Q&A: Is it possible to date my ex's friend?

Question More than a year ago, I broke up with my boyfriend.  Currently, I am quite interested in another guy that my ex is also friends with. Here’s the dilemma: I don't want to hurt my ex. I was the one that broke up with him. I broke his heart, and even now, I feel so guilty about it.  Should I stop what is happening because they know each other, and if my ex sees us together he may be even more hurt?

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Hope for marriage when there's so much divorce

FullSizeRender Is it folly to hope for marriage when divorce is happening all around you? That's the gist of the question I answered this week on Boundless. A young woman wrote,

Over the past two years I have noticed more and more people separating and getting divorced after 15, 20, even after 30 years of marriage. Although none are in my family, they are all in close connection with my family. My brain is finding this increasingly difficult to compute, make sense of and deal with.

I hope to marry one day. I pray that my marriage will be as successful as those of my parents and grandparents; however, with more and more long-term marriages failing around me, I find myself increasingly closing myself off, unwilling to take the risk of even trying to get to know men with a potential to marry.

How can I practically accept and come to terms with the increasing number of failing long-term marriages in my life while still being able to keep my heart open to the hope of marrying, and without letting the fear of the risks increase to the point where I let my desire for marriage die?

A recent commentary for the Religious News Service noted that given the consumeristic approach westerners have toward getting and staying married, as well as the decline in cultural incentives to stay married, “routine mass divorce is inevitable.” This is bad news for marriage. But it is not new bad news, nor is it adequate reason to lose hope in marrying for life.

The ability to stay married, and especially to stay married in a godly, loving, sacrificial and fruitful marriage, has never been something we can achieve in our own strength. ... Staying married may not be easy, but it is simple. Marriage is a matter of obedience. For two believers who have been given hearts of flesh in place of their hearts of stone (Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26-27), obedience is possible in the strength of Christ (Philippians 4:13, John 15:5).

Obedience is an outmoded idea, but it is essential to keeping one’s marriage vows. Obedience may not be sexy, but it is durable and dependable. And most hopefully, for the believer, in the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible.

To read the rest, visit Boundless.org.

Is She Still a Virgin?

BA_largeA few weeks ago a reader emailed to ask if she could still call herself a virgin. She wrote,

I have not had actual sexual intercourse. However, I have committed sexual sin in my past (I have turned away from it now). The worst of that sexual sin being what I suppose they call "dry sex" (I assume you know what that entails).

The crux of her question: "would I be lying if I still call myself a virgin?"

Though I do answer that in today's Q&A Stop and Start—along with a look at how the enemy uses guilt to keep us sinning, and a reminder of the totality of God's forgiveness—I also toss back my own question in the process. What I want to know is,

Why just stop having dry-sex? Why not also get married and have real, God-ordained, wonderful, married sex? You've got a man you like enough to fool around with. Do you like him enough to marry him?

Read the whole conversation and send your own hard questions for future columns here.