to wait or not…God’s plan

photo credit: tochis via photopin cc
photo credit: tochis via photopin cc

Everyone’s doing it and having a great time. How do we know? We see it everywhere…advertisements, tv, movies, books. It looks so enticing and it’s almost expected. You’re considered prudish if you don’t. What’s the big deal? Why wait? Why is it important to save sex for marriage?

There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. ~1 Corinthians 6:18, The Message

And

Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. ~Romans 13:13-14, NLT

In her book The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting, and God’s Purity Plan, Bekah Hamrick Martin explores why abstinence is so important. Peppered with funny anecodotes, personal testimonies, and quizzes, this book is a must read for girls and parents of girls who are ready to start dating. It might not be a bad idea for unmarried adults as well, although they’re not the intended audience.

The most important take home message is that you must have a plan. You must decide before you start dating where your boundaries are. You can’t wait until the heat of the moment to determine what is too far.

I wish I had The Bare Naked Truth when I was a teen. I’m not one for blind obedience, which is both good and bad trait of mine. It’s good when it comes to man-made rules. Remember the Nazis? Let’s make sure that what we do upholds God’s righteousness and love for humanity. But it’s bad when it comes to God’s commands. With Him, you follow and pray for enlightenment later because He knows more than we can know and He doesn’t owe us an explanation.

As a teen, it didn’t make sense to me why waiting for marriage was so important. If you protected yourself against STD’s and pregnancy, and if you were with someone you loved and might marry, why wait? It just didn’t make sense to me. But the truth is, sexual intimacy is more than just physiology, it’s emotional bonding meant to connect two people. Sex before marriage has emotional consequences that aren’t apparent and can have life-long consequences. God tries to protect us by warning us to wait (3 times in the Song of Songs). Some of these consequences are revealed through personal testimonies in The Bare Naked Truth. Things I never considered.

But be careful. There is adult content in this book that isn’t for the young. There were topics in the book that surprised me; for instance, the extent to which some young women struggle with addiction to pornography and masturbation.

And, of course, reading about sex makes you think about sex and we know where that leads. So be careful, my friends…

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem, by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe-and you’re ready. ~ Song of Songs 2:7

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem, by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe-and you’re ready. ~ Song of Songs 3:5

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe-and you’re ready. ~Song of Songs 8:4

Alright, I’m curious but I don’t want to embarrass anybody. Did you wait? Answer via the anonymous poll below and let’s see how we did.

And I’d love to hear from you! What do you think is the most important reason people should wait to be intimate before marriage? And where do you think the physical line should be drawn?

16 thoughts on “to wait or not…God’s plan

  1. Waiting is SO important! A person can make an effort to protect themselves from STD’s and pregnancy — and most of the time it works but not always. But there’s no protection from the emotional damage that comes when bodies and spirits join outside the commitment of marriage.

    Drawing the line is tough. Racing up to the edge of the cliff and then trying to STOP won’t work. Anything past kissing can so quickly lead to a point of no return. What you must remember is this: being alone, touching, kissing–all of it is meant to lead to sex. Waiting takes courage, determination and a strong commitment. It IS possible! Don’t believe anyone who says it can’t be done. IT IS POSSIBLE TO WAIT!

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    1. Even kissing can be too much. I’ve met a couple who were never alone before they were married. It was always group dates and public locations. And I say, more power to that! If you have the determination to wait, then you are going to want to enable yourself to get there.

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  2. I like that the big message is have a plan. Truthfully, that the information that I was lacking as a teen. I had no idea how easy it is to get carried away and had no boundaries predetermined other than “true love waits”. And it’s important to know exactly why you are drawing the lines where you are or else it’s easy to think those boundaries are unreasonable and should be stretched out a bit.

    Sex before marriage does have emotional consequences. Relationships, period, leave their mark. I’ve only ever dated one person – the man I married. And I know how unusual that is for most people. He had one previous relationship and when we met he was scarred from how badly it ended. It was something we had to deal with as our relationship developed and I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had they gone all the way. And often when we were dating and newlywed, it would bother me how much he had experienced with someone else.

    There is a reward to waiting and how much more precious will a physical relationship be if it is saved for marriage? It’s a cheesy, overdone comparison but it’s like the difference between opening a present on Christmas or sneaking a peak beforehand. Even though I married the only man I ever had a relationship with, if I could go back, I would set different boundaries. It’s not just about experiencing things with the person you may or may not spend your life with – but about experiencing them in the right order and setting – where they have more meaning.

    (Also, your little warning about the adult content is so true! My parents way of teaching us was pretty much having us read Dr. Dobson’s “Preparing For Adolescence” and then asking questions if we wanted. And I learned things in that book that I hadn’t known anything about. Instead of just educating, it planted ideas and thoughts.)

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    1. I once peeked at a couple of Christmas gifts–something that was so unlike my nature. I don’t know what got into me! Anyway, I felt guilty as the time for the official unveiling counted down. And when I did open the presents, I worried about having the appropriate reaction since the surprise factor wasn’t there. A lot of worry and anxiety over a momentary decision.

      I don’t think the comparison is so “cheesy”. A lot of people will say the same thing I did — I don’t know what got into me! And the guilt and anxiety over not waiting for sex would be a lot more intense than what I experienced after sneaking a peek at my presents.

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      1. I did the same thing once when I was 10/11ish. Got up super early just so I could look, shake, pry. And I learned from that exact same lesson. 🙂

        When I said cheesy I just meant it’s the kind of comparison teens get drilled into them until they just roll their eyes and say “yes, yes, we know”. But it really is the truth. The guilt and anxiety really would be so much more with sex, not to mention potential consequence of stds or pregnancy.

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      2. I didn’t wait, and so sex and guilt were associated together for me. Even after I was married, I felt guilty about having sex for a long time, even though it was permissible and expected. Not waiting really does mess with your brain, especially if you grow up in the church and know you SHOULD wait.

        I wonder with girls that don’t grow up in a home where abstinence is expected whether they experience the same feelings of guilt. If you grow up thinking it’s OK, do you still struggle with all the emotional baggage? I imagine you do, but maybe it’s different baggage.

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    2. Drawing lines ahead of time is CRUCIAL! If a person takes the “I’ll decide when the time comes” approach, it’s almost a given things will go farther than they wanted them to. Boundaries, planned dates, openly discussing the situation–all necessary for a commitment to abstinence to be successful.

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      1. Very crucial. And reasons behind said boundaries, too. Otherwise a person might hear “well, why not?” and if they don’t have a reason, it’s easy to give in. My husband is always saying, “guys will say anything to manipulate and get what they want.” And he freely admits he had his moments, even as a Christian (I can attest to that!). And while there are exceptions, his daily work is with girls who were taken in by lies. It’s important teens be prepared.

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  3. Oh, to answer the last question: I remember hearing a sermon once where the pastor likened physical intimacy to the tail on a kite – one with the little bows? Every physical act – holding hands, hugging, quick pecks, passionate kisses – equals one of those bows. And when you cross one of those boundaries, cutting the bow off the tail, you shorten the distance to sex. And there’s no reattaching that bit of string and bow. It’s playing with fire, getting closer and closer to the flame.

    And he was right. I’m sure everyone has a different opinion where that line should be drawn – that’s half the reason things are so difficult when dating. Personally, looking back, I would draw the line before kissing. Just holding hands, nothing else. Not because I think kissing is wrong but because, to me, it’s too easy for kissing to become heated.

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    1. I agree. Kissing is something emotionally bonding and special and ramps up the romantic tension leading you to wanting much more. Yikes! But society puts such emphasis on first kisses and first times, as if they are to be expected before marriage. How radical the idea to wait until marriage to even kiss. And how necessary.

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      1. Society does and it’s a shame. We waited 6 months before “kissing” but it’s amazing how intense just kissing on the cheek can be. (And how far you can push even those boundaries.) Sometimes, it’s the spirit of the law, not the letter, that is being broken.

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    2. I love that kite string analogy! I often hear people who are already married wish they had done less–maybe not even kissed–before the wedding. Hind sight is SO much wiser! I admire those who save the first kiss for the wedding ceremony. Talk about a tough commitment to stick to! But what devotion, determination, and courage it develops in the relationship. We went to a wedding a couple of years ago where the pastor announced, right before the “you may kiss the bride”, that the couple had saved the first kiss so as not to awaken desire before it’s time. A hush fell over the audience.

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      1. My sister did that with her first wedding. We always suspected the not-kissing was more for show than out of a desire to protect their marriage. It didn’t last and she lived with her fiance for a year before marrying the 2nd time. It’s a really nice thing to save for marriage but, personally, I’d probably not announce it anymore than I would announce waiting for sex. But every couple and their convictions are different.

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  4. Beth, I’m not sure I’d want my first kiss to be so public. 🙂

    Sparks, I can understand the motivation for telling some people in order to be held accountable, but not broadcasting it to everyone. Especially since in this case it didn’t work.

    Great discussion! Thanks so much for commenting!

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