Why Wait Until Marriage?

Pedestrian crosswalk sign (wait)

Hold up there! Benoît Prieur (Aga), via Wikimedia Commons

This is a unusual for me, but rather than writing a post on why you should wait to have sex in marriage, I’m referring you to sources that discuss this topic. However, all four of these relate to me.

First, Preengaged from Eric and Heather Viets asked me to do a couple of guest blog posts for their site. Eric and Heather offer pre-engagement counseling, and their posts are particularly good for couples who are dating, engaged, or recently married. That said, I’ve been married a looooong time, and I get a lot of out reading what they discuss as well.

Back in August, I did a two-part article for their blog on Sex Before Marriage. I discussed eight reasons why it isn’t a good idea.

Sex Before Marriage, Part 1

Sex Before Marriage, Part 2

Second, another wonderful marriage resource is the Stupendous Marriage Show (which I’ve mentioned here before). Stu and Lisa Gray host this podcast and cover all kinds of marriage topics. In their program, they admitted to having lived together before getting hitched and said that they wished they had done it differently. Out of curiosity, I sent them the following email:

Stu & Lisa,

I have a question. You have mentioned several times on your Stupendous Marriage show that you lived together before marriage; however, you said that would do it differently if given the chance to do it over again. My question is: Why?

Is it merely the conviction that waiting until your wedding night would honor God more? Or do you think it hampered your relationship in some way? I know that studies show a higher divorce rate for those who have cohabited prior to marriage, but a lot of people still believe cohabitation is a good idea to try the waters out and get used to living with someone. What do you think?

Thanks so much for your ministry. It is a blessing to couples seeking stronger marriages.

J (Hot, Holy & Humorous)

They did an excellent job of answering this very question in Stupendous Marriage Episode 27. Stu and Lisa then followed up with more commentary after receiving feedback from a listener. That conversation is in Stupendous Marriage Episode 28.

As you may know, I blew it on this front. My Personal Testimony is at the top of this page if you want to click it and learn more. However, I have figured out that God really does know what He’s talking about: Sexual intimacy is worth waiting for.

One more addition, which has nothing to do with me: Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum recently posted Should We Really Wait for Marriage to Make Love? Sheila has a lot of sound advice for women and marriage.

I’m also guest posting today at the Mystery 32 Blog on What’s So Beautiful about Marital Intimacy?

5 thoughts on “Why Wait Until Marriage?

  1. DW

    My husband and I just got married in October. I was a virgin (although I had went a little too far with one boyfriend, still no where near sex) when I started dating my husband, while he was brand new to church and God. His sexual history is not something I know details about, but I do know that he was raised in family with no supervision and very little morals, and therefore he did what he wanted. He used to be a partier and I know he was definitely not a virgin when we got together. I am a social worker, and I have a love for people who have been down the wrong road and now need help getting back on the right one, and so I have always thought that I would probably marry a guy who had a not so pure past, but had made changes. My question is, now that we are married, I can’t help but to sometimes accidentally think of him being with other girls. It usually pops into my head when we are having sex. I have tried to make a conscious effort to forget about the other women he has been with, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me or sometimes cross my mind. I do my best not to mention it to him, because I know it makes him feel bad. One time I said something along the lines of “I wish I were your only one” and he said “you are”. It’s not how he acts, it’s not that I regret marrying a non-virgin, but I can’t help but be hurt at times. It’s in the past and I knew all this before I married him, so the fault lies with me. Any recommendations for how to get past this?

    1. J

      I am big fan of communicating with your spouse about your intimate life. Is it always easy? No. But I think it’s worth it. So I suggest that someday — away from the bedroom, with your clothes on — you sit down and talk with your husband about how you feel. Be honest but not accusatory. Explain that you think at times about his previous partners, but want your sex life to be completely focused on the two of you. Let him explain more fully what those encounters meant compared to the ones he has with the wife he chose. I’m willing to bet that the physical yippees he had with those gals are nothing next to the deep layers of intimacy he has with you (which is one reason why sex is so much better in marriage!). You may need to convey that this is a sensitive area for you, that you want to be fully open, but you simply want a little more reassurance.

      And then, you have to redirect your mind in the bedroom — over and over. This is what a lot of women don’t understand. We wives have all kinds of things that can show up in our heads in the middle of sex. Like pop-up windows on a computer, we don’t control their arrival, but we can close those windows. Wives may need to train their brains to shut off negative or distracting messages and focus on the pleasure and intimacy of the moment. After you do this for a while, it gets easier. And then one day, you realize that you haven’t had that mental battle in a long time.

      Best wishes! 🙂

  2. Anonymous

    I know this is not usually your area. But my boy friend and I have been sleeping together for awhile now. I come from a Christian back ground and know its wrong. About 2 months ago i finally came up with the courage to tell him that I think it’s wrong and I no longer want to have sex until I’m married. I was surprised when he said he was ok with that, and when he started dating me he never expected sex. I ‘ve never been in a relationship with a guy that was able to express self controle and respect me like that. For the last month and a half it’s been real easy because I’ve been away at school, but I will graduate in January and head home. My boyfriend does not come from a Christian background and does not understand the need of waiting until marriage. The only reason why he has agreed to obstain from sex is because of his love for me. He asked me to set some clear boundaries for him (he only considers penetration sex). I told him any time I am touching his genitaly or he is touching mine is sex. Am I right? What would be some clear boundaries for a person who has never had any set rules?

    1. J

      I think those are reasonable boundaries. But I also suggest that you talk strategy. It’s one thing to lay down expectations and boundaries, and another thing altogether to stick to that plan. Your body and his may be screaming at you to ignore that “silly rule” and “express your love” (can you tell I’ve done this before?).

      You may need to lay out your strategy clearly, such as “if you start touching me or I start wanting to touch you in private areas, I’m going to leave the couch and ask you to take a walk with me instead” or “if we start getting too hot-and-heavy, one of us needs to say the keyword ______ as a signal to stop.” Some couples make the decision simply not to be alone in a room together. Know HOW you’re going to resist the pull that God has naturally given you to be intimate with someone you love. It’s not a matter of not wanting sex, but rather wanting sex to be in its proper place–committed marriage.

      Also, exposing private areas counts as sexual, even if there isn’t touching. We all know this instinctively. We certainly don’t reveal those parts to others, but couples tend to want to bend the rules.

      You have my admiration and prayer for your stance!

  3. Pingback: What Jesus’ Family Tree Tells Me about Sexuality | Hot, Holy & Humorous

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