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Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations.When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves. Begin with pursuing God (Matthew -34) and become the healthiest person you can become. Get your relationship needs met outside the dating context. Learn your patterns (old relationship patterns from your original family, seeking completion for something you lack in yourself, idealistic wishes for yourself, inability to set boundaries, fear of closeness or intimacy) and work on them so you do not repeat them. Date according to a few nonnegotiable values (faith, honesty, sexual purity, etc.). Be open to going out with people who you would normally not have on your list. Be who you are and give the other person the freedom to do the same. Don't put up with bad behavior, and set good boundaries. Avoid vileness, faithlessness, perversity, slander, evil, pride, deceit, and lying. Honor sex as something holy and keep it confined to the marriage relationship. Pray about your dating life and ask Him what He wants you to do. New Life Ministries has a variety of resources on men, women, and relationships. God is the one who will make a way, so walk with Him daily. Network with friends and family, pursue the things you enjoy, join others who have the same need, use your gift of hospitality, and do something structured.
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Despite over a decade of prayer, a proper attitude toward the commitment and responsibility of marriage, and realistic expectations, it just hasn’t happened. But, at the same time, in this long season of singleness, I’ve had a lot of time to think and pray about these things.
I’ve wrestled with what I believe about dating, its purpose, and whether or not it’s good for me to date (with proper boundaries, of course!
Cloud and Townsend also discuss sexual boundaries, conflict, risk, romance, unresolved family problems and their impact on dating relationships, and other essential topics.
“Dating right side up,” an exhortation to fit our dating life into our spiritual life (not vice versa) was another highlight for me.