Estimated reading time: 6 minutes:)
Before I met Nathan, abstinence was never in question for me.
I’ll be honest, in all my past relationships I never felt truly sexually tempted. I believe that’s because I was with the wrong person. I never questioned Christian beliefs about abstinence before.
But after Nathan and I had been dating for a few months, I began to see how difficult abstinence would be. Which caused me to start asking questions.
Why is it important to abstain?
Abstinence is one of the strongest held beliefs in the church. But why?
Here’s the thing: when you’re not in a tempting situation, a lot of the arguments for abstinence make sense. You’d agree with them, sure. But most of them are flimsy. They are the kind of arguments you’d agree with logically, but in a tempting moment, they quickly become unconvincing, invalid, and seemingly not applicable to your situation.
I entered my relationship with Nathan carrying a bunch of these flimsy, weak arguments. Which meant when those tempting moments did come, they flew right out the window. When you’re in a tempting moment, logic doesn’t really matter anymore unfortunately 😂
I knew if I was going to abstain, I needed rock-solid reasons to do so. The ones I’d been given my whole life weren’t convicting enough.
I needed a reason I could cling to when I felt the most tempted – not just reasons that made sense when I had a clear head. And this caused me to do a ton of research.
As I started questioning the long-held beliefs about abstinence I’d been raised with, I started getting really confused. Anytime I asked pastors, friends, or family why abstinence was important, they gave me the same flimsy answers I already knew.
When I read the Bible, I struggled to find any scripture that applied to my situation specifically. Was a missing something? Was I being ignorant to the truth right in front of me? Or did the bible speak about premarital sex at all?
I read countless articles on abstinence, too. Some were Christian, some were secular. I read almost every argument under the sun – why abstinence is practical, healthy, biblical, smart, etc. Nothing made sense to me.
For months, I’d start every day by going on a walk around my neighborhood and talking with God about it, begging him for answers. I told him everything – how I felt, how much I wanted to do the right thing, how confused I was. I literally got down on my knees and begged God for answers. And for a long time, he remained silent.
Nathan and I even fasted. We were in so much turmoil, confusion, and temptation, it was our last resort. But still, we found no reason to abstain that made sense to us.
If you’ve believed in abstinence your whole life, you might be confused as to why I was so confused about it.
To give you an idea, here are 4 reasons abstinence became so difficult for us:
1. When I found the right person, attraction was way stronger
To be blunt, when you’re with the right person, you’re going to think that person is so sexy. And your physical attraction is only going to get stronger as you continue dating.
We’ve also been given a sex drive – it’s the way God designed us, it’s an amazing gift. But man, when you’re with the right person, your sex drive will not want to quiet down LOL😂. That attraction and sexual desire made abstinence so tough for Nathan and I.
It made me wonder: If God designed our bodies were designed to have sex, why deny our bodies what they’re designed to do?
2. It felt like we were already fully committed
It’s very clear in the Bible that God intended for marriage to be between two people (and two people alone) for the rest of their lives. But it’s not as clear about whether it’s okay to have sex with the person you’re going to marry.
Here’s the thing: even though I didn’t know with 100% certainty Nathan and I were getting married, I wanted to get married. And so did he. There was no doubt in our minds, only time between then and our seemingly inevitable wedding day.
So when you believe your boyfriend/girlfriend is “the one,” you’re going to feel like you’re fully committed already. Even if you haven’t done the marriage ceremony, it feels like you’ve already committed, and should thus enjoy the benefits of that commitment (sex).
This makes it super tempting! Because emotionally, you already feel married, even if you aren’t.
It made me ask: If I’m already emotionally committed to Nathan for the rest of my life, why can’t I have sex?
3. When lustful love turns into unconditional love…
Thirdly, temptation became so much more difficult because my love for Nathan grew deeper each day.
At the beginning, it was easy to resist temptation because I knew it came from a place of lust. And lust is very obviously sinful.
But as time went on, I became tempted not because I was lusting after Nathan, but because I loved him so unconditionally and deeply that I wanted to show how much I loved him in the deepest way I could.
My motivation then felt selfless. Which made temptation even more difficult, because it felt like my motivations for wanting to have sex weren’t wrong.
It made me wonder: If I love Nathan unconditionally and my intentions are pure, why is sex before marriage still wrong?
4. It felt unhealthy to abstain
Lastly, abstinence became so difficult because it felt unhealthy for us.
Every time we resisted temptation, it no longer felt like we were denying ourselves (which is much more palatable). It felt like we were denying the other person of love, which is of course a lie from the devil but a convincing one nonetheless.
It felt selfish to withhold sex from the other person. And it felt unhealthy denying each other what our biological bodies wanted.
It made me ask: Would God ask us to do something that’s unhealthy for our bodies?
The Common Trend: Feelings
There’s a common trend throughout these reasons though, and it’s this: they all have to do with feelings. How abstinence made me feel, how unhealthy it felt, how we felt emotionally married, how I felt like I loved him unconditionally, etc.
The enemy loves using our feelings. And this situation was no exception.
In retrospect, I look at all the reasons we were tempted and shake my head. I see right through the lies the enemy was speaking over us at the time.
But I wanted to share these thoughts of mine to give you a taste of just how confused and tempted I felt. I was truly lost. And if you’ve been in a similar tempting situation, you’re probably familiar with these thoughts yourself.
We went through some intense months of temptation and confusion.
Yet here I am, months later, now married and looking back on our turmoil with a new perspective. God has been incredibly faithful to Nathan and I, and it’s by his grace I can stand here today and say we made it – we abstained. But was it worth it?
I’m starting this series on abstinence because in the peak of my temptation, I felt like I had no answers. Every pastor, family member, or friend I asked gave me answers that didn’t make sense or matter to me. I felt like no one could give me a solid reason why Nathan and I should abstain.
It took us months of praying, fasting, and questioning. But God finally gave us an answer that made sense to us. And I want to share the answer he gave us, so hopefully you don’t have to go through as much temptation and turmoil as I did 😂
This series is coming in 4 parts:
In this first blog, I just shared some of the questions and confusion I had about abstinence.
In the second blog, I’ll share all the Christian arguments Nathan and I received that didn’t make sense to us.
In the third blog I’ll share what ultimately convinced us abstinence was the path God wanted us to take.
And in the fourth blog, I’ll share whether our choice to abstain paid off or not – now that we’re married and past that hurdle.
Even though it was a super sucky and tempting few months for Nathan and I, I am so thankful God let us wrestle. I am more convicted than ever before about the issue, and the experience we’ve gained is a priceless gift. I can only hope God uses our experience to empower, encourage, and help others going through the same thing.
Stay tuned for next week – I’ll be sharing all the flimsy arguments for abstinence that didn’t make sense to me!
You are loved and forgiven, friend. Happy Saturday ♥️