One of the most challenging issues facing all single members of the church is how to date, get engaged, and make it to marriage without crossing sexual (“intimate”) lines and having to work with the bishop in a repentance process. This challenge is often even more difficult when dating partners have been previously married or otherwise have sexual experience, making avoiding trouble that much more challenging. So, how can members of the church get through this dating process without breaking the law of chastity?
1) Minimize Isolation: Trouble can usually only happen when you are alone in private together, such as at other’s home or in your parked in a car away from others. So, if you are at each other’s home, try to have others around/nearby or find other ways to be safe and minimize temptation. If you are driving somewhere together and want to park to talk, try to do so around where others are walking by. Otherwise, planning and enjoying activities in public places like restaurants, theaters, concerts, etc., will create additional safety and lessened temptation.
2) Discuss Safety Plans: In a safe place (over the phone, in public, etc.), have discussions to figure out ahead of times where clear, potential trouble may occur and come up with a plan to stay safe. Project tempting situations or circumstances before putting yourselves in them and come up with sensible plans to avoid trouble. This doesn’t require paranoia, just simple, common sense ideas to work together to stay safe.
3) Incorporate Spiritual Occasions Together: Have you ever noticed that when you incorporate a spiritual gathering, trip, or other moment into your time together, you have extra spiritual strength to help avoid trouble? Watching a church video, going to a fireside or other church gathering, visiting the temple grounds, etc. can all bring the spirit and promote strength and safety. Reading scriptures or other church materials together can be helpful. Positive spiritual discussions in general can also be helpful.
4) Both Agree to Be “Stoppers”: One way that many couples get into trouble is when only one of the two people in a couple act as the one to stop kissing and snuggling leading to more. So if the one person acting as the primary “stopper” happens to be having a weak moment, trouble can follow. However, when both sides commit to act as the stopper, especially if either side is feeling weak, then at least one person will hopefully be able to help both get out of temptation. Having a key word or phrase to say can be helpful, followed by physically getting out of the tempting situation.
5) Know Your Temptations: One of the best ways to avoid trouble is to be aware of the main situations or circumstances that make you feel weak and tempted. The first line of defense is yourself and the choices you make to be or not be in certain circumstances. Don’t blame the other person, take responsibility for yourself and avoid trouble, fleeing if possible.
A good example of someone who knew temptation and fled trouble was Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Potiphar, who Joseph was a servant of, had a wife who sexually pressured Joseph, but Joseph fled and escaped trouble.
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth”.
--Genesis 39:1, 7-13
Stay free from temptations to break the law of chastity the best you can. Follow these ideas to avoid trouble and regret. Getting to marriage without chastity problems is the best way to launch your lives together with less regret. However, if you get into some trouble, this is what the repentance process is for. If so, and if you are good together, a civil marriage is an option, followed hopefully by an eventual temple marriage. In any event, do your best and remember it is worth it. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
|2019-01-21||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Marriage preparation|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).