In a culture where we’re bombarded with messages that tell us casual sex is okay, it’s hard to find a guy with a commitment to purity. God wants us to remain pure until marriage, but if we want to obey Him, that means our partner has to be on the same page.

Unfortunately, God’s message gets drowned out by TV, movies, and even real life when a guy’s friends may be constantly bragging about their own conquests and questioning him about why he’s not having the same “success.” Sex before marriage, often without any long-term commitment in a relationship, is the norm.

Fortunately, there are still men who follow God’s word and respect the decision to stay pure until marriage. Here are some ways to see where your ranks on the Pure-ometer:

1. Listen to His Comments

Your man might tell you he’s committed to purity if he thinks that’s what he wants you to hear, but what does he say to others? Does he make off-color jokes or comments when you’re out with friends? Does he agree when others talk about sex and glorify casual encounters?

At a minimum, he should change the subject or remove himself from the conversation. The Pure-ometer shoots even higher if he states his own opinion and stands up for his beliefs. A truly committed guy will share his viewpoint on why he doesn’t agree with what they’re saying.

2. Observe What He Reads and Watches

Obviously, if your guy preaches purity in public, but has a hidden stash of pornographic magazines or visits questionable websites, he probably doesn’t mean what he says. Someone who believes in premarital chastity and being faithful to his partner doesn’t surround himself with fantasies and temptations.

Jesus Himself summed it up perfectly:

But I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Even if your boyfriend isn’t cheating on you with other women to satisfy his physical desires, having a trove of questionable material puts him in the wrong frame of mind. He might not turn to someone else, but it could lead him to pressure you to do something you’ll both regret.

3. Evaluate His Behavior

It’s easy for a guy to say, “Yes, I want to stay a virgin until marriage” and to respect your decision to stay pure, too, but it’s much harder to live those words. Nobody bats an eye at couples living together or having a child, and often several, without being married. TV shows and movies joke about how many dates it takes, or how much a man has to spend on a woman, before sex is expected.

You might not buy into that, and you’ll know by your boyfriend’s behavior whether he’s at the same place on the Pure-ometer or whether he’s actually down toward the bottom. If he tries to pressure you into doing things that you’re not comfortable with, saying that they’re harmless, you’ll know there’s a problem.

It’s certainly appropriate to show physical affection for each other with kisses, hugs, shoulder rubs, and the like, but when you love someone, it can easily lead to the desire for more. Sex is a natural desire, and God means for it to be pleasurable as an expression of love between a husband and wife. Unfortunately, our hormones don’t wait for us to say, “I do.” They can kick in whenever we’re close to someone we love.

A man who respects your choice and who believes in purity for himself, too, will step in as the voice of reason instead of pressuring you to go further. Too many guys will push you when you’re in the heat of passion, knowing that physical desire can lead to bad spur-of-the-moment choices. Both your and your boyfriend should be able to put on the brakes if things start to go too far.

In for the Long Haul

When a man scores high on the Pure-ometer, his commitment to purity grows over time rather than getting weaker. If you’re engaged, he shouldn’t say things like, “We’re almost married. We’re almost husband and wife already, so it’s okay if we do it now.”

God knows that sex is tempting. After all, He’s our Creator. We see His understanding right in the Bible:

But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:2

It takes a little while to get to the point of marriage, and that’s where self-control comes in. If your guy’s rank on the Pure-ometer is compatible with your own, you can work together to resist temptation more effectively.

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