If She/He’s the One, Why Should We Still Wait?

I want to tackle now head on the temptation to engage in sex with a partner you’re engaged to, or you know you’ll marry. Since this is “the one,” you’ve been keeping yourself for, then now, why wait (until the actual marriage)? Here are four reasons you need to continue to abstain: God said so. Even though some of the arguments I’ve given in previous blogs apply only to sex between people who will never marry, that still doesn’t negate the principle. God says wait until you are married. Just because you’re engaged doesn’t mean that all the reasons to wait are gone. Besides, it’s really about obedience, and believing God’s plan is better, even when we don’t understand it. We don’t obey only when we know, understand, and accept the reasons. This is a form of pride, which I referenced earlier. But there are some reasons we can see…(keep reading). Secondly, even when we think we know so much, there is so much we don’t. God knows the future, we don’t. I had a friend in seminary who was engaged to be married. The night before his wedding, he suddenly died (he did not know that he had been living since birth with a hole in his heart). Rare case, of course. But imagine his fiancé now. When she plans to marry another, she will have to tell her husband that she is not a virgin. And what if she had become pregnant? How difficult to have a child as a single mother, and for the child not to have his father. The father would have left no (legal) provision for his child! Hind sight is clear. The future, however, is still very uncertain in our eyes. That is why we instead trust God. He knows reasons why we still need to obey even when we don’t. The secular business world understands this truth. If you buy a house, you first sign a purchase agreement (engagement). The house now is guaranteed to become yours, provided everything works out (financing, contingencies, etc.). Yet you in no way can touch the home, make any changes, move in, or even go on site. Although you are certain you will own the house, the bank will not let you near it. Why? Because the legal world knows all too well that best intentions and even certainties often fall through. Not until you close on the house (marriage) is it really yours to do with as you like. Not until you “close” on your marriage can you enjoy its sexual benefits! There is a legal commitment made when people get married. There is an expressed covenant, a foundation of a promise. This is the proper setting for giving oneself so completely and fully. Such total giving requires the safest, most stable environment. Relationships without that vow always have what I call the “leave factor.” People perform out of a sense that if they don’t please the other enough, the other will “up and away.” So, they perform (sexually, performing roles in the home and relationship, etc.) to keep the relationship going. Such relationships are wrongly founded. They are a “buy-as-you-go” relationship. God’s intention is a relationship not based on works, but on commitment. So, when people who had been sustaining their relationship out of functioning to maintain the relationship actually get married, that need to perform goes away, and they often slip in their performance. Many such marriages soon end in divorce. One couple I knew lived together for 20 years. Then, when they finally got married, they were divorced in 6 months. God’s plan, instead, is to commit to live for each other not to “service” the relationship, but out of your vow of commitment to that person. You perform out of your desire to please the other person. The safety of marriage actually allows you to do that even more, because it takes away the threat of failure. If you try and fail, the other will not “up and away.” The commitment of the marriage vows withstands the failure and allows the opportunity to try again. Thirdly, the matter is ultimately about truly honoring each other. Violating the marriage bed beforehand violates each other. It strikes to my character, and the honoring of my wife-to-be. If I truly love the one I am going to marry and am committed to her, then I will strive to do only what is best for her. I will seek out ways to honor her and be a blessing to her. I will protect her sexuality and guard over her honor. I will desire to fulfill God’s plans for her and us with great zeal. How can I claim to truly love her and commit to do what is best for her in marriage when I am not willing to say “no” to my sexual urges and desires or follow God’s plan to save sex until we are married? How can such a couple truly trust each other with their whole futures, their whole beings, when they have not demonstrated to each other careful and meticulous stewardship beforehand? Put bluntly, why would my future wife be able to trust me with her whole person when I have handled her body so sloppily and selfishly beforehand? How can she trust me when I so easily caved into my sexual desires, and was willing to sacrifice our purity for my instant gratification? There is no clearer demonstration of lack of character, of lack of providing for my spouse, lack of willingness to deny myself for the betterment of her. This sets up a very scary scenario for the fiancée, especially when the man pushes the wife to give herself sexually to him (as is usually–but not always!–the case). Either way, the engaged couple must even more stringently watch over one another in committed and self-sacrificing love. Having sex before marriage is a pretty good indication that that marriage will be very, very difficult. Fourthly (there are more, but this will be my last), becoming engaged is even more reason to wait. Now…finally…marriage is within your sights. Soon, all the blessings of sex will be yours. If you but hold on just a short, foreseeable length, all the rewards will be yours. Why throw it away when it is finally so close? That is just plain stupid. But, WARNING! once betrothed, it is even more difficult, because all the natural systems God made into us start preparing for marriage. Emotionally the couple starts to give themselves to each other more than in the past, and there is a deeper bonding. That bonding begins to reach even more aggressively for the consummation of that bonding sexually. Your bodies awaken even further, and in anticipation of that coming sexual experience, your bodies start to desire each other even more. It is harder and harder to abstain, because hormonally, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, you are growing towards each other. Add to that the extra time being spent together, talking about your relationship and the romance of the wedding, and spending all those late nights together planning and preparing. Danger! So, although it becomes more difficult, it becomes no less important. Christians seeking to honor God and their future spouse will take steps ahead of time to ensure faithful abstinence until the wedding bed.  Well, in the remaining blogs for this year, I’ll tackle a couple of more related questions I’ve been asked about abstinence. For example, next time I’ll debunk the “try it before you buy it” theory. Stay tuned!