If you’re struggling to keep your boundaries, you may have told yourself one of these common excuses.
It may seem like no one else struggles like you do, but 1 Corinthians 10:13 points out that “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” The devil has a horrible inability to innovate.
Your excuses aren’t new, either. Like a student telling the teacher that her dog ate her homework, excuses for sexual sin neither surprise nor fool God. Nothing is new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
The good news is that God is more than prepared to help you overcome sin. He gives his Holy Spirit to lead and convict you, and he provides people to show the pattern for redeemed living.
So if you tell yourself one of these common excuses, you’re not alone in your struggle, and you’re not alone in the journey out.
Excuse #1: I want my boyfriend to feel loved
This is an easy excuse to believe because it feels selfless.
You start with a healthy desire: wanting your boyfriend to feel loved by you. But when you justify something you know to be wrong in the name of love, is that really love?
1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.” Love does not lead someone — or allow someone to lead her — into sin.
True love means doing what’s best for your boyfriend even if it’s hard for him. And submitting to God’s commands is always what’s best for your boyfriend.
Why is that? The root of God’s commands is always love. God knows that the burden of sexual sin is great, and the cost is steep.
God doesn’t want that for your boyfriend. Do you?
Maybe you’re worried you’ll lose him if you speak up. But if he loves you and he loves Christ even more, he’ll rejoice that you love him enough to discourage him from sinning. He may not be happy in the moment, but he’ll be thankful in the long run.
Excuse #2: We haven’t talked about this before
A common problem when you’re setting boundaries is not making them specific enough. Eventually, you might discover you want to do something that you haven’t talked about yet.
The trouble is that when you’re enjoying something, you’re not in best position to make decisions about it.
For example, I am not a morning person. When my alarm goes off, I’m an expert at convincing my sleepy self to hit the snooze button again and again. I packed my bag last night. 10 more minutes. I don’t need to wash my hair today. 10 more minutes. I can buy lunch instead of making it. 10 more minutes.
Before you know it, I’m 10 more minutes late. The list of reasons that seemed so logical while I was lying in bed is rendered foolish while I run frantically out the door.
This kind of back-and-forth logic is appealing when you’re caught up in the moment of physical touch. It happens when you discover a type of physical touch that didn’t know existed and you realize you don’t have a specific boundary set up against it.
In this situation, the solution isn’t to make a decision or a new boundary on the spot. Instead, acknowledge that you both need more time to think about it, stop that kind of touching at least for now, and address the topic at a later time.
Excuse #3: This isn’t technically outside our boundaries
Usually, focusing on technicalities is a sign you’re missing the point of boundaries.
Healthy boundaries are those you set as defensive measures against areas of weakness. They’re only as strong as your commitment to keep them. No one else is enforcing them over you.
You might feel clever, but you’re really just outsmarting yourself — at your own loss.
Playing with your boundaries is like playing Jenga. The more you pick out pieces from the tower of ”what counts as our boundaries,” the sooner everything is going to come crashing down.
If you find yourselves arguing about anatomy, trying to determine where one body part ends and another begins, take a step back and check your heart.
Is your desire to treasure Christ forever or maximize momentary pleasure?
The Strongest Defense
Logic is strong, but Christ is stronger. Jesus and his revealed words in the Bible are your best defense against your own excuses.
2 Peter 1:3 says that Christ’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a godly life. We have access to this power when we know Christ and respond to his call.
If you’re struggling with sexual sin in your long-distance relationship, take a step back from intimacy with your boyfriend and dive deep into learning about and loving Christ.
Seeking to know Christ more and more is what’s best for you and your boyfriend. It’ll prepare you to make strong boundaries and empower you to keep them. And it will reset your desires away from technicalities to truth.
Let Christ be both your deepest love and strongest defense.