Emotional purity is hardly even considered possible in our present society. But think of it this way: How would your future husband feel if he knew that some other guy had known your deepest thoughts, dreams, fears, and emotions? What would he think if some other man had known you even better than he himself knows you? Or how would you like it if some other girl had dozens of long, deep, Intimate conversations with your husband and knew practically everything there was to know about him?
You see, there is more than just your first kiss and your physical purity that you can save. There are many other “first” that will be very special if you make them special by saving them for the right time rather than trying to generate romance with every young man you get to know. Sure, most girls your age treat all these things casually. Sure, they might be having fun now, but how is it going to affect their marriages later?
My recommendation for all teenagers is to wait to develop a relationship with someone of the opposite sex until they are ready for marriage. I am not saying that all contact with the opposite sex should be avoided, but this contact should not be in an intimate way, one-on-one situations should be avoided.
There is a lot of talk about sexual abstinence and sexual purity before one gets married, but what about emotional purity? No one writes or discusses this very important issue. Emotional purity simply means to not become emotionally attached with the opposite sex until you are truly ready to be married.
Becoming emotionally entangled over and over again with the opposite sex can result in disastrous results in marriage.
Remaining emotional pure for marriage simply means you have never recreationally “dated” the opposite sex. In other words you have never gotten emotionally attached to someone. This is an ideal candidate for marriage and let me explain why.
Clearly there is a line that “no one should go beyond” outside of marriage to uphold moral purity in physical relationships. But is there similarly a line regarding emotional purity? What did Paul mean when he warned each not to “defraud his brother in this matter?” What is defrauding?
Fraud involves deceiving or misleading someone. In business defrauding is cheating– leading someone to expect certain benefits and then, after they have begun limiting other opportunities based on this expectation, backing out of the deal. Defrauding is inciting in someone else a desire that you are unable or unwilling to fulfill. Does this ever happen in romantic relationships? Isn’t that what flirting is?
Apparently Paul here was saying, “Don’t cross the line physically and don’t even flirt with their emotions!” God calls us to both physical purity and emotional purity.
What is emotional impurity? Simply put, it isn’t saving your heart for your future spouse
and/or lusting with the emotions. Dating before you are ready to get married isn’t always
emotionally impure, but it can lead to that very quickly. If you fall in love at the age of fourteen,
the likelihood of marrying that person is small. When you do get married, you won’t be able to
say that this is the one and only person you’ve ever loved. You haven’t saved your heart for them
and them alone.
I define “emotional purity” in the same way that popular homeschool writers have: it is the idea of “guarding your heart”. Which sounds all noble and righteous and everything but in this context is really just a facade for fear. Fear of loving and losing. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of being damaged. Fear of not measuring up. In my life it meant never having a crush on a guy, never allowing myself to “fall in love”, basically training myself to shut down a normal, healthy, functioning part of my human heart.
“Purity…” writes John Thompson, “means no physical affection or romantic emotions prior to God’s approval.” Now it is one thing to argue against physical affection prior to ‘God’s approval’ – which in Thompson’s phraseology refers to parental authorization – but no romantic emotions? Yet, like it or lump it, that is exactly what is meant by emotional purity: complete absence of romantic emotions, thoughts, desires or aspirations, until the father says ‘Go!’
I have a friend named Emily who had always accepted the teaching about emotional purity and believed that to have a crush on a boy amounted to nurturing an idol in her heart. However, when Emily actually found herself being attracted to a young man, she was helpless to know how to handle it. Nor were matters helped when friends began to come up to Emily and say, “Don’t you know that you are committing emotional fornication? You’re being promiscuous and I think you should be careful to save yourself totally for your future husband.”
One of the main concepts taught by advocates of “emotional purity” is that if you get emotionally attached to someone and the relationship doesn’t work out, then you’ve given “pieces of your heart” to him. According to these teachings, the “missing” pieces will then leave your heart in a sorry condition for the man you do marry…
…Another issue that arises from this teaching is found in the phrase itself. The words “emotional purity” themselves end up condemning people, because they imply that if you “fail” and become emotionally connected to whomever you are courting, then you are emotionally impure. This contributes to a lot of unnecessary guilt in young people who are honestly seeking to honor God.
Updated: February 7, 2011