“Ask a Priest: How Might I Stay Chaste With My Fiancé?”

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Q: How do I set boundaries while I am engaged? I have a wonderful fiancé who is a new Catholic. I have taken on a new spiritual awakening and am trying to put God first in my life again. In the past I messed up a lot and let my sexual desires overcome me instead of following God’s Word. I have since gone to confession and tried a few times to explain to my fiancé how I no longer want to do those things and focus on our relationship with Christ and one another. My fiancé listens and understands, but I still don’t think he’s on the same page as me. I don’t want to compromise my values, and I don’t want to lose him. I don’t know how to get the message across that I want a pure, chaste relationship. Any advice? – F.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s great to hear that you want to keep your relationship chaste. For you do want to help your fiancé get to heaven someday.

If your fiancé really loves you, he will fight to be chaste, too. But it sounds as though he needs help.

A few ideas come to mind.

First, intensify your prayer life and sacramental life. Cultivate a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Second, be sure to dress modestly, keeping in mind a man’s perspective. Clothes that make a woman think she “looks terrific” can be a source of temptation for a man. So think about retiring any tight jeans and blouses, etc., that might be in the wardrobe.

Third, it might help for you and your fiancé to read and discuss some books together. A few suggestions: Men, Women and the Mystery of Love, How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, and The Courage to Be Chaste.

On a practical note, explain to your fiancé that chastity will help the both of you prepare well for marriage, since at times you would have to live like celibates. And think of chaste living as a way of preparing the gift of yourselves after the wedding.

Also, give yourselves parameters. For instance, you might decide to go your separate ways as of 10 p.m. or so. And try to plan your time together well — no long hours along together in an empty apartment or house.

For a strict parameter, don’t anything you wouldn’t do if your family members were in the next room.

And have courage! Our Lord will help you to live chastely.

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