“Wait until marriage to have sex?”
Many might say things like this, “I’d lose my mind if I had to wait until marriage to have sex.” “How will I ever find the right, compatible person without testing them as a sexual partner first?” Or, “Nobody in these modern times waits any more – except really weird people!” But the truth of the matter is, people can wait until marriage to have sex. It is both wise and God-fearing to wait. And, in this article are 10 life giving reasons to wait for sex until after marriage.
A sex before marriage sermon
I knew a pastor who in his annual Love, Sex, and Marriage sermon series would take two pieces of duct tape up to the pulpit. He would bend over and begin to touch them to the carpet, to the chairs, and other things on the platform until the duct tape was covered with fuzz.
Then, he would do his demonstration – trying to get the two pieces of duct tape to stick together. He would say, “This is you and the person you finally decide to marry. Perhaps both of you have had other sexual encounters and you’ve had sex with each other. Now, when you try to bond, that is, really emotionally trust each other, and feel sexually safe with each other, you find it hard because of the baggage you’re carrying into your marriage.
As he put the two pieces of duct tape together and they would not stick because of the fuzz, everyone got the point! Waiting for sex may make you better able to bond with your husband or wife. There’s no “fuzz” from the past between you that hinders true union. Here are the 10 life giving reasons to wait for sex:
1. Sex before marriage dampens bonding.
Jesus once asked as people brought him trick questions about divorce, “Have you never read, ‘a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5 NIV)
One of the chief aims of marriage is that people truly feel close to one another in a way they don’t feel with anyone else on earth. They join in a “covenant of marriage.” All others should be outside of this “one flesh” bond.
When you bring to marriage old sexual experiences whether spectacular or miserable, they color your marriage. Either you feel guilty about having had other partners, or you make comparisons, or you feel insecurity about your partner’s past relationships, and so on.
There’s a very real phenomenon called “soul ties.” Explained simply, you can still be linked to your former partners and unable to fully bond with your spouse. (Like the fuzz on the duct tape!)
2. Those who wait for sex have more stable marriages
Waiting to have sex until after marriage doesn’t mean everything regarding sex will come easy! Of course, there are things to learn about your partner and yourself. Communication has to be developed here as in all the areas of your life together. On the other hand, you might be blessed to easily add sex into your relationship.
But, here’s the thing. If you have been building emotional intimacy and loyalty, you’re far more likely to be able to work through this and every area of your life together. You will have a higher view of what marriage is about and what is at stake in preserving it – your hearts, your mental health, your extended family’s comfort, your children’s well being. And so, those who wait have a tendency to succeed in marriage more than those who’ve had a casual view of sex, living together, changing partners, etc.
3. God’s command is “no adultery.”
People’s idea of God’s command, “You shall not commit adultery,” (Exodus 20:14 NIV) is sometimes too narrow. It gets reduced to “I shouldn’t have sex with someone else when I’m married,” but everything else is A-Okay.
But we can cheat on that person who will ultimately be our marriage partner well before we meet them by “sleeping around,” or even having just one partner that is not them. Jesus set a very high standard in the area of sexual purity when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28 NIV)
He then went on to say if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. He wrapped up those strong words by saying “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” God takes sexual sin very seriously even if, in our culture, we don’t.
4. God says marriage first so we love like Him
In Genesis, we hear that God “created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV) What does that mean? We were made in His image – both genders, male and female?
Well, consider this. God is One but at the same time, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As you read the Bible, you will find passages describing the intense love of the Father for the Son, the Son for the Father, and the Father and Son for the Holy Spirit. There’s a fancy theological word “perichoresis” that describes the incredible oneness, intimacy, and love within the Trinity.
Without going into any more detail, human marriage is supposed to be a mirror of that internal passionate love of God. One of the highest forms of discipleship is a good marriage where love is profoundly expressed between husband and wife. It is a “light to the world.” At one point, the Apostle Paul tells husbands to love their wives in the way that Christ loves the Church. (Ephesians 5:25) There’s no room for casualness in that.
5. Marriage vows say “forsaking all others”
As a long time pastor, I’ve officiated at weddings for many young couples. Most of them, if not all of them, had already been living together. They felt no embarrassment about telling me, “Yeah, we live together.” In our culture today, that has become so sexualized since the 60s, it doesn’t even cause a flutter to be sexually active before marriage.
But traditional marriage ceremonies, which many couples still use, start out with something called the Declaration of Intentions. And, they go something like this:
“______, will you have _______ to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?” These are vows made in front of an altar before God.
The value of a vow and complete commitment is that you feel safe. And if kept by both, you are safe.
6. Saving sex for marriage protects your heart
When people get used to having sex outside of marriage – and for too many this can even be on the first date – the idea of frequently changing partners becomes normalized. So a lifetime commitment vow may be made in a pretty blasé way. As soon as there are irritations that person may “split.”
Unfortunately both women AND men can be brokenhearted if they have put their whole person into the relationship – including their body and sexuality. “What, he didn’t really love me? I was just a casual hook-up to him?” That broken heartedness can last for a while or color relationships/life for an indefinite time.
By the way, waiting can also protect your body – from sexually transmitted diseases, STDs.
7. No surprise babies if you wait for sex
Foolishly, people think birth control is pretty foolproof, but it is not. Women get pregnant without intending to far too often – with and without birth control. And we have a culture where there are far too many “baby mommas” and “baby daddies” – unmarried parents.
The formula for success in life goes something like this: Get educated and working. Get married. Then have babies. The number of children being born into unstable situations is shocking. Fatherless children do not thrive like those in a two parent home.
And, our shocking abortion statistic of approximately 63 million babies aborted since Roe v. Wade was passed remains a tragic testimony to what the “free love” movement of the 60s birthed. Abortion is often simply another means of birth control. You are less likely to face this kind of heart-wrenching decision if you wait for sex until the safety of marriage.
8. Incompatibility masked by early sex
When you jump into sharing sex in a relationship too early, it’s quite possible you won’t see all the ways you are not really meant for each other. By sharing the sex before growing in knowing the other person, you may think, “But, we “sleep” together. I can’t back away now.”
Many people have made the mistake of thinking sex = love. Had they waited, they might have seen how differently they think about many things. They would have given themselves the chance to say, “This is not the right one for me. I’m going to keep looking.”
The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) He was talking about not being with someone with whom you are spiritually incompatible. But, we also could go a step further and say prematurely engaging in sex with someone could make you blind to so many ways you aren’t really a match.
9. Marriage is about sex and much more
Sex is such a beautiful gift from God. It can bring so much joy, pleasure, playfulness, peace. You name it – it is wonderful to love your mate and to be really compatible in the area of sex.
Yet marriage, hopefully, will last “as long as you both shall live.” Seeing sex as one part of an over all devoted love and companionship found in marriage makes sense. At any point in a marriage, your spouse might become unable to have sex. Then what? If everything has revolved around it, and nothing deeper is there, you are stranded.
A deep, complete love of the other person will carry you through what the actual vows in a wedding service say:
“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and therefore, I pledge myself to you.”
My husband’s kiss
At one point in our marriage, I went through a terrible time health-wise. I had three surgeries, almost one after another. In one of them I had to have a nasogastric tube going through my nose down to my stomach, to pump my stomach out.
I remember my husband coming to the hospital daily and kissing me with that awful tube sticking out of my nose. I thought to myself, “Goodness, you must really love me to kiss me in this condition!” And he did. And he does. I love being loved “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.” I love the part of the vows that say “to love and to cherish.” And, I love that the length of time you ought to be able to rely on this – that it is “until death do us part.”
10. Waiting for sex honors God with our bodies
God cares about our bodies. Here is a passage from 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NIV:
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
When we make the choice to keep sex inside of marriage we are honoring God with our bodies as He has asked us to do.
How to avoid sex before marriage
Some of you may say, “I did have sex before marriage. I do feel guilty, or I do resent my spouse because of it.” God certainly forgives and heals if you have these thoughts. Pray and ask Him to heal you, your marriage, your heart. God is famous for fresh starts and letting us leave the past behind.
If you are single and wanting to wait until marriage to be sexually active, you may ask, “How do I avoid sex before marriage?” Certainly, the answer is to not go to each other’s home or apartment alone. Stay out of settings where sex can happen. Socialize with groups of people. Spend time with people who have similar moral values to help you stay on track. And pray that God’s power would be perfect in your weakness. Feed your heart with Him.
Being a part of a loving faith community is often the antidote to loneliness. With dear friends who truly care, and who honor singleness and being married, both, you can find the way to live a satisfying life no matter what season you are in.
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