Posted August 3, 2012

*If one of the Pearl ladies could give some input, I would be so very appreciative!*
I am two weeks away from being 18, and a month away from transferring colleges — thus moving out of my family’s home for the first time. So very soon I will be my own responsibility, and in order to not loosely wing it when it comes to boundaries, I want to have a clear vision for what is a black and white line I will not cross in order to live rightly. And in order to not get to a point where I may be in a compromising situation where I get tempted to a major boundary line, my parents think it is a good idea to set many precautions in place beforehand, meaning more boundaries, so I never risk getting to that point of temptation. The main point of disagreement is this: I think that if I were dating a guy, or I thought the guy might like me/I like him, or essentially anythinglike that which could cloud my judgement where I might be willing to push boundaries a bit, those are DEFINITELY situations I need accountability with someone to check in and make sure I don’t cross whatever lines I say I won’t cross. I think it is perfectly reasonable to be very careful with the situations and circumstances you put yourself in so that everything will be above reproach. However, I think my parents take this too far. They say I am not allowed, in any setting and for any reason, alone with a guy. For instance, this week I need a ride somewhere 10min away, and I have a neighbor who is going the exact place I am for the same reason (we both volunteer at the local library for children’s summer storytime) and he is a friend I’ve known for over a year that I trust, and has even helped me with a VBS class before. But I am not allowed to catch a ride with him. Because my parent’s say if I am willing to go somewhere that is 10mi away, then what’s the difference with 15mi., or 20mi., or 60mi.? Personally I think if it is a trusted friend, then catching a ride somewhere with a guy shouldn’t be off limits, for really any distance. This is just the latest example. But it doesn’t pertain to just a car ride where it is just a guy and me, my parent’s say it doesn’t matter if we are waking down a street, going grocery shopping, or anything at all, I should not ever be alone with a guy — regardless if we are just good friends or more than that. While I do love my parents and I know that they want only good for me, and I want to respect their wishes and take their advice, this seems totally illogical. It isn’t as if a guy and I are in a place without anyone else (exception being a situation of a car, but still, he is busy driving and we have to get somewhere. We aren’t at a house alone or something of that sort) and we have a relationship where wsoar attracted to eachother. We are in public, which is already some sort of slight accountability, and we are just friends. Just hanging out together or driving someplace seems perfectly innocent and good. If we aren’t attached at the hip and doing things exclusively together all the time, then we really are above-reproach-just-friends who should be able to go catch a movie or carpool. Am I just totally off in thinking that it is okay to occasionally do things like innocently catch a ride or do some activity with a guy friend if we really are just friends? Or are my parents correct that there is 100% no way no how no reason I should be alone with any guy?
Also, this kind of leads into boundary lines of dating. If I am never never allowed to spend time with a guy alone, that just doesn’t like a logical way to date a guy (or court a guy, or whatever you want to call seeing if this is the person you want to marry; please don’t get tripped up with terminology)! I’ve never been in a relationship, but I’ve watched as several of my friends have dated (courted, whatever) and gotten married and been pure the whole time. Yes being accountable to purity is so important and that the best way to really get to know a guy is to hang out with him and his family a lot to see how he treats his parents etc., or him hang out with your family, or social settings in public with friends so there is as little chance as possible to what his true character is like. But I think also doing things as just a couple is good too. But the way my parents have talked makes it seem like there should be no reason for dating, you know whether or not you would marry the person based on friendship alone, and then you golet married without a prolonged engagement — if you know, you know, so get married as soon as possible no reason to wait. I think this is also illogical. Sometimes circumstances simply do not allow for social settings where a group of friends can come out, basically just so you can interact with the guy you have your eye on. The fact that I’m moving away from the town that the only guy I would ever consider seriously for marriage is one problem with that idealic only-in-a-platonic-social-setting, not to mention the friends who would make up that social setting all have lives of their own they are busy with. So how would I spend time with my guy then, according to my parents wishes? Answer: I don’t think I would be able to, unless I am always over at his family’s house or he is over at my house every weekend. And I just can’t picture being able to talk deeply with him about everything important under the sun with my 7 siblings running around — I would want just some “us” time. Whose way of thinking is logical to expect? Mine or my parents? How do they reconcile? I want torespect what my parents want, but I don’t see their way as making sense. So I would really love the input of those who have been or are in relationships/already married and explain what that was like for you, or most preferable anyone who has had children and what were your relationship rules — regarding both solo time if just friends, as I first addressed, and also regarding dating. The reason I would really appreciate it if Debbie Pearl specifically would describe how friendships and also dating looked for her daughters, is because my parents highly respect the Pearls and love No Greater Joy (as do I 🙂 ) and would definitely be value hearing her (or Mike’s) opinion. Part of the reason I am asking these questions on here is because my parents told me to seek out council from many wise people on this so I can make my own wise choices. My parents are all for me being a responsible adult and for me to be wise and make boundaries, but they have one set of boundaries that they think I should set and it is much different than mine.
I hope I’ve made everything clear enough, but I apologize if there is any confusion with something I’ve said; I just typed this entire thing on my tiny phone screen, so please have grace for spelling errors, run on sentences, never ending paragraphs, or any other loopy writing. Feel free to ask questions! I’m an open book, despite my tiny touchscreen :3
Thanks to everyone who can give me some advise on what you think of boundaries with guy friends and dating! 🙂 God bless!


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  1. Anna May

    Just something to remember and something most of us have all heard many times. The people that you think you can trust the most are the ones that a lot of times turn out to be… not so good…

    # August 4, 2012

  2. Kelsey Marie

    I see nothing wrong with being alone for a while with a trusted Christian male friend either. As for the whole dating thing, I think that when you start out first hanging out with eachother around family but once you really know and trust the guy, you certainy should have some alone time. It would be weird if you had no time alone until after the wedding.

    # August 4, 2012

  3. Faith T.

    Hi Petra,

    I’m not one of the Pearls, but I hope I can offer something helpful to you.

    I WISH I had had godly parents to protect and guide me when I was a young single woman! It might seem difficult now, but you are so very blessed to have them.

    What your parents are asking is not so uncommon. Have you ever watched 19 Kids and Counting? Their oldest son, Josh, met, courted and married his sweet wife, Anna – without them ever spending exclusive time alone together. Josh chose to follow his parents’ wise counsel, and they always took along a chaperone with them wherever they went (usually a younger sibling). Their family was wise enough to give them “alone” time in their home – in the living room, for example, while the other kids played outside and the other adults chatted in the next room, or whatever. I believe the Pearls’ did this with all their children as well.

    Choosing now to set and keep certain boundaries, even with “just friends”, will set the tone for your future courtship, and even after you are married, to never be alone with a man you are not married to. It is about purity, but it is also about accountability. You may know what goes on when you are alone, but does anyone else know? It is also about protecting your honor and your reputation.

    Temptation is such a slippery slope. From my own experience as a single young woman, innocent time spent alone with someone who is just friends usually leads to one or the other or both developing closer feelings for the other. I mean, most courtships do start from being just friends! So, once those feelings develop, how do you suddenly go back to not being alone together anymore? That line has already been crossed, and trust me, once that rush of feelings and attraction begins to develop, EVERYTHING inside you wants to keep moving forward – NOT draw back! Every line you choose to cross becomes nearly impossible to go back to. If this pattern continues, you will indeed find yourself in a compromising situation, and soon enough in the full compromise of sin. It is a slippery slope.

    It is important not to give your body away to anyone but your future husband, but it is also important not to give your heart away to anyone else.

    God will bring the right man to you, at the right time. Until then, maintain your purity, maintain your honor, keep your accountability, and stick to your convictions. The right man will have the same convictions and will also want to protect your purity and honor – not pressure you to compromise it. If you find a young man (no matter how charming) who does not respect your parents or pressures you to be alone with him – run the other way! He does not have godly intentions.

    If you think about it, your years of singlehood are preciously short (likely not longer than 10 more years). Once God brings you the right man to marry you will have the whole entire rest of your life to be alone together (likely 60 years or more!). It is well worth the wait!

    I hope this helps.

    Faith T.

    p.s. Here is a link to some YouTube videos from 19 Kids and Counting, all about their family’s courtship and dating guidelines. Or go to and type in the search: duggars courtship. Super helpful!…0.0…1ac.Ucl2lgdh93Q

    Here are also some articles from No Greater Joy on this topic:

    # August 7, 2012

    • Faith T.

      p.s. I was saved from a sinful past at age 19, met my “right man” at age 24, and have now been happily married for 11 years!

      # August 7, 2012

  4. daddys girl

    Joyfully obey your parents!!:)

    # August 29, 2012

  5. amanda

    Also remember, that just friends being alone can make a situation that is tempting. And things can happen even to people who are truly “Just Friends”
    Being alone with the opposite sex is hard. Because God gave us natural feeling for each other. One little thing like a little touch that was not meant to happen or intended in that way, can turn people on.
    God gave us parents for a reason. We should obey and heed their wisdom.
    God Bless.

    # December 13, 2012