Estimated reading time: 7 minutes:)
Okay guys, I’m *slightly* embarrassed to admit this – but I’m officially a fan of The Bachelor
I started watching it while Nathan was at work because our Netflix subscription got cancelled. But I didn’t expect to like it so much. It’s absolute garbage TV, but it’s so fun to watch!
Anyway, I started watching one of the newer seasons this week, the one with Colton. A huge theme of this season is how Colton is the “first virgin bachelor.” Coming from a Christian world, this threw me off at first (I’m not sure if I expected every bachelor to be a virgin?).
A lot of the women on the show made pretty harsh comments about Colton’s virginity. “Why would he choose that?” they asked. “I just don’t understand how such an attractive person could stay a virgin for that long?”
It was almost like they thought abstinence by choice didn’t exist – that only “ugly” people stayed virgins (and not by choice).
This made me suuuper mad at first. But it helped me understand – the claim I’m making, that abstinence is the healthiest and best option for unmarried couples, is downright crazy.
Here are a few secular arguments against abstinence you might recognize:
1. “You have to test drive the car before buying it.”
A lot of people claim you have to make sure the sex is good before committing to a life with someone.
But here’s the truth: if you’ve never had sex before, you will have nothing to compare your spouse to (which is how God intended it).
For example, I have a 2007 Honda Civic. I think my car is absolutely stellar – I love her to death because I’ve never driven any other car. I have no sports cars or fancy $50,000 vehicles to compare her to – I just love her because I love driving.
It’s a silly example, but if you’ve never had sex before, sex with your spouse is going to amazing (whether they’re good at sex or not). Plus, you get better at sex throughout the years. It’s not like if you suck at the beginning you’re doomed for life. No one is amazing their first time. It gets better, and it’s awesome.
This argument also falls flat for me because a relationship is not all about sex. I love Nathan for who he is – I love spending time with him, talking with him, living with him. One day, our bodies are going to change and sex will be different. I didn’t marry Nathan because I wanted to have knockout sex – I married him because I love him.
2. “Sex isn’t a big deal – it’s fun and there aren’t any repercussions.”
Yes, there are.
Of course sex is fun. But it absolutely is a big deal, and there are huge ramifications involved.
In the act of sex, you are fully known by a person, and if that person isn’t committed to love you unconditionally, that’s a scary place to be. Separating from someone you’ve had sex with is like breaking a super glue bond between you and another person – it hurts like hell because that’s not how God designed us.
Plus, sleeping around or even comparing your sex experience with just two people develops a selfish instant gratification mindset that’s obsessed with pleasing yourself over loving the other person unconditionally. It also puts your partner in an unfair position – imagine knowing you were being compared to someone else during one of the most vulnerable moments of your life.
And the harsh reality is that if you’re sleeping around, issues like STD’s and unplanned pregnancies are far bigger problems than if they were encountered in a marriage relationship.
3. “Abstinence = Unhappiness”
A lot of people are afraid that if their sex life in marriage isn’t awesome, they will be unhappy.
Firstly, attaching your happiness to sex alone is dangerous, and no matter how good the sex is you will never be satisfied if you do.
And secondly, choosing abstinence does not mean your sex life will suck once you’re married. Sex is awesome and fun in marriage, and it isn’t ruined by waiting until marriage to start. If anything, it’s even better!
It’s obvious: to most of the world, abstinence isn’t just crazy – it’s unrealistic and nearly impossible. How could something so difficult be worth it?
If you read last week’s blog, you know Nathan and I arrived at the conclusion that abstinence is the best option God designed us for – but did our decision pay off? Was it worth it? Now that we’re married, do we still believe we made the right choice?
The truth is, choosing abstinence is easy. But following through is tough.
While we were dating, Nathan and I held 2 distinct boundaries (other than no sex): 1) no spooning and 2) no making out. I can’t tell you how many times we broke these boundaries 😂 As much as we believed in abstinence, following through was brutal, and to be honest we weren’t very good at it.
By the grace of God, we were able to resist temptation. But it wasn’t a cakewalk. There were a lot of frustrating moments, a lot of temptation, a lot of questioning, and lot of feeling like we were doing the wrong thing even though we knew it was the right choice.
There’s no other way to put it: choosing abstinence before marriage is a sacrifice. It is a denial of yourself and your partner’s desires in pursuit of God’s desires. It’s laying down your flesh for righteousness, which is never a fun or good-feeling decision in the moment.
So was it worth it?
It was the morning after our wedding.
Standing in the kitchen while we made breakfast, I distinctly remember looking at Nathan and having an overwhelming sense of unconditional love wash over me. Something was different now – I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
“I can’t really describe it,” I said. “But this morning I look at you differently than I ever have. I loved you before, but I love you now – I can’t attach any word to it other than agape.”
It’s truly hard to describe, but sex creates such a bond between you and another person it feels like an invisible rope is tethered between you for life. Feeling that bond for the first time, I never felt so convicted before: sex is intended for marriage and marriage alone.
I can confidently say after 3 months into marriage – our decision to abstain was SO worth it. Here’s why:
1. Saving sex for after vows was incredibly precious. There was no guilt, no shame, no confusion about whether we were making the right decision. There was so much intention behind it. If we had given in to a tempting moment while we were dating, our decision to have sex would have been passive. But saving it for a specific moment created such an intentional, meaningful moment.
2. There was no anxiety involved. I wasn’t afraid of showing my whole self or embarrassed for being fully known. Knowing the person you’re giving your entire body to is committed to you for life – it banished all insecurities I had when we were dating. Instead of being fully known by someone who *might* walk out at some point, I felt fully known by someone who’d never leave – and that’s an amazing feeling.
3. Sex consummates one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, which means sex is one of the biggest actions in this life. It’s hard to describe, but when you treat sex with the seriousness God intended, the reward is so much greater. Our sex life hasn’t suffered from our decision to abstain – if anything, it’s so much better. We were forced to try new things together. There was no awkwardness – honestly the “awkward” moments were that much sweeter because we were going through them together. Our sex life is awesome now that we get to learn about one another together, and it’s only getting better.
4. Sex in the secular world is often viewed as a way to feel better – a comfort. But this outlook on sex can get selfish – a “serve me” mentality if you will. God intended sex to strengthen a marriage, a selfless act to love and please the other person. If you enter marriage having had sex before, expecting sex to be all about you, always please you, and satisfy you every time – you’re going to be disappointed. Sex is truly amazing when you’re putting the other person above yourself, and by abstaining you’re already practicing that mindset.
At the end of the day, you will need to make a decision about abstinence for yourself – not because of the benefits that follow but because your deep convictions about the definition and design of marriage. (If you want to see the biggest reason Nathan and I chose to abstain, check out last week’s blog here).
I know I said this series would come in 4 parts – but after talking with Nathan we thought we’d include one more blog: Practical Tips on How to Abstain Successfully.
To be honest, Nathan and I weren’t the best at following through with boundaries, and there were a lot of things we could have done better to make abstinence easier for us. In retrospect, we have a lot of practical tips that can help if you’re in a dating/engaged season yourself.
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In the end, abstinence wasn’t just worth it for Nathan and I – we truly believe it was the most God-honoring option.
2 Timothy 2:22 says “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.“
Pursuing righteousness isn’t always fun or easy. But it’s always worth it. God sees your effort, your struggle, your denial of yourself. He sees your heart and he loves to see his children chasing Him instead of the world.
Thanks for reading! You are loved and cherished:) Have an awesome weekend!