Relationships are no different. Between selfish desires and illogical reasoning, relationships lack boundaries. People compromise the idea of a boundary line between “boyfriend and girlfriend” and “husband and wife” in hopes to have their needs met. In the end, however, they only cause themselves more pain.
So what are the boundary lines in a relationship? What is the difference between the titles “boyfriend and girlfriend” and “husband and wife?”
Part of the Family
A common happenstance in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships is the mistake of adopting your partner’s family before marriage. The term “date the family” is not a good one. Yes, it is important to get along with your partner’s family, but don’t make the mistake of pretending they are your family as well.
What’s the problem with adopting your partner’s family? One is that you’ll be hesitant to break off a bad relationship due to your attachment to the family. You’ll adore the family so much that you won’t want to break anyone’s heart, and because of this you won’t walk away from a relationship that needs to be walked away from. Or, if your partner breaks up with you, you’ll have to go through the heartache of losing that intimate relationship with the family members. Either way, it isn’t a good ending. You marry into the family, you don’t date them.
Sex isn’t only a physical intimacy, but an emotional one as well, especially for women. One person in a premarital sexual relationship will always be more romantically attached. It’s ridiculous to think that both sides are completely numb emotionally when it comes to sex, and that it will continue to stay that way as the relationship progresses. Sexual intimacy before marriage causes more problems than solutions. Sex is not love. Before the commitment of marriage, sex is an attempt to fulfill a selfish desire.
It is easy to find a person who regrets rushing into sex, it is very difficult to find someone who regrets waiting for sex until marriage. Spare yourself the emotional distress of feeling used or the consequences of intercourse by waiting for physical intimacy until after marriage.
Permission and Submission
Boyfriends and girlfriends have this weird idea that you have to ask each other for permission to go out, and then checking in when they are. Your boyfriend/girlfriend is not an authority over your life. This doesn’t mean to treat them with rebellion or disrespect, but it means that your schedule completely belongs to you and that your decisions are still your own.
On the flip side, if you expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to submit to you or check with you before s/he makes any plans, you are treating your partner like a possession or a child. Until you are married, you are both separate individuals and neither one of you is qualified to submit to the other as a married couple would.
Paying Their Way
Buying dinner on a date is one thing, but paying for college classes is another. Your financial contribution as girlfriend and boyfriend should be limited to gifts and dates, and nothing more. You are not responsible for your partner’s medical expenses, tuition, loans, or any sort of monthly payments. Only when you are married do you combine finances and support one another in those situations. Doing this before marriage risks someone being taken advantage of.
Not Walking Away
If you’re a hopeless romantic, you probably have the habit of committing to a relationship as if it were a marriage. You’ve mentally committed yourself to stay through thick and thin, no matter what. The problem is that people who do this refuse to walk away from a harmful or incompatible relationship. It doesn’t make you a bad person to walk away from a failing relationship or to protect yourself from a dangerous partner. A marriage license is a contract to stay for better or for worse, not a kiss.
Why Care About the Boundary Line?
It’s true that there are far and few between that will take heed of the boundary line between “boyfriend and girlfriend” and “husband and wife.” So why should you take this line into account?
The main reason is to avoid any extra pain you don’t need to experience if the relationship falls apart. Don’t think just because you act married that it means someday you will get married. Relationships do fall apart, and keeping yourself on the correct side of the line will help you avoid any extra pain or complications that you don’t need when the relationship is over.
Marriage is fantastic, and dating is a thrill, but they are two very different levels of commitment. A break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t feel like a divorce. Spare yourself that type of pain. Waiting for the proper time to cross the line makes the other side that much sweeter when you get there.