Television can make such a history into a lot of things — meaningless, devastating, even humorous. But it cannot redeem it, at least not in any truly deep and lasting way. The one who has his or her own sexual history faces their own challenges. The twin emotions of dating someone with a sexual history, though, are insecurity and obsession. Here are six truths to help still your heart, quiet the lies, and proceed with compassionate caution and wisdom in a relationship with someone who has a sexual history.
Quantifying love quenches love. The reflex is understandable, but vain. Whether you measure up to anyone else or not, if you buy into the lie that love should be quantified, you destroy real intimacy.
When you measure your lovability by trying to quantify your sexuality, you diminish your humanity. Love is personal, not performance-based.
The sustaining benefit of sex in marriage is not the orgasm, but the committed intimate relationship. The gospel reminds us: Love will not indulge in paranoia. Love does not revisit, but covers a forgiven offense. Talk with some sane, godly confidential friends besides your partner. The same could be said of a dating relationship.
Make your close, trusted, selective friend group the place to think openly in confidence, and make your relationship the place where you speak intentionally and thoughtfully.
Love recognizes grace and guards against self-righteousness. Humble yourself and recognize that your partner with a sexual past may very well understand grace now far better than you do Philippians 2: How maddening that must be for Satan. What he meant for evil — to harm or demoralize us — God often means for our good Genesis Amen, and those who were once impure in heart are sometimes blessed with a vision of God that allows them to boast in God more than all 2 Corinthians Love does not need to be the best.
Remember that your identity is in Christ. Again, if you marry your partner who has a sexual history, you will not be the best person in their life in every area of life. Someone in their circles will be more attractive. If dating is moving towards marriage, and you learn of a sexual history, recognize that you were never pursuing this person so that you could be the best in bed — or the best at anything.
The promiscuous King Solomon knew firsthand: By trying to measure up to past sexual partners, we give the past power that it neither has, nor should be thought to have. Practical Helps for the Conversation We all have remorse-tailored monsters hiding in our closets.
But there is still hard work to do — understanding, forgiving, crying, forgetting, maturing, resolving work — and there are some concrete ways that Christ enters into the conversation about sexual past in a dating relationship. Make the hard conversation a pastoral one, not a private one. Bring in an older compassionate couple in the church, maybe even with the same story, to protect both of you from sinning against one another in the ways we mentioned above.
This can take several shapes. If your partner with a sexual past is already in the company of a church and has been walking in the light of a pastoral team, the resources probably exist there for help. They are known, and they are trusted, and this is a great situation to come into Philippians 2: While the conversation can be difficult and awkward, it need not be had alone. A wise married couple should remind a dating couple that the dating relationship does not ultimately have the tools to finish the conversation and follow through.
Knowing this is not a defeat, but a mercy. If this topic has been especially painful or difficult for you, it might be helpful to commit to refrain from speaking about it except with an older couple or in premarital counseling. Focus ultimately on present maturity, not past history. The conversation should not mainly be about the issue of history, but of maturity. Yes, the person with the past, if their sexual activity is recent, needs time to heal before they enter into another romantic relationship.
Andy Stanley recommends Christians who have lapsed into a sexually immoral lifestyle wait a full year before dating again — he says, in fact, that it is the best and most important piece of advice he can give those in this situation.
There may be great wisdom in it. As you consider someone for marriage, their maturity today — the evidence and trajectory of their becoming more like Christ — should be your primary concern. Is this a man or woman manifestly, not flawlessly, marked by the grace of God, a grace that forgives and makes new? Am I willing to entrust and commit myself — my heart, my time, my gifts — to this particular work-in-process child of God?
You may not be mature enough to walk with someone gracefully and helpfully who has a sexual history or any other kind of history. There is a real chance that the one without a sexual history is the weaker brother in the relationship Romans Forgiveness happens in a moment, but healing and trust take time. Perhaps, for our purposes, it might be more suitable to say: This is not bad news. This is not bondage. It is the gospel — to know that sin is deep and change is very often slow is the Christian life.
It is tragic, and normal and redeemable and even beautiful. Living Beyond the Past The seeds of grace in a dating relationship where one or both people have a sexual history can bloom in several ways. They can produce a marriage 1 Corinthians 7: They may prolong a dating relationship for the sake of discernment. Grace may reveal that one, or both, are not ready to date each other.
At least not yet. You are loved dearly by your heavenly Father — in the insanity of the dark web weaved by sexual sin, let us love in the manner Paul outlines: Make the standard for conversations about sexual history the same as the standard for elders: There is no intimacy without pain. There is great gain to be had in practicing and receiving grace. May God grant us the ability to deal graciously with those around us as we all grieve the effects of sin that we feel every day, in every relationship and in every fiber of our being.
On Dating with a Sexual History Are you a Christian dating with a sexual history, wrestling with embarrassment and worried what your boyfriend or girlfriend might think? You are not damaged goods. Here are lessons for building hope and loving others in the heart-break. Paul Maxwell is a Ph.