While we were dating one of the biggest challenges my husband and I had was physical boundaries. It only got harder when he decided to go on a year-long mission trip. He came home on break one month and we went out to eat with the intentions of taking a walk on the beach afterward. It was dark by the time we got to the beach. We looked for a spot to put our blanket down. Within seconds we were feverishly making out. This time though, we went further than we ever had before. We basically were on top of each other with our clothes on, and without going into detail, we ended up getting each other very aroused. Mind you, we were both Christians who wanted to wait until we got married to have sex. Even though my husband wasn’t a virgin, after his last relationship he had made the commitment to stay celibate until we were married.
So here we were going further and further every time we came back together on his breaks. I realized that if we were going to keep our commitment to waiting until we were married we had to stop being physical, period. So I prayed and asked God for forgiveness because I felt so guilty for coming so close to breaking my promise, again. I wish I could say that my husband and I stopped being physical after that experience, but it seemed like the closer we got to being married, the more I found myself repenting for this same thing.
Looking back, it was only by the grace of God that we didn’t have sex, because we kept coming dangerously close to setting that sequence of events in motion.
I think about all the other young adults out there, single or not, and I know that the temptation to have premarital sex can be overwhelming. I’ve noticed that usually when people who intended to save themselves for marriage end up having premarital sex it due to one or more of these reasons:
1. Lack of boundaries.
Christians in committed relationships who plan on getting married have it just as hard as anyone else. It’s only natural that as your emotional intimacy with someone increases, your desire for physical intimacy with them increases too. My husband and I had to pray a lot about this because we constantly found ourselves in compromising situations. Over and over, we would feel guilty and re-establish rules for physical contact.
Soon, I realized that the only way to keep the boundaries intact was to establish rules about the times of day we would see each other and talk on the phone. Late night hanging out alone couldn’t be an option any more. So it definitely takes a lot of intentionality to keep from crossing those barriers of sexual contact.
One summer my husband and I spoke at a conference for teens and young adults about being ready for a relationship. After one of our presentations a young lady asked to meet with me in private. She explained that she had moved to America from Haiti by herself a few years ago. She worked at Walgreens to support herself and found herself feeling very lonely. She became friends with a co-worker who, incidentally, wasn’t Christian. One rainy afternoon she found herself at his house….and they had sex. She had just found out that she was pregnant right before coming to the conference. She broke down in tears as she explained that she dreaded telling her pastor because she served as children’s ministry leader and was afraid of what people at church would think of her after this.
When you go home every day to an empty house or bed, it’s hard not to think about wanting to be with someone. Everyone on your News Feed is updating their status to “In a Relationship” or “Married” and you’re still single. Your circle of friends that you can hang out with is getting smaller by the month. Loneliness slowly develops into desperation and before you know it, you’re getting involved with someone that you normally wouldn’t be with.
3. No support system.
Like the young lady I met a lot of people have the intention of waiting, but don’t have a circle of friends or family that will keep them accountable. If you want to wait, try your best to surround yourself with people who have the same commitment so that you can encourage each other when it gets tough.
4. No thought for long-term consequences.
Even Christians sometimes have sex and get caught up in the passion of the moment without taking a second to think about stuff like “Does this person have an STD?”What if we get pregnant?” Then a child is born into a fragmented home that they did not ask for, and you end up having to co-parent with someone you otherwise wouldn’t have chosen to be in your life. Trouble is, those things don’t seem as important in the heat of the moment. Your mind is hazy because the physical sensations you’re experiencing are in control. That’s why boundaries are important, especially if you’ve had sex before.
Keeping sex in the context of the marriage commitment isn’t some random restriction to keep us from exploring life and having fun. It’s actually to safeguard our emotions and happiness. From my experience I think that constant prayer and practical things like setting time limits on dates and talking on the phone, as well as hanging out with groups of people instead of constantly spending time alone will go a long way to help you keep your commitment to saving sex for marriage.
Until next time!