How to Express Affection

Couple Kissing
     It is normal and natural that you and your dating partner should want to express affection for each other during the serious stages of dating. However, the way you express your affection during casual dating should differ from your expression in the more advanced stages of courtship. In earlier stages a couple think they love each other. In the latter stages genuine love is more certain, and the couple should be mature enough emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage. These are major and significant differences.

     What demonstrations of affection are appropriate for each stage? A limited and controlled amount of affection is appropriate for young people in expressing love. And that’s what this chapter is all about – helping young people decide what they want for each stage of their life. The guidelines fall into the following categories.

  •     The Proper Time and Place. This does not include lovemaking in full (or partial) view of others on their way about the campus. Immature couples who engage in excessive public displays embarrass the institution, administration, faculty, and most of all the other students. Such behavior, whether it occurs on campus or in any other public place, is disrespectful, crude, vulgar, and cheap.

Genuine love is a private and personal experience. A portion of its beauty and innocence is lost when it has an audience. Such public love–making often degenerates into an attempt to use the other person for some purpose entirely unknown to true love-to boost one’s ego in a showoff manner or to get even with someone else. Handholding, arms casually locked, a girl gently holding a young man’s arm, and sitting closely together are usually proper, but even then young people will show discretion according to the time and place. You will want to use greater discretion when it comes to kissing and other physical intimacies in public.

  •     Proper Understanding. Having a proper understanding means that a couple has come to terms with what they need to say to each other physically. They accept a kiss as an intimate expression of affection for one another but do not regard such behavior as an invitation to proceed to further levels of sexual exploitation. They understand that kissing arouses sexual desires and that two intelligent people who care for and respect each other will limit this expression of love.
  •     Proper Restraint. This does not mean two hours of heavy petting while parked in a romantic spot!  A couple who believe themselves to be in love should discuss their limitations and stay within those boundaries under all circumstances.

It is in good taste, then, for a  couple in the latter stages of courtship to practice limited forms of affection in private – and even more limited displays in public. It is unrealistic and perhaps even emotionally unhealthy to expect a mature couple to make their wedding kiss their first. Few extreme are good. But far better to err on the side of strictness here than permissiveness.

One needs to exercise respect and self-control for one’s sweetheart during courtship. Where a couple do not practice such principles before marriage, any counselor can predict heartbreak ahead. Respect and self-control underlie the behavior of every couple with high ideals.

What you are will largely determine your ability to control your impulses to pet. When you begin the petting game, you encounter what you are at the core of your being. Long before you ever caress the erotic areas of another person’s body, your total experience has determined how far you will go. How do you feel about yourself? What takes first place in your life? Whom or what do you idolize? What do you expect from yourself in life? What are your values? In short, the sum total of your character begins to emerge now. You have started to write your life story.

If you commit your life to God, you can rest assured that He can and will help you control your sex life when you ask for His guidance. He will provide the strength to resist temptation and to keep sex under control. You do not have to battle your urges on your own. He will help you in this area of your life as in all other areas.
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