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What's the Big Deal About Waiting for Marriage?

Reevaluating our generation's approach to sex and intimacy.

If Christians are supposed to be waiting until marriage for sex, they aren’t doing a very good job at it. Statistics show  as many as 80 percent of Christians in their 20s admit to having premarital sex. 

I am one of those Christians.

I learned  I was supposed to wait for marriage at a really young age. In fact, before I even really knew what sex was I knew the abstinence message: Having sex before marriage was just about the worst sin you could commit.

I was part of the True Love Waits generation. I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and When God Writes Your Love Story. I even went on a youth group retreat where I was encouraged to write letters to my future husband. I did and kept them in a box under my bed. If any Christian was going to make it to the wedding day it should have been me.

So why didn’t I?

I now believe I was asking all the wrong questions.

I knew I was supposed to wait for marriage for sex, but I didn’t really know why. Instead of asking, “Why am I supposed to be doing this?” I spent most of my energy asking, “How far is too far?” or, "If I’m saving sex for marriage, can I have oral sex?" "How much kissing is too much kissing? Can I sleep in the same bed with someone?" "What if our clothes are on?"

The wrong questions pointed me in the wrong direction and I paid the price for it—I spent yearsof my life nurturing insecurities and growing in confusion, guilt andanxiety.

When I finally did talk to Christians about the reasons we werewaiting for marriage for sex, the answers I got were vague andconfusing. “Your body is a precious treasure and you need to treat itaccordingly.” “Sex is a gift you only get to give away once.” Theseexplanations didn’t satisfy me. If sex was such a bad thing, I wondered, then how come it felt like such a good thing? What was it that happened after the wedding day that made sex suddenly OK? It all seemed soarbitrary.

I’m convinced  we’re asking the wrong questions. We’re adults. We need to talk about sex like adults. We need to use the words that actually describe what we are doing. But if we’re stuck asking questions like, “How far is too far?” we miss out on the answer to questions like this: "What does it mean when the Bible says to avoid sexual immorality?" "Why would God ask me to wait? Are there actual reasons?" "If sex (and all the things leading up to sex) are 'bad' then why does it feel so good?"I believe  these questions have answers and we as Christians need to develop the courage to talk about them.

So, what is the big deal about saving sex for marriage? If we spend all day asking, “How far is too far?” we’re creating a list of rules and regulations that are pointless. And we wonder why, at the end of the day—no matter where we set the boundary—we have a hard time keeping it.

There are reasons God asks us to wait for marriage for sex:

It Builds Trust. Trust that your spouse is the kind of person who can control his or her sexual urges. Trust that your spouse values his/her sexuality enough to guard it until marriage. Trust that your spouse values you and your needs above anyone else. Trust that your spouse understands the concept of self-sacrifice and delayed gratification. 

Trust takes time to build. You might as well start now.

It Builds Friendship. Sex in addition to friendship creates a really lasting bond in a relationship—one that is hard to break. Sex without friendship is fragile and explosive. It’s like an expensive vase set on an unsteady table. Just give it the slightest bump and it will tumble and break.

How are you working to be friends first?

Happiness Isn't Everything. If the purpose of my relationships is happiness, then any time I feel unhappy or uncomfortable the temptation will be to end my relationship. If the purpose of my relationship is holiness, then I’ll see every discomfort as an opportunity to work toward becoming more whole.

Are your relationships making you happy, or are they making you whole?

You Are Valuable. Strong physical boundaries speak to your value. You are worth more than a movie ticket or a cup of coffee or a couple of dinners out. You are not that easily accessible. It takes more than that. Let your physical boundaries speak to the value you place on your sexuality.

Are you communicating the right message about your value?

Lust Is Not Manageable. If you think you can entertain lust in a dating relationship (or as a single person) and stop when you get married, you’re in line for a rude awakening. Lust does not have a light switch.

Do you want to get rid of lust now or later?

Whether you waited for marriage, are sorting out your sexual history or just need a reminder your wait is worth it, we can address the questions of sex directly, with honesty. Let’s start asking the right questions.

Ally Spotts is a 20-something writer and blogger (read her blog series on waiting until marriage for sex). Ally believes that what feels like a crisis is almost always an opportunity to step out in faith and do something crazy. She is the author of the e-book Asking All The Wrong Questions: Why Christians Are Waiting For Marriage For Sex. Follow what she is saying on facebook and twitter. 

224 Comments

Brett

123

Brett commented…

thankx for posting this - i think you raise some excellent points and definitely that of having been fed the wrong question as young people in terms of 'how far is too far?' and all of that - if we had been taught to value sex over being taught to run away from it there might have been some kind of difference...

keep on
love brett fish

Brett

123

Brett replied to Brett's comment

specifically on that question i have a three parter answer which may be of help to some people: http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/i-kissed-dating-part-how-far-i...

Michael Johnson

142

Michael Johnson commented…

I can't believe I missed this one. AWESOME TRUTH HERE! Thanks for sharing, Ally. Will be sharing this post with the Future Marriage University (FMU) community at https://www.facebook.com/FMUniversity.

And I encourage anyone struggling to stay pure to check out this post on our FMU Date Night Advice (DNA) blog: http://f-m-u.com/Blog/welcome-intercourse/

Marianne Robertson Byers

1

Marianne Robertson Byers commented…

Below are some notes that are not my words, they are direct quotes from DivorceCare. (http://www.divorcecare.org/) I believe they are pertinent to this discussion.

Sex Before Marriage Clouds Your Judgment. "A struggle may come up, but then you kiss passionately, and the next thing you know, you’re sleeping together and the struggle is set to the side. You don’t know if the person’s going to stay through conflict once you get married because you’re not addressing the conflict when you’re dating. It clouds everything to sleep together.”Rob Eagar says, “Touching someone sexually makes your heart desire to bond with that person. What happens is your emotions and feelings get cranked up to such an intense level that you tend to overlook more important aspects of the relationship, such as character, spiritual depth, or maturity. Once you get involved sexually, it can cloud your thinking and you look at the relationship too much from an emotional standpoint rather than a factual standpoint concerning a person’s integrity and commitment to loving you.”

Sex Before Marriage Has Consequences. One consequence is the immense pain that comes at the end of any sexual relationship. Because you supernaturally bond with every person you have sex with, ending that relationship will result in a tearing of the bond, even if that bond was only created through a one-time act.
Rose Sweet says, “If you’re sexually involved after divorce, there is a huge price to pay because sex is not isolated to the sexual act. God designed sex to be a whole person experience. Sex was intended to image God’s free, full, faithful, and fruitful love. That four-fold love is only present in marriage. When sex does not reflect these four factors, it hurts everyone from the couple to the children to society. So, why subject yourself to a few moments of pleasure for months or years of pain?”

Having sex outside of marriage hurts your relationship with God. Since God is the source of life, peace, hope, comfort, security, and power—cutting yourself off from God will bring serious consequences.

Dick Purnell says, “The big downer when you get involved in sexual immorality is the loss of intimacy with God. When you are not connected to the vine of Jesus Christ, the eventuality is you’re going to dry out and shrivel up the second you open the door to all the other fleshly desires that are in your soul—the carousing, the violence, the anger, the frustration. All this will start flooding your life, and you’ll feel powerless with the onslaught.”

Frederick Johnsen

6

Frederick Johnsen commented…

The church has done a very poor job at addressing this problem, especially given the modern factors that have come into play. In the last century or so the age of puberty has dropped by about three years (or more) from 16 to 13 while the age people are getting married has jumped from the low 20s to the upper 20s and early 30s. Where puberty and the age of marriage where once much closer it is now possible to have a gap of 17 years - 17 years fraught with temptation in a hyper-sexualized culture. And the best the church can come up with is to slam a bunch of "Thou Shall Nots" down on people or take the liberal approach and say "Do what you want cause Jesus loves you just the way you are." Do we have any real theologians left who can speak to this subject with a balance of biblical knowledge, a respect for God's word and a sense of grace and dare I say common sense?

Christiana Perez

1

Christiana Perez commented…

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