“Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.”
We’ve all heard the phrase Emotional Chastity and maybe we have some idea of what it means but how often do we actually say that we’re emotionally chaste? How do we practice emotional chastity and how is it at work in our lives?
I spent a good 2 months of my summer exploring the concept of emotional chastity in my own relationship and in my heart. First of all, it’s important to realize that emotional chastity is not excuse not to be vulnerable. Vulnerability and authenticity are the values that drive relationships and meaningful conversations. Emotional Chastity is simply sharing the right things with the right people.
For example, if you get on Facebook and share how much a certain guy has broken your heart and how torn you are and how unstable and grief-stricken you are that would be unchaste. It’s important to share those feelings, but Facebook isn’t a proper outlet- 85% of your friends on Facebook don’t need to connect that deeply with you. On the other hand if you develop feelings for someone while you’re already pursuing a romantic relationship with another person you SHOULD tell your significant other about those feelings. To repress them or not share them with that person would be unchaste. So, basically, your emotional state, just like your physical attentions should be shared with the right people.
How does this play into our lives outside of social media and romance? I dated a guy for a year and a half up until this summer. Part of the reason I believe things didn’t work out was that he (and probably me) didn’t practice emotional chastity. He worked at a summer camp based in Christianity and was surrounded by good, valuable Christian people. Being a very open, trusting and vulnerable person, my boyfriend shared the most intimate details of his emotions with these girls at camp. Because he was so busy working we spoke for maybe a few minutes a day and none of that was used as an opportunity to deepen our emotional relationship. From there, our relationship slipped, it probably would have happened eventually anyway, but our lack of emotional chastity spurred that on.
Fast forward to school beginning again. You’ll never a more vulnerable person that a 20 year old girl who has recently been dumped by an incredible guy. This girl being me, I confided in my roommates and also my guy friends (I’ve always gotten along with guys better). Of course because I was being so vulnerable and emotional to my guy friends, I began to think about their emotions, to ask about their emotions. Now, I’m in a place where I’ve told a guy I would date him and he responded the same. But, we’re not dating and if we would, it wouldn’t be for a long time. Because we are incredibly good friends, I still am emotionally very open with him but now I’m beginning to realize I’m becoming emotionally attached (which is okay for many aspects of our friendship). It’s important to remind myself that just like my body, my deepest emotions are reserved for my husband. My vulnerability will build beautiful friendships but sharing my emotions to the core will build a beautiful marriage.