play big sports, be a part of the plays and musicals, tour choir, etc. I believe that there is one very specific thing that each and every one of you thought about often, or perhaps still are, and that is finding a meaningful relationship with someone special.
You spent so much time in years past looking forward to dating and having a relationship that when you finally start one, the feelings are overwhelming. Sometimes they can be hard to sort out and hard to deal with, especially when it comes to physical touch.
One thing young people often think about is the physical side of the relationship. It’s no secret that with growing up comes a lot of sometimes rather unpleasant hormones, and that these hormones are not so easily tamed. I’m not talking about the moodiness that comes along with growing up and learning how to cope with the feeling of going insane, I’m talking about the attraction the opposite sexes have towards to each other, particularly in a relationship. What I’m going to say next I’ve learned from experience. The attraction that two people who are in a relationship together have towards each other is unlike any other attraction you will ever feel, even more so if the relationship is serious. Some of you who have been or are currently in a relationship can attest to this as well. Why is this?
The simplest answer is that this is just human nature. A more in-depth answer would be that we as humans were created with a very special, natural ability to fall in love, and to have love for other people. We naturally look for love, and that becomes very evident as we enter our teen years and want to start dating. You spent so much time in years past looking forward to dating and having a relationship that when you finally start one, the feelings are overwhelming. Sometimes they can be hard to sort out and hard to deal with, especially when it comes to physical touch.
When you attend Immanuel, you are enrolled in a private, Lutheran school. Therefore, you will have many religion classes under your belt by the time you graduate. I graduated just this last year, and in every religion class I was in the subject of physical touch between boys and girls would come up. Every single time I remember this exact line being said by every professor, “Girls and boys are wired differently.” I’m sure you all have heard this multiple times as well. I have never understood that more than I do now, because now I am a married woman. It is so blatantly obvious to me now.
God says in the Bible, “Flee the evil desires of youth” (II Timothy 2:22). He tells boys and girls to be careful about tempting each other and leading each other to sin. Let’s think about this. If guys and girls were wired the same, we would all THINK the same. We wouldn’t have to explain anything about relationships to each other, or be careful about saying or doing certain things, because we would all already know what those things are and to stay away from them. There’s a reason God has all of the rules and warnings about physical touch that He does. It is because guys and girls are indeed wired differently. You have not been lied to by your professors; you have been told the cold, hard truth.
When I was in high school, I remember being told about the PDA rules and rolling my eyes, or feeling angry and frustrated. I also know for a fact that I have talked to many of you who are still attending Immanuel about how “lame” or “unfair” I thought the rules were. As a married woman of nineteen years old who is now expecting her first baby, I can tell you that the PDA rules that are set in place at Immanuel are a good thing. I came to realize towards the end of my senior year that it was not the rules themselves that I was frustrated with my freshman year, but it was merely feeling angry with being told NOT to do something that I hadn’t ever even done ONCE before. It felt like strangers trying to be my parents, which naturally would make anyone angry. However, during my senior year and after I graduated, I found myself in a very difficult situation.
When you step into a relationship, think of it as God handing you a precious gift. When someone gives you something precious, you treasure it and want to take care of it the best you can. You wouldn’t want to do anything to ruin it.
Think of the physical side of a relationship as a line. It starts out as holding hands, then maybe a hug here and there, then maybe a head on the shoulder or an arm around the shoulder. Perhaps you get your first kiss. Then kissing becomes a regular thing. You inch closer and closer to the line. Kissing no longer is one of those things that you merely WANT, but it’s a necessity. You feel like you NEED it. Before you know it you will find yourself wanting more. Then the stuff that you want that you shouldn’t even be wanting becomes stuff that you NEED. You’ve now reached a whole new level, and you think you can handle it and not go any further. But you keep inching closer and closer to that thin line. This is coming from a girl who grew up extremely sheltered, and didn’t even know how to hold hands right when she was a freshman. Once you cross that line, you can’t pull back and cross back over to the other side again. I don’t mean, “Some people who are strong willed enough can do it, others can’t.” I mean that NO ONE can. Trust me, it’s not something you want to test out.
With crossing the line comes a lot of other very negative side effects. My husband and I found ourselves struggling with issues that we never thought we would have a problem with. We made it clear to each other when we first started dating where we stood with physical contact, and we thought we had it taken care of. After a few years things changed, and we began to see the light with rules like PDA and why rules like that were put in place. Struggling with the issue of inappropriate relations brought a lot of stress into our relationship. We found ourselves getting angry and fed up not only with our situation, but with each other for being in that situation. We contemplated breaking up a three-year relationship, because that seemed to be the only solution. We were never strong enough to do what needed to be done, and things went on the same. When you cross that line, you will feel guilty for a long time, but you won’t be be able to stop it, and pretty soon you will become okay with it. I remember feeling thousands of miles away from God, and feeling so lost and afraid. I knew why, but I didn’t have the strength to do anything about it. That’s where we were, and that’s when God stepped in and put an end to it, because our faith was at stake. Even though I felt miles away from God at the time, I know that He was never miles away from me. Because of Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection, God had already forgiven me for slipping away, and I can rest assured that He will always be with me, love me, and forgive me.
The longer you are in a relationship with one single person, and the stronger the bond between you comes, the stronger your sinful desires will be and the harder they become to control. When you step into a relationship, think of it as God handing you a precious gift. When someone gives you something precious, you treasure it and want to take care of it the best you can. You wouldn’t want to do anything to ruin it. It’s the same idea with a relationship. Maybe your relationship goes on for a few weeks, then weeks turn into months, and months into years. That person that you so adore was given to you by God, a precious gift, and that’s something a lot of couples lose sight of. When you find yourself wanting things from your significant other that you know are wrong, you need to put on Christ, and ask yourself, “is that how God would want me to treat this precious gift He has given me?” Romans 13:14 says is best, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.”
It took me almost four years to figure out something that I had been told since before my freshman year; that I would face temptations and that I needed to be careful and to always put the Lord first. I cannot stress to you enough how important keeping yourselves far from that thin line and close to God is. I hope that my husband and I can be living examples to you, and that you never for a second think, “That’s never going to happen to me,” because that’s what I thought for almost four years. When you’re in a relationship, don’t let physical touch take it over. That’s not what relationships are about. They are given by God, and He controls them as well. Trust me, no relationship is worth breaking up with God, and no amount of ice cream and comfort food will be able to fill that void.