Why God Wants us to Wait Until Marriage for Sex

Sex Before Marriage: Why God wants us to wait until marriage to make love.

“Wait until marriage”. “Don’t have sex before marriage.” If you grew up in the church, you heard those things ad infinitum. At every youth retreat. At every youth group activity. It was drilled into us.

Yet few of us did it. In the surveys I took for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that only about 40% of Christians were virgins on their wedding night. That means that 60% weren’t. And from their responses to the surveys, and from emails I get, it can have profound consequences on your sex life within marriage.

I’ve written before on why people should wait until they’re married, and I don’t want to rehash all of that again today. But I do want to deal with just one aspect of it: what are the repercussions, once you are married, if you had sex before? Now, I’m not trying to make any of you feel guilty (and, in fact, here’s a post on how God wants to deal with any guilt you feel over sex before marriage). It’s just that I know a lot of you are dealing with very specific problems, and I want to try to help you with some suggestions on how to overcome this.

So let’s start with what those problems may be.

1. Sex Before Marriage Has A Different Meaning Than Sex Once You’re Married

Here’s the central issue: sex after marriage and sex before marriage are two very different things. Within marriage, sex is the combination of a spiritual, emotional, and physical union. It’s everything we are, because we’re committed to one another, and it’s expressing the sum total of that commitment. Outside of marriage, though, sex is primarily physical. It isn’t a spiritual union in the same way because there isn’t real commitment present–even if you are engaged. And so sex takes on a flavor that it really wasn’t intended to have.

When you do get married, then, you could still be stuck in that mindset (or your husband could be stuck in that mindset). I received an email recently, for instance, that said,

Before we were married, we had sex a lot. Now, it feels like just the same thing. My husband always wants to rush through it. He feels great, but I never feel like it’s a truly intimate experience the way you talk about in your book.

Very common. The husband rushing through is an issue often even for people who have waited for marriage, so you’re certainly not alone! But it is very common in this situation. You’re married, and you want sex to take on a deeper meaning. You want it to feel sacred. But it’s hard, because that’s not what it was in the beginning.

2. Sex Before Marriage Makes Sex Feel Dirty

The other extremely common problem is that sex feels like it’s somehow wrong. When you have sex before you’re married, you know you’re not really supposed to. And so it’s something forbidden. Then, when you do get married, you feel as if you’re always getting second best. It would be so much better if we had waited. And, if you have any sexual problems or sexual issues, you start to feel like it’s all because you had sex beforehand.  It would be bliss and we wouldn’t have all these problems if we had waited.

Let’s try to unpack that. First, let me assure you that many people who wait until they’re married still have sexual problems (I certainly did). The tendency, when you have problems, is to blame yourself, or your husband. But sometimes it’s far more complicated than just “we had sex before we were married”. So please, take that burden off of you.

But the only way to remove that burden is also to forgive yourself. God does not intend for you to beat yourself up in perpetuity for sin. This being Easter Week, it’s a beautiful reminder that Jesus already paid for what you did. If you keep feeling guilty, it’s as if you’re saying that His death didn’t do a good enough job. Would you really like Him to climb back up on the cross again? Of course not. And so maybe this week God is calling you to really examine what the cross means in your marriage.

It means that no matter what you did before your marriage, if you have accepted Christ, before God you are pure.

It means that you have a new start:

If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And it means that even if you did sleep with your husband before you were married when you were already a Christian, Christ’s blood still covers you. (1 John 1:9). You honestly do have a new start. Take it!

If you can forgive yourself, then ask God to let you see that sex is not something dirty. It may have felt dirty if you did it before the wedding, but it is blessed and sacred now–even if it doesn’t always feel that way. That is an objective truth, not just a subjective one. It is true regardless of your feelings. And if you can tell yourself that truth, then it’s more likely that your feelings will eventually jump on board!

3. Sex Before Marriage Can Make Sex Kinda Lousy

When you have sex before you’re married, chances are it wasn’t a long, drawn out affair. There likely weren’t candles and flowers and lots of romance, the way you may picture your honeymoon or romantic interludes after you’re married. It was likely rather quick.  It wasn’t necessarily something planned; it was something that “just happened”.

But if you both have experienced sex primarily in that way–when it is rushed, and hurried, then it likely became far more for him than it is for you. After all, for women to feel good, we tend to need a lot more time and care. It doesn’t really go well with the whole “getting carried away in the moment” thing.

When that’s how sex starts, though, that tends to become your “routine”. And to him, it works, because he gets his release. To you, it often doesn’t. And so sex feels empty, rushed, and not for you. How do you change that?

That’s a big issue, and so we’re going to tackle that tomorrow. It will be a “How to Push the Reset Button on Your Sex Life”, and I hope you’ll come back and join me!

4. Sex Before Marriage Can Make Married Sex No Longer Exciting

One last problem that many people encounter: sex is no longer exciting. I received an email from a man recently who said this:

Before we were married, my wife (then fiancee) had sex with me all the time. She loved sex! We had a great physical life. Then we got married and it slowly stopped, to the point now where she has completely shut off. I feel as if she sucked me in under false pretences. She was saying, “look how great it’s going to be”, and then she turned into a cold fish. She lied to me!

I understand the man’s comment, but I have to admit that I was a little perturbed. The man was a Christian, and he was saying that all of this was his wife’s fault, because she advertised something to him that she didn’t then follow through with.

However, sin is exciting. The forbidden has an allure. And so before you’re married, sometimes sex is very exciting. Then you get married, and it’s no longer forbidden. And you start to feel guilty for what you did. So you can begin to shut down.

What this man needed to do, I believe, was to honestly see that what they did before marriage was wrong. His wife saw that; he did not. If he could see that he shouldn’t be pining away for something that was wrong, I think they could have made headway in their relationship. It’s very common for people to enjoy sex more before they’re married (the opposite is also common; that’s the weird thing about humans. We don’t all react the same way). But that doesn’t mean that if you’re having a lousy sex life now it would have been better if you had had sex earlier. What it means is that the act of making love first can mess you up later. If you don’t get messed up in the first place, everybody is better off.

Still 30% off at Amazon!

So if you found sex better before you were married, the steps are the same. Understand that you’re forgiven. Understand that God sees you as a new person, and that your relationship now is sacred.

And finally, perhaps it’s time for a reset on your sex life. That’s what we’re going to tackle tomorrow for Wifey Wednesday!

And if you want to dig deeper into this subject, or if you want to see more about what my surveys showed about what happens when you wait vs. you don’t wait, pick up The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex! It’s getting some wonderful reviews at Amazon, and I know that it will enhance your marriage!


  1. Megan G. says:

    I really believe that part of the reason that so many of us had premarital sex even though it was drilled into our heads not to is because no one gave us real reasons why not to (like you are), other than that we’ll get pregnant or an STD. Also, no one ever said to me, “You are going to WANT to have sex. You’re going to fall in love and want to have sex. God made you that way, and you’re normal.” When I fell in love and wanted to have sex, I just sort of thought I must not be the good Christian girl I thought I was…and it was a short road from that train of thought to “Well I might as well.”

    I hope I can teach my kids real reasons why to wait, tell them that God made their bodies to want to have sex and that in itself isn’t dirty or wrong, and give them some constructive ways to make it easier to wait (like never be alone together, etc). I also think, like you’ve talked about other places on here, that my kids won’t date in high school. I think it’s almost cruel for so many Christian parents to allow their kids to date and be in serious relationships in high school, and then not allow them to get married until after college. That’s about 6 or 7 years – what a long time to be in potentially serious relationships and/or progressively physical relationships and NOT have sex.

    I’m rambling. But I love this post. Thanks.

    • Megan, I totally agree with you. I have friends who told their son they wouldn’t bless his marriage until he finished medical school. That’s 8 years of university! And he’d been dating the girl since he was 16. I thought that was crazy.

      • I think it’s a lot harder these days to wait, and part of that is the cultural norm of dating for several years or waiting until education is completed before getting married. If you know you’re meant to be together but have to wait a few more years before you finish school (or even just wait a year to plan a wedding, because it can take that long) it makes it a lot harder. Just my thoughts.

        • So true, Karen! I think parents need to realize that if their kids are mature, and truly love God, they can be ready for marriage at 21 or 22 (or even younger, occasionally). I married at 21 and I was ready. And I’m so glad I married young! Parents who insist their kids wait may be doing a disservice (although many people are definitely NOT ready at 21).

      • Scripture is far more realistic about people’s desires and level of self-control than many Christians. (Imagine that…)

        “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Corinthians 7:9 (NIV)

        If our heavenly Father is telling couples to get married, then why do some earthly parents expect their children to wait so much longer?

        Yes, some people do take this verse the wrong way and marry for the wrong reasons. But the verse is there for a reason! When you’ve found the one you think you want to be with, it’s time to start seriously considering marriage. Instead of insisting the people wait, society would be far better of in helping couples, even young couples be more ready for marriage.

        • I would agree. We married at 21 and 22, and sure we had issues, but I’m glad I married younger.

          I think society would be far better off if we started pushing the marriage age back to historical norms: 20-24.

          Nevertheless, I think the issue is that many people are still considering sex when they ARE too young to get married–say when they’re 14, 15, or even 17. And because of that I do think it’s important to talk about why sex should just be for marriage!

          • Oh yes, those teenagers are way too young to get married! I am not advocating teen marriage at all or getting married before you are ready. I certainly do not approve of getting married to have sex.

            What I am saying is that it’s ridiculous for parents to expect their children to wait until their mid to late 20s as the norm, especially when they’ve found somebody.

      • Oh, and when we married, I was almost 22 and she had just turned 20. We were definitely NOT ready, LOL, but I don’t think anybody is really “ready” to get married until they actually do. There’s adjustment whether you are 22, 32, or 42.

    • Megan, that is such an interesting point, too, about how you felt like you weren’t a Christian because you wanted to have sex. It makes me think twice about how I may be talking to my own kids. Thanks for that!

  2. I agree with Megan – we need to let our kids know that physical desire is NORMAL, but we still have a choice to make. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that temptation = sin. But it doesn’t. Temptation = normal. Acting on temptation = sin. But God always leaves a way for us to walk away from temptation.

    And Sheila, you are 100% correct about feeling like sex is dirty after not waiting for marriage. I had ‘daddy issues’ as a young girl, and sought love with a desperation that was dangerous. I was a promiscuous teen, and with each mistake I felt more and more like the ‘slut’ some people said I was. My husband and I have been together 15 years, married 13 (happily for about 7, but that’s another story). We’re both Christians, and we’ve been faithful to each other. Yet there are certain things I know my husband would greatly enjoy that I am very reluctant to offer him… Because they feel dirty. And I know that the reason they feel dirty is due to my past, and his.

    The thing is, there is nothing dirty about fun, adventurous, creative, love-making within the bounds of marriage. I know this. I believe it with everything in me. And I know that both of our pasts are erased as far as God is concerned. Even with all that knowledge, those bad feelings still creep in and impact our intimacy today.

    I just pray that God gives me the right words to help my children understand this truth, without completely grossing them out, lol! (Really, no kid wants to think about their parents having sex.)
    E. Tyler Rowan recently posted…Lessons from a Women’s RetreatMy Profile

    • Berjiboo says:

      Along with that, I think is the lack of guidance on what is or is not acceptable in a (serious) relationship. Is kissing ok? Making out? Further? I never really got that guidance from my parents and while I kind of ‘knew’ some stuff was out of bounds, there was a lot of grey area and can be rationalized in the heat of the moment.
      Also, just in my very introverted opinion, the advice about not being alone with the guy (who is your best friend and also long term boyfriend) just didn’t work, because being in a group exhausted me and we never would have gotten to know each other very well because I tend to not talk much with a lot of people around. That’s not to say we were never in groups, but at least for me, there was no way I was going to marry a guy if I had never talked with him or been alone with him. : )

      • I think you’re right about the group thing. When I was in university I lived on my own and so did he, so if we were never to be alone, it would mean that we always had to meet in coffee shops, which gets expensive. But we did keep pure simply because we were both committed to it.

      • I agree with Bergiboo on being alone thing.

        I think that staying as far away from the fire is actually better than trying to fan away the heat while sitting near it. It’s easier to get blown off the ledge when sit near it than when you stay further away.

        Now, i don’t meant that two courting people can never be alone together (otherwise they will never get to know the other person!) but it’s good to be wise and smart about it..other than just leave the options open. For me such decisions should really form part of the courtship agreement – like where should we meet? How far in to the evening? what are our physical boundaries? finances e.t.c

        Two people can be committed to stay pure BUT their aspirations must be backed up by a solid plan..including how to do “alone times”..not too secluded.

        My hubby and I did alot of coffee dates, hang out in parks when broke, and and if he came over at my house while my sister was away, we kept the front door wide open (ho hunky punky when you know someone might walking in anytime!).

        Everyone’s situation is different and so is culture. But if we get the principle, the rest are just details that we fill in..with the unchanging principle in mind.
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    • Tyler, great comment! And so true. And I pray that you will keep growing and get beyond this. I’m sure you will, because God does help us to heal and to grow!

  3. I think it’s super important to be more specific when talking with our kiddos… just telling them “don’t do it” doesn’t really pave the way for a healthy sex life once they are married. My husband and I have never had sex with anyone else, but we didn’t wait till we were married. We tried to justify it saying at least we were engaged, but I still felt guilty. That guilt (along with the “don’t do it” without any supportive reasoning) definitely bled into our sex life after marriage. It’s not a good feeling to have… hopefully we can share that with our children and give them a better understanding of why God wants us to wait!!
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  4. GREAT points, Sheila!

    Here are a couple of others I’ve considered. In Ephesians 5, the husband is instructed to “present [his wife] . . . without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Even if the wife participated in sex with her husband willingly prior to marriage, she can still feel cheated that the husband did not lead on this issue and keep her pure. That resentment may linger in her mind and heart, and she may not even be aware that she is carrying those feelings but simply feels less open to sexual intimacy after marriage.

    The second point is that strategy is so important! It isn’t enough to instruct people to wait. If you date someone you are really enamored with, you will most likely want to make love at some point. You must know HOW you are going to get out of the heated moment. Studies have shown that we don’t think clearly when we are highly sexually stimulated, so that is not the time to make the decision of how far you’ll far. You must have the boundaries laid out ahead of time.

    Terrific post!

  5. Thanks for this, Sheila. I’m looking forward to your “reset” article tomorrow. I know things other than the fact we had sex before we got married are affecting our sex life – depression, etc – and at this moment I’m starting to wonder if things will ever change in that regard; but I think also the fact that we had sex before we got married affected the way we view sex now. I’ve changed my views since reading your blog, but he still refuses to have sex with me so it’s not a couple thing yet. I’ve come to the realization that nothing I say or do will change the way things are, but at least I will gain some insight from your article tomorrow. Thanks again.

  6. Sheila, as a mentor to teenage girls and a woman passionate about inspiring moms to engage in the real conversation, I am grateful you’ve address this topic so candidly. You hit on the points I address in a in-depth guide to dating and relationships, and provide a worthy resource for me to share with my girls and through my ministry.

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  7. van Rooinek says:

    Before we were married, my wife (then fiancee) had sex with me all the time. She loved sex! We had a great physical life. Then we got married and it slowly stopped, to the point now where she has completely shut off.

    I have heard this MANY, MANY times from seculars. It’s a total inversion of the divine order, the sex is crazy before marriage and comes to a screeching halt thereafter. There are even jokes about how to get certain types of women to stop having sex: “Marry her!” More seriously, I’ve heard people say that gettting married ruined their relationship. I have a theory as to why.

    The intense burst of sex that happens for the first few months after a couple begins sexual involvment (the so called honeymoon phase), in God’s order, happens during the same first few months that they are getting used to their living-together idosycrasies and letting the “this is for LIFE OMG” realization sink in. In other words, the tough inital adjusment coincides with the sexual reward, and balance is maintained.

    If a couple has already gotten sexually jaded with eah other long before their marriage, they don’t have the counterbalancing reward of the fresh, new sexual experience to outweigh the difficulties of adjusting to married life. Hence, relationships get strained soon after marriage, and sex grinds to a halt. Even if they lived together before, and are used to each other’s annoying way of hanging the toilet paper “wrong”, etc, there’s still a realization of total commitment that sinks in after marriage. (Yes, today divorce is “easy” and common… still, most people, and nearly all men, go into marriage with the idea that it’s SUPPOSED to be permanent.)

    There’s also the possiblity of direct satanic involvment. He might work overtime to spark the sexual life of a couple before marriage and quench it after, becuase he hates marriage and wants to discredit it. A couple that waits til the wedding is protected from this type of manipluation!

    Thus are my thoughts.

    • I don’t think that people who wait until marriage are protected from that manipulation. Obviously not, because even innumerable couples who waited still struggle in their sexual relationship, or they don’t even have a sexual relationship.
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      • van Rooinek says:

        I don’t think that people who wait until marriage are protected from that manipulation

        Not in an absolute/always/every case sense, no. But relatively, yes. If the experience of marital sex is all fresh and new (and there aren’t any physical or psychological problems hindering it), then, yes, the first several months…. really, the first year or so… is likely to be a frenzy of frequent sex. If a couple has walked in disobedience it’s very easy for dark powers to cause — or their own minds to imagine — that the sex was much better before the wedding — but if they saved sex til the wedding… if it’s a fresh new experience…. then they’ve no premarital baseline for comparison.

        FWIW I never went all the way til my wedding night (and in dating my wife, we set much stricter boundaries than we had observed when younger/less religious). So, when I finally married and lost my virignity — at age 38 — yes, there was an intense frenzy of sex in the beginning.

        • There’s an “intense frenzy of sex” in the beginning anyway. My husband and I had sex before we got married, but even after we got married there were still a few years of having sex multiple times per day. The only thing that threw us off was mental illness. We’ve never imagined that it was “better” before we got married.

          I just can’t agree with what you seem to be saying. I’ve read enough first-hand testimonies online to realize that a marital sexual relationship isn’t saved from pitfalls by waiting until marriage, and it isn’t doomed by not waiting. “The rain falls on the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ alike,” for one thing; and for another thing, God is merciful.
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  8. Anonymous says:

    Writing this anonymously, as I’m about to get really personal; I’m a co-habitating Christian, in a relationship with a spiritual-but-not-religious (to call him secular would be slightly unfair) individual. We have a total of 10 (!) previous sexual partners between us. I mention all of that to say that I have a somewhat different perspective on this topic than most people on here.

    And in my mind, there are two different types of pre-marital sex: the kind that disrespects the body and the kind that disrespects marriage. Let me explain.

    In my mind, the kind of sex that disrespects the body is the kind that fewer Christians engage in- the one-off, multiple partner, random hook-up sex that can bring with it the physical baggage of disease, preference, etc. I think that more Christians (and myself) are prone to engage in a pre-marital sex that disrespects the idea of marriage. We develop these relationships with people that we could marry…and then remain in this status of “serious but uncommitted” for too long. And sometimes we stay like this so long that we eventually drift apart and end the relationship. I think that sexual intimacy finds its way into these relationships because they are the good and intimate relationships that could (and maybe should) become marriages. Things happen out of order because society’s orders of school then marriage and the idea that you need to be a certain age before marriage have been overlaid onto the Christian, Biblical idea of marriage.

    My partner and I brought each kind of disrespect into our relationship- I was intimate and in very serious relationships with two other very honorable men that I could have married- but we listened to society and our Christian families tell us that we were too young. While completely in love with my partner, I live with a lot of what-ifs. I also have this idea that marriage, for me, isn’t as big of a deal because I have already committed myself to my partner in a way that the non-religious society finds sufficient. My partner, who was raised completely secularly, treated sex as recreation and nothing more and brought an STD into our relationship. Quite frankly, he brings a lot of shame about the poor choices in his past, and also of bringing a disease into our relationship.

    • In my mind, marriage is more about the commitment before God than anything. The Bible says that when we have sex with someone, we become one flesh. I think if you have commitment before God to a life-long partnership, that is marriage. The government doesn’t define marriage. Legal papers have nothing to do with whether you’re truly married or not. It’s about the relationship, the life-long commitment NO MATTER WHAT, the desire to please God in your marriage, etc. A piece of paper isn’t marriage. A life-long, committed relationship before God – that’s a real marriage. I believe in saying vows, of course, to tell each other face-to-face and before God what you’re committing to, but I don’t believe that government has to sanction marriage in order to make it real.

      Those are my thoughts.
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      • Thank you so much!
        I wanted to say this myself but didn’t find the time yet to respond properly. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that thinks that the legal marriage shouldn’t really breaking point for no sex to sex.
        As a good nice Christian child I’ve been told so many times “don’t have sex before marriage” and it was seldom explained why it should be this way. And when I went to figure it out myself through reading the bible and praying I had to agree that sex indeed is something reserved for a serious, life-long, committed, blessed relationship, but still couldn’t understand why it should be legal marriage that defines this relationship.

        In addition and somewhat unrelated to this point: I also think that sex/intimacy is an important part in relationship that a) shouldn’t be missing, b) shouldn’t be the only thing a relationship is based upon and c) shouldn’t outweight other important parts of a relationship like friendship, spiritual growth, setting of priorities, taking responsibilties. I think that Christians too often focus on sex alone (“sex sells” works with us too 😉 ). I would love Christian sex-ed or however you may call it to include all these other parts of relationship too. I would hate to see the teens in the youth group I’m co-leading to marry for the sex and missing out on friendship etc.

        • Exactly! My guy and I only had “don’t do it!” to go on, no real reasons to wait until we were truly ready for it in our relationship. We didn’t even know what “ready” really meant. We honestly weren’t ready for it, we had only been dating for a few months at that point; but as I said, we didn’t have anything to go on other than the fact that we were told it was “bad.” A few months down the road we had really fallen in love, and simultaneously came to the realization that we were tied together in God’s eyes because we had sex, and so we had a little ceremony where we said our vows. That was our real wedding day. Those vows have kept us together through things that many couples divorce over. As I mentioned earlier, mental illness has done some damage, but I believe in God’s unfailing love and His healing power.

          I’m like you, I wish that there was more sex education in Christian circles. The way things are now, kids are really unprepared. We’re bombarded with messages every day about sex – why not make some of those messages the truth about what a beautiful and sacred expression of love and commitment it is?
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        • I just want to point out the Joseph and Mary situation. They were engaged; and in their day engagement meant a commitment, to the extent that Joseph was contemplating initiating divorce procedures against Mary when he found out she was pregnant. So they were committed. They were going to be with each other for life. But even they did not have sex until they were married.

          I think trying to define marriage in subjective, rather than objective, terms can be dangerous. If you say “well, we feel committed to each other, so we’re in essence married”, then it’s easy to justify a lot of things. But we aren’t told to simply feel committed; we’re told to marry. And in both the Old Testament, and the New Testament, they had marriage ceremonies. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding. Publicly making a vow in front of one’s community was what made a marriage a marriage. It isn’t just between two people; it is a vow that you are making to each other and to others that you will remain in this relationship for life. And the community then vows to support you in that. The Bible very clearly makes distinctions between one’s spouse and between someone who isn’t your spouse. And it’s not “love” that defines that relationship, because two people often did not even know each other before they were married in biblical times. It is the actual commitment and ceremony. So I think the Bible is quite clear on that!

          If you are truly committed for life, then why not just get married? I’m not trying to judge, I just want to make sure that this is mentioned in the comments!

          As for the rest of your point, I do completely agree that friendship and spiritual connection are also vitally important in marriage (and in sex, by the way), which is why a large part of my book is dedicated to those aspects of marriage, too. Sex is not everything, but it is important!

          • “I think trying to define marriage in subjective, rather than objective, terms can be dangerous. If you say “well, we feel committed to each other, so we’re in essence married”, then it’s easy to justify a lot of things. But we aren’t told to simply feel committed; we’re told to marry.”

            See, that is what I absolutely hate about that sex & marriage thing: somehow it is assumed that if you are committed but not married then you’re not really committed and essentially are lying. Maybe that’s something that through my experience clouded my view on this topic. But even then I think it shows a serious problem: we don’t take our young people serious. We don’t take their relationships serious. If we told them “Hey, I believe you, I believe that you are committed. Ask me if you have any problems.” instead of telling ourselves “That’s just a phase.” or something then, I believe, they would be more eager to listen to what we have to say about sex and that stuff. For me I know that the most hurtful thing about my relationship was that my parents gave me the feeling that they didn’t take it serious and didn’t really acknowledge it.

            “And it’s not “love” that defines that relationship, because two people often did not even know each other before they were married in biblical times. It is the actual commitment and ceremony.”

            I never said a relationship is defined by love. Or maybe it is defined by love but love isn’t defined as that rose-red hollywood version with the butterflies in the tummy. Love is the decision to care for your partner, the decision to change your priorities, the decision to go through hard times together, the decision to work on your relationship and grow together, the decision to take responsibilities for others, like kids for example. Love is a decision. A decision everyday new. Yes, most times it starts with “falling in love”. But as you pointed out yourself, you can love eachother even if you haven’t met before you voice your commitment. And I don’t get why “voicing that commitment” must equal “legal marriage”. I don’t get why God should be limited to acknowledging a relationship if and only if a marriage registrar put his sign on a piece of paper.

            “If you are truly committed for life, then why not just get married? I’m not trying to judge, I just want to make sure that this is mentioned in the comments!”

            You’re not trying to judge but you judge unmarried couples everytime you say that they are sinners for having sex, without knowing anything about them?
            Just to answer this for me and my boyfriend: We don’t want to marry until we are able to move in together, since we each study in different towns. For us marrying would just mean telling the registry office that we want to have the tax benefits. And that our kids get our surname. It is just a confirmation of what is already true: that we are indeed committed for life.

            I would love to have our relationship blessed in church before our legal marriage. People get blessed for starting a new ministry, going abroad, starting a new job and other things, why don’t we bless people for starting a relationship? I know couples that got together at 15 and are now married, why don’t we bless the teenagers we see having a serious relationship? I think I have to get this idea to the elders.

            I think I got offtopic here a bit, please excuse if this all sounds a bit confused. I just tried to voice what’s in my head :)

          • Lisa, I don’t think it’s judging to point out that something that the Bible calls a sin is actually a sin. I’m sorry if that offends some people, but the Bible states, in Hebrews 13:4:

            “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

            We don’t like to use the word “fornication” anymore (and I don’t ever use it normally), but it’s simply the English translation of a word that means “having sex outside of marriage”. So that is wrong.

            And what is marriage? It is a commitment that is made in public at a ceremony that is blessed by the community. I’m not saying that the courts need to be involved; I think if the government got out of the marriage business, and left it to churches, I’d still be happy. But biblically, only sexual relations within a marriage are okay.

            That’s just the way it is. I’m not trying to be mean; it’s just very clear. And so, again, if you are committed to each other, that’s wonderful. So get married, and everything will be blessed. And if you can’t get married yet, then God says to wait.

            I can write more about this topic to explain why a public marriage vow is important, but that’s what Scripture says.

          • One other thing: I’m in the middle of doing my taxes (which is never a good day for me, because I hate trying to track down receipts). So I’ve got taxes on my mind. And let’s say that we started getting into a discussion in the comments of whether or not it’s okay for people to cheat on their taxes, and then someone said, “well, you know, if we’re trying to figure that out, it’s worth noting that the 10 Commandments says not to lie, and that Paul writes in Romans that we’re supposed to pay the taxes we owe, and Jesus says to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”

            Now, would that person be being judgmental? Or would they simply be pointing out what Scripture says?

            That person isn’t saying someone is bad, or that God hates them, or that they don’t want to talk to them, or that they shouldn’t be considered a Christian. They’re simply saying that the Bible says you should pay your taxes. Then it’s up to the other person what they want to do with that.

            Sometimes I believe that in church we try so hard not to be judgmental that we become afraid of actually warning people of the dangers that God warns us about in Scripture. And there are serious repercussions to having sex before you’re married. Some of those repercussions will show up in your sex life, as I explained in this post. But others will also show up simply because when we persist in doing something that is wrong, our spirits suffer. It becomes harder to hear God. And it becomes harder for God to work in our lives.

            I don’t want those things for anybody. I want people to really be able to talk to God, and to make a difference for Him in this world. But the only way that can happen is if we take what God says seriously.

            And I also desperately want people’s marriages to be healthy and happy, but again, the only way for that to happen is if we take what God says seriously. And so I try to pray about what to write and to write what I believe God is telling me. I would say that not having sex until you’re married in a public ceremony is a pretty standard interpretation of the Bible’s position on sex, and so I think it’s important to point that out. And when I saw the survey results that I had from 2000 women last year, I can tell you that those who waited until they were married had better sex and a better marriage. And those who did not wait often really regretted it. So I’m just issuing a warning. I’m not judging; I’m warning. They’re two different things. And then it’s just up to people to make their own decisions.

          • I agree with you Sheila. The Bible speaks clearly about us submitting to authority, and if the rules of our country say that getting legally married requires a piece of paper to be signed for us to be married… then that it what it takes to be married and therefore have freedom to be sexually intimate.

            There is another place in the Bible where Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman (John 4). He asks about her husband and she says ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus agrees with her and says, ‘You have had five husbands and the man you are with now is not your husband.’

            That story alone tells me that sleeping together, or cohabiting is NOT marriage in God’s eyes. There is no other way around it.

            And yes, we do become one flesh when we get married because we have had sex with that person. But God also warns us in scripture against being with prostitutes because we will become ‘one’ with them. (1 Cor. 6:16). Oneness is not synonymous with marriage. And it is that ‘oneness’ that wreaks havoc in our marriage when we have not reserved sex for biblical marriage.

            Oneness is beautiful in marriage because it is a deep intimacy that was created to replicate the unity of the Trinity. So when we engage in sex outside of marriage we destroy the beauty of that oneness and it damages the image of Christ and the Church as well.

            I fully believe that complete oneness can be achieved in marriage even if there were sexual encounters outside of marriage – but it needs to be a breaking of those ‘soul ties’ or the connections we have to the other person due to the sexual relationship on a spiritual level.

            Sheila I appreciate that you are so clear on this. It is not judging in the sense that you are pronouncing judgment on particular people or scenarios. But you are clearly stating the facts according to Scripture and I respect that.

            Thank you.
            Carla Anne recently posted…News about Alberta’s Homeschool LawsMy Profile

          • Carla, Thanks for that biblical distinction between oneness and marriage! I’d never thought of the Samaritan woman in that way, but you’re right: it speaks directly against cohabitation = marriage.

            I appreciate that!

          • Anonymous says:

            Same anonymous from the top of this chain; I came back to the thread to clear up something I wrote.

            I don’t equate cohabitation with marriage.

            What I meant by my comment was that, because we are living together, the secular view of our relationship is that we’re “good enough as married”. Because of this I do wonder whether my marriage will feel particularly special or important.

            I’m definitely not saying that this is a good thing.

          • It’s not always as easy as “just get married.” There are often reasons that people legitimately cannot get legally married. Financial reasons, etc. I don’t want to go into all the reasons my husband and I couldn’t sign the papers for awhile; but as I said, it’s not always possible to be legally wed. I don’t think that couples should be punished for being financially incapable of signing legal papers. Back in the days of slavery in the U.S., slaves were prohibited from being legally married, but they still had wives and husbands and secret wedding ceremonies. Just because they were unable to be legally wed didn’t mean they weren’t married.

            Not to mention, at least in the U.S., if you’ve lived together for a certain number of years and you have combined your lives, you’re married by common law. So why not start it off with saying vows, even if you can’t sign any papers right away?
            Jen recently posted…It’s such a perfect day – I’m glad I spent it with you.My Profile

          • Jen, it’s not “legality” that’s the point. It’s not government that makes it a wedding. It’s a public vow in front of your community. So the slaves really were married, because they publicly committed in front of their communities.

            I’m just curious about the cost thing, though. I can understand not having the money for a big ceremony, but what is the cost of getting married really? If you just had a small ceremony? I know friends of mine who have done so for several hundred dollars, and that included the licence and the dress and some food for a barbecue.

            So I guess I just don’t understand how marriage is prohibitive in cost, but living together is not, you know? But even if it does cost more, sometimes doing the right thing does cost more. But it’s still the right thing.

            That isn’t to say that anybody who is currently married, who started off living together, is under curse by God or anything like that. Not at all. I truly believe that God blesses marriage, and when we come before Him and ask to start fresh, He rejoices about that. But I don’t want to give those who aren’t yet married the idea that living together before you’re married is a good idea, or is acceptable according to Scripture, because I just don’t see it in the Bible. And I think that’s important to say.

          • It’s not the cost of a wedding that was the issue – it was the cost of my health care. I couldn’t get private insurance because of a pre-existing condition (I did try, but was turned down), and to stay under my parent’s insurance I couldn’t be legally married. I wound up eventually losing my health insurance anyway, of course, but I was at least able to keep it through a couple of surgeries and emergency room visits, as well as a hospital stay and a few partial-hospitalization programs, that I had. If I had legally gotten married and gone through all of that stuff without health insurance, I don’t even want to think about the kind of debt we would be in right now.

            I agree that a ceremony of some sort is necessary. Saying vows to one another is so important.
            Jen recently posted…It’s such a perfect day – I’m glad I spent it with you.My Profile

    • van Rooinek says:

      I was intimate and in very serious relationships with two other very honorable men that I could have married- but we listened to society and our Christian families tell us that we were too young

      Argh…. As a frustrated virgin-til-38, high testosterone male, I HATE this modern idea of delaying marriage. I was game to marry at 19 but none of the women of my generation had that mindset. Gone are the days when a couple would marry with nothing but love, and build a life together. Now, women — even Christian women — are such extreme hypergamists that they DEMAND that a man be $ucce$$ful before they’ll even talk to him. Most men don’t make that much money til past 30, so in practice, young marriage just isn’t availble for the man who wants it. At least not in California. But, the atlernative isn’t usually celibacy….

      I expect seculars to say, settle down and marry at 30+. They are operating on a presumption that you’ll spend your 20s “having fun”… not agonizing in celibacy. But drives me batty when Christians say that. When I tell them I want my sons married before 20 (ITLW), they are aghast, and say, “TOO YOUNG!”… almost without exception. To which I answer… “You cannot simultaneously tell kids,don’t have sex til marriage — and, don’t get married til you’re over 30! Most won’t even try to wait; of those who try, many will break down; and [pointing to myself] the few who succeed, will be severely psychologically damaged by it!” Always the answer then is, “Oh yeah, I see your point”, LOL

      But it bothers me that none of them have figured this out before. Few if any of them married young. Most of them followed the standard late 20th/early 21st century middle-class lifescript — high school, college, maybe a postgrad degree, then go build a career…. and THEN settle down and marry. This path is fine if you are a fornicator but pure misery if you’re saving yourself, or trying to. Did NONE of these people wait? Do they expect their kids to wait when they didn’t/couldn’t? Or did the problem never cross their minds til I brought it up?

      The right time to marry is when you find the right person — and not a moment later. If you’re only 16, God bless you.

  9. a good ROI says:

    “I understand the man’s comment, but I have to admit that I was a little perturbed. The man was a Christian, and he was saying that all of this was his wife’s fault, because she advertised something to him that she didn’t then follow through with.”

    And what would you say to the man who did not have sex with his wife, who DID wait until his wedding day with her and even then the frequency drops to weekly then monthly?

    Yeah, I feel as if I was tricked… because before we were married she would try to get me to have sex with her 5-7 times a week. I thought, “This is good, she is interested in sex. She likes sex! This will be great when we are married!” I let her know with a lot of love and kindness why I wanted to wait. Her initiations dropped a little bit, before we were married, but she was still trying to get me to have sex. And not just sex, but she was physically affectionate, which was and is very important to me. She was constantly touching me lovingly (not just sexually), massaging my back, etc.

    I wish I could have seen the red flags or were even aware that there were red flags to be seen.
    Because no I am stuck in a marriage with very very little physical contact and very very little sex. And it gets very difficult to stay faithful when there are women out there who have no compunction in flirting with a married man or touching them, just normal touches, like on the arm or the hand. But when you are not getting any of that at home, it is like an electrical shock to my system.

    • That is a different situation, because in what you’re describing, you were attempting to remain pure, while your wife was not. So that is different. In the email that I used, it was quite clear that the guy was the instigator before they were married, and now he was angry at his wife, yet they were both involved in sin.

      Research is also very clear that one’s sex life before marriage and after marriage are often very different, and the parties themselves have no clue that this will be the case. The dynamics change, and you can’t really know that until after the wedding. So I don’t think your wife duped you; I think things changed.

      Have you ever shown her the post that I wrote specifically for men to give to their wives, to explain why they’re unhappy with their sex lives? I wonder if it would help start the conversation. It’s right here, if you think it would help.

      • van Rooinek says:

        Research is also very clear that one’s sex life before marriage and after marriage are often very different

        Can you elaborate? Or have you already done so in a previous post that you can refer folks to?

        Because, as I mentioned above, I’ve heard that assertion anecdotally more times than I can count. It would be nice to see hard research verifying it…and explaining why.

      • A good ROI says:

        “So I don’t think your wife duped you; I think things changed.”

        *sigh* I have noticed this in your past postings, it is never the woman’s fault.

        “Things just change…”

        Wow. So I guess I could say that things changed for me too after we were married and I no longer had a desire to work and earn a living and provide financially for my family. If I used the same reasoning you do then that would be totally valid. Because, you know… things just change.

        But I don’t, because I take responsibility for my actions and behavior. Even if I did lose all desire to work I would still do it because it is part of my job as a husband.

        “Have you ever shown her the post that I wrote specifically for men to give to their wives, to explain why they’re unhappy with their sex lives?”

        No, I had not seen that post. Thank you. I would love to show it to her. But seeing as my wife is not interested in reading things I share (which I don’t do very often) and normally just responds that I am just showing her articles to prove that I am right and if she wanted to she could find articles that prove she is right, I doubt she would read it. But I will bookmark it and keep it handy in case she ever appears to open up.

        No, sadly / unfortunately, I have basically given up in trying to create physical intimacy. Yes, I still hug her and hold her hand and kiss her, which she is very interested in doing in public or at church, which makes me question her since she will snuggle in to me or put her arm around me. But she does not do that when we are alone… I assume because she believes it may just lead to sex.

        A guy can only continue to open himself to rejection so many time before it wears away at who he is as a man.

        • Your situation is definitely difficult… no doubt about it. I’m really quite sad for you. And for your wife. I can’t help but think, though, that spending a good solid chunk of time (I’m thinking months, not minutes) praying and fasting for your wife. Perhaps there are real struggles in her heart that she is just not ready to deal with that even you – perhaps even she – has no idea of the scope of.

          I know in my marriage, I’ve been at my wit’s end so many times – in just about every area. I find that when I spend more time in prayer – asking God to give me specific verses to pray, specific ways to pray, special things to do for my spouse and then doing that praying and those things – for months, I often see a breakthrough. Sometimes the breakthrough comes slowly, bit by bit, but sometimes it seems fast. The last time I did this I fasted and prayed every lunch hour for months, the fasting then ended but the lunch time praying continued for over one year. Then things exploded and got really, really bad. But I kept praying at lunch time. Now… I’m reaping the fruit of that. It wasn’t over night, but it was real, genuine change.

          When it seems like there is no ‘answer’ I think it shows us how we often overlook the fact that because sex is God’s gift to us, Satan wants to destroy it… and he doesn’t need a reason… and the only way to win back the beauty is not to fight with your wife but to go to battle for her and the Gift of Sex God gave you by battling in the heavenlies. For we battle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities!
          Carla Anne recently posted…Is Religion Man-Made?My Profile

          • a good ROI says:

            Thank you so much for the encouragement.

            Although sometimes I start to feel a bit jaded when I hear “pray more”. Could I pray more, sure I could, we all could. But sometimes I wonder if this, our lack of physical relationship, is just my consequence for the choice that I made when I decided to marry my wife. I say that because I was not where I should have been spiritually when I was dating my wife and then when we decided to get married. Yes, I was a Christian but I was not making Christ a priority in my life. I wonder sometimes if I had been if I would have seen my wife differently and we would have not gotten married. Or if we could have dealt with some issues before we got married. Not just related to physical but expectations about marriage as a whole.I don’t know if that would have made difference or not. But I know that my (our) choice to marry has caused a lot of problems for both of us. I sometimes wonder how things would have worked out if we had not.

            When I got married I was looking forward to being with my best friend and growing closer together as we got older but it appears we are more roommates that just argue a lot.

          • I’ve been thinking about your comment since you posted it. And the more I think about it the more I decided I needed to comment.

            It’s true that perhaps you could have made better or different choices. And it is possible that there are consequences for our actions many times. But I’m actually not really sure that you are blaming the right things. I have personal friends who have been in arranged marriages, and early on they really didn’t like each other at all, but who now have great marriages – some of them are not Christians. Some are. I know of people, close friends, who were passionately in love and who now are divorced. I have one friend who knew for sure and for certain that God said no to her marrying her husband but even as she walked down the aisle she walked in rebellion. But she’s been married more than 30 years… much of it rough… but now happily married to the same guy.

            The truth is, trouble in marriage isn’t actually because of your past alone, or even your disobedience then. The Bible says that even virgin Christian men and women who marry “will have many troubles”. So in a sense I’d like to encourage you and tell you… wow!! you have a biblical marriage!!

            Not that it’s very encouraging… but to know that it is not as much about you personally and what you did or didn’t do right as it is the simple fact that you are married. Trouble comes to married people because they are … married.

            I firmly believe that marriage is a human picture of the Trinity – man, wife, God being a picture of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. It only makes sense to me that Satan would want to destroy that image and so he attacks marriage, turns us against each other and then he can sit back and relax because we get so good at blaming and pointing fingers, either at our spouse or at ourselves.

            And for that reason alone… and the fact that there is not a single place in scripture that gives Christians – or anyone – a promise of happiness or a happy marriage, I believe God calls us to holiness. And marriage is the best place to do that. Because that’s where the trouble is… and where the most rough edges are revealed. In my life the most hurt has happened in marriage, but so has the most growth and the most healing.

            Be encouraged. I still do think that the answer lies in searching God’s answer, His path through to holiness via marriage.
            Carla Anne recently posted…I’m Traveling – Ontario Tour ScheduleMy Profile

          • Very well said, Carla.

        • anonymous says:

          a good ROI says,

          This is coming from a woman. But you need to institute some boundaries. You do have a say in the fact that your wife is unwilling to participate in your marriage. And I don’t mean just not having sex; I mean how she won’t even honestly enter discussions with you to resolve this problem or take seriously that it is a problem for you and try to work out whatever the issues are. I

          don’t think divorce is allowed in a marriage, nor infidelity, so yes, you must turn to God for strength and peace to endure a difficult situation. But you can also implement boundaries. See the book Boundaries by I think Henry Cloud.

          I would have her move out, and yes, have her, not you. I start with a good Christian counselor to wisely walk me through the situation. Go to my pastor and church leaders, but she needs to come home to the locks changed and you need to in sincere love and kindness and tenderness let her know that you are committed to your marriage and that you either love her but that she must be willing to participate in the marriage and that until she needs to have her separate space until she is willing to commit and invest in this marriage. Again, I an not talking about sex since there may be some underlying issues, I am speaking to her cold harsh attitude that she won’t even talk about it or work through it with her husband.

          I don’t think you need to just accept that anymore than I would tell a women just to stay living with a man who did nothing but emotionally abuse her, or have an affair.

  10. I spent a lot of time regretting my past (I was rather promiscuous) and have wondered if my sex life is suffering because of it. My husband was saved 2 years ago and had more sexual partners outside of marriage than I had. It is hard not to believe that that is why we have sex maybe once a month. I’m to a point where it doesn’t really bother me anymore…I’m in pre-menopause and my sex drive has diminished significantly. I don’t really know what to think of it. I guess no one is really suffering.

    I greatly respect your writings, Sheila, but sometimes I wonder if you’re saying it’s abnormal or wrong for a couple to not have sex frequently. (And by frequently I mean more than once a month or so).
    Sharon recently posted…Scabbed overMy Profile

    • Sharon, I think that’s a subject that requires a post of its own! Perhaps I’ll have to try to write one.

      But yes, I do think that God intended sex to be a beautiful gift that keeps us intimate and connected, and that it is intended to be frequent and regular. If both spouses really aren’t interested, then it’s not a make it or break it issue in marriage. But I do think that you’re missing out on something special: just because sex is one of the vehicles which knits us together the most and which makes us feel the closest to each other. If it’s not doing that for you, then that’s really too bad.

      So does this mean that your marriage is in danger, or that you’re doing something wrong? No, I wouldn’t say that, as long as both parties really aren’t interested (and that would be rare). But at the same time, I wouldn’t want to settle for mediocre. I’d want something great. And God intended sex to be something great in marriage.

      So I guess what I’d challenge you to do together is to jump on board, as if it’s a research project, and try to make it great, because it really can be.

  11. Anonymous Man says:

    I consider first sex as when man and woman are united as one flesh, married so to speak. The wedding ceremony is the public display of this union. Much like Christianity is confirmed when the holy spirit comes on the heart and made public through baptism, I feel marital union occurs when one flesh occurs with first sex, and is made public at the wedding ceremony. I think we are making it harder on our kids by not teaching them that intercourse is what unites them in one flesh in Gods eyes. Sexual immorality occurs when you’ve had sex with a second partner, or if you do not intend to remain committed and marry your first partner. We shouldn’t let semantics or the judgment of others make something sinful that is beautiful in Gods eyes. I believe sex between a man and a woman united in a one flesh relationship, committed to each other for life, even before the “public display” that occurs at the wedding ceremony is beautiful in Gods eyes.

    • I’m curious, then, what you would do with all the Bible verses which talk about “fornication” (which literally means sex before you are married). You’re saying that God doesn’t mind this, as long as you feel committed. Yet throughout Scripture we’re told that we should not rely on feelings or our hearts to make decisions for us, but must make those things concrete. I agree that sex is a vitally important part of marriage, but sex is NOT marriage, as Carla commented so well.

      God speaks so much about weddings and about marriage; to say that these aren’t really important, I think, is to deny what the Bible teaches about sex. And, incidentally, in the surveys that I did, the women who had sex with their now-husbands (and only those husbands) before they were married had a worse sex life than the women who waited until marriage. It’s not just multiple partners that are the problem; it’s not listening to God’s design for sex and marriage.

      If we make a rule “as long as you remain committed to your first sexual partner, that’s what matters to God”, rather than a wedding, then aren’t you giving kids license to let their feelings get away from them, and justify pre-marital sex by saying, “well, we think we’re getting married.” Every 16-year-old that I have ever known who is dating believes that they are going to marry their then-boyfriend. I certainly did when I was 16, and again when I was 18. But I didn’t marry those boys.

      It isn’t about a feeling; it’s about a vow. And that is what the Bible does hold up as what is righteous before God.

      Again, this isn’t to make anyone who did not wait until marriage feel badly. God redeems the past, and does bless marriage. But I wouldn’t want to counsel those who aren’t married yet that it’s okay to have sex as long as they are committed and believe they’re going to marry the person, because that is not what the Bible says.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where are you getting your definition for fornication? I’ve always heard that it means something more like the sex of prostitutes, or having sex in the way of a prostitute.

        • No, the actual definition of fornication is “any sex that is outside of marriage”. It’s used in varying ways in Scriptures, sometimes referring to orgies or prostitutes or some such, but that is the actual definition. So it encompasses sex with prostitutes, but it also encompasses just simply sex before you’re married.

          • That’s the ENGLISH definition, but the original word was used to refer to prostitution (especially in connection with idolatry). It’s not a total mistranslation, but it’s a bit misleading, which is why newer translations don’t use it. While I still think promiscuity is wrong even if money is not involved, I think this translation has given many Christians the idea that a legal contract somehow is the only thing that makes sex okay, which doesn’t really have a Biblical foundation. You sound like an intelligent, kind lady and from what I’ve read I respect your work. However, please consider just this one point, and don’t take my word for it, I suggest you do your own research like I did. Thanks for your time.

  12. Hi Sheila,

    This topic really helped me as I am going thru something similar with my girlfriend. We are both Christians and we met a year ago, and a month later we started having sex. Since I was living in a different city (I moved to her city a few months ago), we would see each-other once a month and every time we saw each-other we would have sex. Every time we got intimate, it was very special and we felt closer to each other. We would talk after the act about the experience and stuff and that felt great. To me it was just more than an encounter and she felt the same. A few months after we started getting intimate with each other, she shared with me the thought that she wanted to stop having sex and wait till we get married. I then learned that she was previously engaged to get married and had told her ex the same thing. As we got to know each-other, I learned of her past life. I asked once with how many guys she had slept before and her answer was 10. She is 34 now… I also learned that half of those 10 guys were not even her boyfriends…she called them “friends with benefits” which really shocked me to say the least. I believe God can change people’s perspective about a subject in their lives. Maybe she felt that having sex before was not as fulfilling cause it was outside marriage. She did mentioned to me once, that her dad being a Pastor at a local church, kept him away from the house a lot and she resented that a lot…maybe this period was just a rebellious one for her cause of the broken relationship with her father? She tells me she wants to honor God as this is the sole reason why she wants to wait now. I agreed with this but can get out of my mind, why she was so promiscuous before and now she wants to be so conservative. Also, it seems that she does not view “oral sex” in a wrong way as this is a practice we still do. This leaves me to think…wow she probably had this mind set before and who knows with how many guys she did this with. I really love this woman. She is everything I ever wanted in a person and I feel she would make a great wife as she is very talented, supportive and we have a lot of similarities almost to the point of finishing each-other sentences, but I can’t seem to get passed her past… I keep thinking about “the number” all the time and it is really bothering me a lot. I NEED HELP FAST!! Because this has affected the way I conduct myself in our relationship. Let me just point out, that I had been married before for 11 years (together for 18 years) and I was my previous wife’s first!! So, I don’t know if I am super prejudice because of that. Now that I live in her city, it has been super difficult because of the habit we created. She obviously has a stronger will power then me. How can I get that will power as well? I want to honor God as well and that should be my most motivation but I feel like I need something else…

    Hope I can get some sound advice and thanks for taking the time in advance to read my post!!


  13. Anthony Petini says:

    Oh Sheila, I need your help.

    This post was amazing, helped me out on so many levels on how me and my wife were. Here is the problem, we were young and stupid and had sex before marriage but that is not the hard part. The issue is that before I was dating my wife, there was this one girl I dated and did have sex with her. When I started dating my wife I told her I never had sex with anyone else, never really thought about why I told her that, I just didn’t want to hurt her feelings. This issue grew the closer we got because I just didn’t want to hurt her. Now we are having sex about 5 months into the relationship and I told myself I REALLY can’t tell her now, women get connected and attached with sex. Now that we are married, I sometimes feel like I should tell her although it never really comes up. Every once in awhile she will say something like “you know you never touched anything else”. just being quirky or funny. I know God forgave me and all these lies and sins are completely washed away, but should I tell her? If so, how? She will most likely be devastated and I don’t know if our sex life will be the same post-confession. I just want to know what to do because I have no idea. I hope you are still checking these replies because I don’t know what else to do. Thanks so much!

  14. Guy above me, tell your wife. I know I’m not Shelia but there is something so freeing about confession. Our scriptures even tell us this. Listen, she will be mad, and things may change a little at first. But she love you and will forgive you. Allow her to do that. You also have to forgive yourself as well. Don’t let this thing eat at you. Come clean. Apologize and really mean it, and then you both can start the process of healing. All the best.

  15. I’m very curious about your last replies to confess because secrets eat up a marriage and get in the way of intimacy.

    My wife and I had dated for a year when she told me that she had fooled around with 3 high school boyfriends, including the last one, with whom she had intercourse (starting early in their 6 month relationship). We avoided a lot of premarital physical contact, so much that it felt like an over-reaction to her past (I was a virgin until our wedding day). That’s not to say that our first kiss wasn’t memorable and sweet, but I’ve consistently found it difficult not to wonder/compare to what she experienced before me. We’ve been married for almost 17 years (together for 19).
    For a long time, I kept resentments and bitterness bottled up, and stewed about this quite a bit (I remember one drive in our van where I’m sure I stewed about it for about 7 hours out of the 8 hour trip). This was about 2 years ago, and I decided to try to change things. I started keeping a journal of what I was thinking and feeling. I had also shortly before this confessed to my wife that I didn’t think that there had been a single time that we’d had sex where I wasn’t also thinking about her fornication with her boyfriend. She was quite upset by this, but didn’t express it to me for a long time (which is the most concerning this for me – she doesn’t initiate any conversations about these things that might help us work through things). I often think that she’s got emotions bottled up/repressed that she won’t trust me with. She’s given me mixed messages about me bringing these things up – she usually gets upset when I start one of these conversations, but she has also thanked me for working to address things and help us get through them. About a year ago she planned a weekend getaway, during which she gave me a typed letter apologizing for her fornication. As well-intentioned as it was, it strikes me that she won’t trust me/herself/us enough to say this in person and experience whatever emotions come of doing that. I’m beginning to close in on myself again, because she gets upset when I bring things up, but I don’t think that this is the right solution for us – it just doesn’t feel right for me to always be the one initiating these things.
    I definitely should mention that I’ve asked her on numerous occasions to tell me the details of these relationships, which she is very opposed to (partially because it would cause her to think about them again, which she says she’s been able to repress for a long time now). I feel like some of her/our emotions are buried in these past experiences, and I want us to experience greater intimacy. I’ve told her that I want to know her (more) fully, and feel called to do so biblically, but I also don’t feel right doing anything to pressure her to share more of this with me. At the same time, I can’t see how to get to greater intimacy with her, because of these unresolved issues.
    I also should confess that I’ve indulged in pornography at different times. It’s not really been a consistent thing for me, and I’ve always known it was wrong (at least on some levels). It’s a real temptation for men, because it really is extremely available, and not too hard to hide – although she did discover me viewing it once. Generally, it hasn’t been an issue of late.
    Our sex life is pretty regular. We’re Catholic, and use NFP (when we’re trying to plan/avoid pregnancies). The last year we’ve been avoiding pregnancy, and it’s meant that we go without sex for about 20 days straight, but then we also get to have sex daily for the other 10 (it can get a little hilarious at the end of the 10 days, where we are both actually a little exhausted and need a break for awhile). It usually feels like a monthly honeymoon for us, and the 20 days are not overly burdensome (at least not to me).
    I am deeply curious what your advice would be to me/us/her about how to deal (primarily) with her past. She repented before we met, and lived a chaste life for 5 years before we got together. Rationally, I know exactly who she is and have never really doubted her commitment to Christ and since we’re married, to me. Emotionally, it’s still a bit of a roller-coaster for me – I have days where things are out of control emotionally (which usually causes me to withdraw and go somewhere quietly), and more normal days. Having said that, I generally feel more at peace (and less bitter and angry, even towards other people sometimes) since I’ve attempted to address things directly.

    • Shane,

      I totally understand feeling hurt about what your wife did before you married her. And I totally understand being jealous and wanting to know what she experienced with that guy.

      That being said, I think you need to put it behind you. I’m not sure what you would be gaining by her spelling out details. She has put it behind her, and Jesus has already paid for it. To God, it is gone. It is buried in the depths of the sea, the Bible says. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sin from us.

      So if it is gone to God, then I think it has to be gone to you. You knew this going into marriage, and to keep holding onto it is not fair to her. I wrote an article about how to put it behind you that you may find helpful here. It was directed at women, but you could just read it and flip the roles.

      What is keeping you from experiencing real intimacy? The fact that you’re both letting this stay between you. Look, God wants you to have an awesome, intimate, and abundant marriage. But you won’t be able to have that until you willingly decide to put it behind you and live in the present, recognizing what Jesus has already done for you.

      I know that’s difficult, and I’m not trying to minimize it. But she cannot take back the past, and talking about it and giving you lots of details may just cause you to stew some more. You committed to her knowing about her past; that means you must also commit to putting it behind you.

      I hope that article helps!

      God bless,

      • Thank you for the advice. I will certainly consider it and pray about it. I’ll be honest that I’m a little leery because my approach for about 15 years was to try to stuff it down and repress it, and it’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve felt anger and bitterness leave me as I try to face it directly. Sometimes it’s been slow, but I’ve definitely felt more progress in the past couple years than the first 15 in terms of moving forward together. Prior to facing things, I’d kind of resigned myself to feeling distant from my wife and just hoping that somehow, someday, we’d become close. I feel a little more in control of us making progress. However, it’s disconcerting that despite the progress that we’ve made (I’m pretty sure that she’d say that we’ve made progress recently as well), that it still seems like it’s all dependent on my initiative. I do want to respect her (apparent) desire not to have to face this all the time, I’m just also afraid that it may lead me to quietly stewing.
        The side of it all that I find myself most focused on recently is how to connect emotionally. I feel like she’s held back in some specific ways towards me (I don’t notice it nearly as much with our children), starting right from our dating days. To be honest, I’d have to admit that to some extent I saw her as emotionally-damaged (not fully, but definitely with her guard up) or at least a bit aloof when we were dating – when she told me her past, it made sense to me. By then, I was already in love with her and knew that if I couldn’t accept her, despite her past, that it would be a deep failure on my part. Her fully opening up to me (as represented to me by fully disclosing her past – in actuality, she has told me a fair bit already – maybe the problem is that she’s already told me too much, and I don’t feel like I can stop now?) feels largely like a trust issue. I find myself wondering why she would want to be with me if she doesn’t feel like she can fully open up to me, including emotionally. I should also say that I’m not just focused on the physical actions she shared with him/them – I also want to know how she felt (at the time) about what she was doing, how she talked about her experiences with her friends (who encouraged her), even what some of her thoughts were at the time (definitely prone to obsessiveness!).
        As I said, I’ll give it some serious thought and prayer. God bless you and your work in here – it helps a bit just to ‘talk’ it out.

  16. Hi Sheila,

    This topic really helped me as I am going thru something similar with my girlfriend. We are both Christians and we met a year ago, and a month later we started having sex. Since I was living in a different city (I moved to her city a few months ago), we would see each-other once a month and every time we saw each-other we would have sex. Every time we got intimate, it was very special and we felt closer to each other. We would talk after the act about the experience and stuff and that felt great. To me it was just more than an encounter and she felt the same. A few months after we started getting intimate with each other, she shared with me the thought that she wanted to stop having sex and wait till we get married. I then learned that she was previously engaged to get married and had told her ex the same thing. As we got to know each-other, I learned of her past life. I asked once with how many guys she had slept before and her answer was 10. She is 34 now… I also learned that half of those 10 guys were not even her boyfriends…she called them “friends with benefits” which really shocked me to say the least. I believe God can change people’s perspective about a subject in their lives. Maybe she felt that having sex before was not as fulfilling cause it was outside marriage. She did mentioned to me once, that her dad being a Pastor at a local church, kept him away from the house a lot and she resented that a lot…maybe this period was just a rebellious one for her cause of the broken relationship with her father? She tells me she wants to honor God as this is the sole reason why she wants to wait now. I agreed with this but can get out of my mind, why she was so promiscuous before and now she wants to be so conservative. Also, it seems that she does not view “oral sex” in a wrong way as this is a practice we still do. This leaves me to think…wow she probably had this mind set before and who knows with how many guys she did this with. I really love this woman. She is everything I ever wanted in a person and I feel she would make a great wife as she is very talented, supportive and we have a lot of similarities almost to the point of finishing each-other sentences, but I can’t seem to get passed her past… I keep thinking about “the number” all the time and it is really bothering me a lot. I NEED HELP FAST!! Because this has affected the way I conduct myself in our relationship. Let me just point out, that I had been married before for 11 years (together for 18 years) and I was my previous wife’s first!! So, I don’t know if I am super prejudice because of that. Now that I live in her city, it has been super difficult because of the habit we created. She obviously has a stronger will power then me. How can I get that will power as well? I want to honor God as well and that should be my most motivation but I feel like I need something else…

    Hope I can get some sound advice and thanks for taking the time in advance to read my post!!


    • Irving, that’s a tough one. A few thoughts, in no particular order:

      1. Waiting for marriage is not about being legalistic; it’s about building a God-honouring relationship in every way. So to say, “we’re not going to have intercourse, but we are going to have oral sex” isn’t right. We are not to know each other intimately before marriage; God says this not to be mean, but because we really need to get to know each other properly and make a good decision. And we need our future marriages to be stronger. He’s really just looking out for your benefits.

      So on this one, I wouldn’t just go along with her; I would go that extra step and say, “we need to stop the sexual contact and just concentrate on our relationship.”

      2. It sounds like you both have a lot of outstanding issues, and rushing into marriage likely isn’t wise. What’s happened now is that this insistence of your fiancee has opened up some questions, and those questions really need to be explored BEFORE you marry, because if you wait until afterwards, it could eat into your marriage.

      You both would likely benefit from sitting down with a counselor and going over how you feel about her past sexual history. You should do this because if you marry her, you MUST agree to put it behind you. She should do this because it does sound as if she’s had some issues about using sex to gain affection, and that could signal some unhealthy patterns that do need to be dealt with.

      3. Work on your spiritual side. So much healing can come in a relationship, and so much more intimacy, if you concentrate on the spiritual, not the sexual, side of your relationship. It sounds as if you both want to follow God, but you aren’t doing that in your relationship together. If you want your marriage to work well, you really need to feel spiritually intimate. So try praying together. Read a Psalm together. Talk about God. Serve together in church. Put your energy elsewhere–rather than into your sexual relationship, into serving together.

      Too often sex becomes the thing that we do together, and then we don’t know if we really have that much else in common. If you can start to serve together and get to know each other spiritually, you may just find that you feel closer, even without the sex. And that’s far healthier.

      I hope that helps!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am 16 years old and a Christian girl. My whole family is Christian and we all believe in sex after marriage. My sister is 21 years old and she has a boyfriend who she has been dating for 3 years now (on-off). She is lucky because he was a bad boy and she was the good girl who managed to change him (slightly). I say that she is lucky because she too does not believe in premarital sex and her boyfriend i think respects that.
    I understand that being young, my point doesn’t really matter as much, but to be honest with you i am very scared of the future. I am afraid that i won’t find a boy/guy/man who will respect me in the same way. I am scared that they will try to use me but i know that i will never give in because my faith is too strong. I am very excited to get married and have children but is it too much to ask to wait for that ‘Prince Charming’? Will he ever come?
    These posts above, my family and faith have given me strength and so has one TV show in particular; One Tree Hill – Nathan and Haley. She was a girl who wanted to wait until she was married and she did. But that is TV, can it be my reality? Will I find a guy (later) who will respect me or even have the same views as me in this society? I am writing this because many people in my school year have had sex, some even at 14, and these are all girls. I am proud to be a virgin and proud that i want to wait until marriage, but some girls are telling me that i have no chance or that i will never find my so-called ‘soulmate’. The idea that i may not find someone scares me. However i know that i have a great family and that i can rely on and pray to God for guidance.

    • Don’t give up hope and don’t lower your standards. As stereotyped as they were/are, the old views are still true: guys may want to ‘play around’ with girls when they’re young, but they want to marry girls who demand respect. I do hope that you’re able to find a guy who has always lived the same values as you, but you may be one of those people who finds someone who hasn’t always lived that way, but who has made a sincere effort to do so after a conversion. I was a virgin until marriage and married a woman who wasn’t always chaste, but then started following Christ in her grade 12 year. It does hurt, and would absolutely feel better if she had waited for me. However, she showed a sincere commitment to Christ and to chastity for 5 years before we got together, so I couldn’t seriously doubt her repentance. If we truly believe in Christ’s redemption, there must be place for these people too in our world (although that doesn’t mean that you must marry one).
      A lot of young people don’t think as far ahead as you obviously are, and recognize that the sexual connections they make now will stay with them and haunt them/their future spouse. They will stay with them because sex is designed to do that – it bonds us to whomever we share it with. Sometimes when a person has relations with lots of people, this bonding stops working as effectively, which is probably an even sadder state of affairs. You could challenge your peers to protect not only their virtue, but also that of their boyfriends/girlfriends – there would be a better chance of each of you finding someone later who isn’t damaged. People who get caught up in this kind of lifestyle are far more likely to miss their ‘soulmate’ because their soulmate wouldn’t try to use them, and wouldn’t see them as a soulmate if their disrespecting themselves in this way.
      My wife and I encourage our children (7 of them, oldest is a 15 year old boy) to pray for their future spouses now, to help them have the graces to stay pure for them. I would definitely say that there’s hope – there are for sure young people who think as you do and who want to build a whole and holy marriage in the future, and who are willing to sacrifice for it now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you very much for your response! It was incredibly encouraging and I think that this has helped me to feel a lot better. God bless you and your family!

    • Hi Anonymous

      Don’t listen to your peers. You know the truth, keep holding unto it. But don’t be proud. Sexual temptation is real and very strong. And it gets a lot worse for girls. I’m a 27 year old virgin. 16 was a cake walk compared to 25/26. However, our God is omnipotent, wise and has a super-abundance of grace. He will help his children who want to honour him. Have good boundaries, lay them out early in a relationship and make a plan for keeping them. Then pray a lot.

      You will likely have guys who want to use you, but sticking to your convictions helps a lot in sifting out guys like that. A guy with questionable virtue and motives won’t mess with a girl who is determined to be chaste. He has a lot of easy marks.

  18. Sarah B says:

    I am not a virgin and I am 26. I made the mistake of thinking the only way a guy will want or love me is by giving in when it was “time” for sex. Well it was all a lie because none of them loved me after sex, a lot of them left me when they were done or cheated on me. Almost three years ago I decided that I should wait till I am married. I have always been a believer and love God, I just messed up. I even had two guys go to church with me and they humiliated me in front of everyone. One pretended to be up front kneeling down and praying at the altar later he said he just did it to look good. The second announced he was going to marry me, but around this time I was still debating on waiting he knew this and talked me into it because after all we were engaged, I gave in and well he wrote me an email the next day and said it wouldn’t work. I never just had sex to have sex I really thought these guys loved me and it just ended up being lust. The last guy I was with stated he loved me but after I gave in he told me he just said he loved me because he tells all the girls that. I turned to God and said I learned my lesson and I know this isn’t right because I would have you know seasonal happiness and then it would crash, that’s how sin is like. Waiting is hard but 3yrs with nothing feels so better and I am happy, not just temporarily for a season. I decided to make a promise with God that “I would try and wait till marriage to show him how much I love him and trust him” those were my words three years ago. I didn’t want to say I promise because I knew this would be a battle with the flesh. Well the flesh wants more of what it can’t have but over time the spirit/soul has away of fighting stronger each time. I get feelings of lust and I can rebuke them. Somethings I struggle with but sex isn’t one of them anymore, and that was a big thing for me, after you find out it’s not real love outside of marriage apart of you doesn’t care and the devil tells you this is probably the only thing close to love you will find, well I did believe that for a long time but not no more. Now that waiting doesn’t mean the dating life is great it actually is awful but good at the same time. I have only had one guy who actually stayed around since I began to wait but he only wanted to be my friend because I wanted to wait, we talked all last year but I decided he wasn’t a good friend, he thought I was going to give in eventually even said he loves me, but I over heard him talking about me like I was trash so I knew better. The difference if I would have had sex with him, it would have been harder t let go and my emotions would have been all over the place but because I showed self control it was a lot easier to say bye and my emotions weren’t all over the place because I did what God wanted me too.

    On this earth we are in a constant battle with good and evil, the flesh and the spirit. In boxing or marshal arts the only way a fighter gets stronger is to practice fighting back. Knowing that the devil is weak and your spirit is strong you can fight and win. The Devil wants us to know that we are weak and that all this will be worth it in the end it isn’t he prides himself on us hurting and having pain. The last 3 years I have been victorious in the Lord and I know exactly what to do when the Devil is battling me inside and outside. Remember the Devil can make himself sound like the Lord talking to you and will tell you things and that is when you can question if it’s the Lord or not. This morning I had to rebuke my thoughts and when I got rid of the Devils voice a peace came over and the Lord said you are okay now.

    Being someone that doesn’t live apart of this world can be hard. Remember this world is full of sin and the ways of the world outweigh the goodness of the Lord. Be patient in the Lord and it will be worth it. Remember if the guy or girl is not a Christian then most likely they will not want to wait, don’t expect that they will want to. If they say they will then try to win them over to God as a friend, don’t date someone who doesn’t have a heart for God, it will never work yes some get married to no believers but from witnessing this, it’s not a peaceful marriage unless they both have a heart for God.

    One thing I want to know. Will I enjoy sex with my future husband even though I have had sex in the past?
    I am hoping I will since I decided to wait. Right now I am talking to someone who has a heart for God and he wants to wait till marriage too. It’s a peaceful friendship so far and nothing feels pressured.

    The other day at the doctor they asked those personal questions and it gave me pride when they asked my form of birth control. I said I waiting for marriage and practicing abstinence she looked at me all weird and said well good for you. I should have said “God” is my birth control method. It feels great to be following God, the last three years we are so much closer then we use to be.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I been struggling with this lately…I am 20 years old and a junior in college. All throughout high school I was very firm in my decision to wait until marriage. My Freshman year in college however, I began dating a guy who respected my decision in that regard for awhile, but eventually I slipped. I felt so guilty all the time and eventually broke it off after a year. I felt so damaged emotionally and like I was “ruined” from then on. I am now in a relationship with a guy who really seems to have his heart in the right place, and is ready to go with whatever decision I make on this, but I don’t feel like this is enough. I don’t want to be the one with the only responsibility of making sure we wait… My family was always very clear on the waiting til marriage rule, but his wasn’t. I just don’t know what to do now. He says he thinks waiting is a very good thing and he would like to, but he doesn’t feel like it would be wrong to have sex because he is very committed to me and loves me very much. This seems contradictory to me and I don’t know what to do… when I ask him he says he doesn’t want me to have a guilty conscious so we should do what I think is right, but I feel like it’s something we should both wholly agree on or not be together. Any advice?

    • The reason sex outside marriage is wrong is because there isn’t a public promise of commitment. So for him to say he is very committed to you is contradictory. He might feel committed to you, but until the wedding day, there is no formal commitment and you (and he) should not act as though there is. I’m often worried about girls in your situation – the guy you’re with is basically saying, “trust me”, before he’s shown that he’s fully trustworthy. Giving yourself sexually to a man should only come after he’s shown that he can handle himself up until your wedding day. It’s a tough place to be in for you. I’d suggest something like telling him that you are waiting for marriage for sex (and everything that leads to sex) – I used to teach this stuff to high school kids, and I used the ideas of affection and arousal – affection is fine until your wedding day, but arousal is only for after marriage. State your intentions clearly, and then see how he responds – if he pushes limits and doesn’t respect the lines you’ve drawn, then he’s not worth your time – if he does, then maybe he’ll come around and promote those values too. It sounds to me like he’s crossed these lines in the past already – he may need to repent of that before being able to manage himself maturely in a relationship. It will be very difficult if you’re the only one trying to maintain virtue in your relationship – there’s scripture that talks about not being unevenly yoked, it could certainly apply to chastity in your situation too.
      I have a sister who was dating a guy for 5 years – she was quite firm about being chaste, but his eventual ‘offer’ to her was for them to move in together (unmarried). She had to break it off because he didn’t really share her values.

      • Shane, I’ve never heard that affection vs. arousal analogy before. I really like it! I’ll try to remember to use it.

        • The affection/arousal thing is primarily in relation to the physical side. There are other connections that people make en route and within marriage, and it’s important to pay attention to these as well. We should guard ourselves emotionally and spiritually, so that we’re not giving ourselves inappropriately to the wrong person either. There’s an interesting article I read a few months ago called something like, “Women, stop submitting to men!”. It was addressing how secular society sees Christians as encouraging women to submit to men – as though we thought that all women should submit to all men always. Without getting into the political side of this, it talked about how it’s actually secular society that is asking women to repeatedly give themselves to (the wrong) men, and not wait until the right man comes along so that she can give her whole self to the man who will cherish her properly. The physical isn’t less important than these other dimensions to our lives – in fact, how we act physically usually reflects our emotional and spiritual dimensions. We can’t use another person physically without first being willing to use them emotionally (“the thought give rise to the action”).

  20. Can there be a holy marriage even sex before marriage??? i once heard that by His if we repent, n lead a holy life again n put off all that is unholy, we can have a holy marriage… please enlighten me, m confuse….. thank you..

    • Absolutely! God can make us all new and all holy. But if we sin knowing that if we repent later we’ll be forgiven, then that’s really the wrong attitude. But God can forgive and does forgive.

  21. Great article but the only problem I have with is that you didn’t reference anything in regards as to WHY God commands us to wait. I know what Gods word says, I know where Songs of Songs refers to great married intimacy, but most don’t! You missed this vitally important aspect to this post. Refer to the scriptures that tell us WHY (especially for those on the fence or unbelievers).

  22. When my husband and I were dating, we were “older” – in our late 20’s. We had a fairly short courtship, which was a good thing! We waited until we were married, but it was not easy. Mostly because he worked two jobs, and I was working and going to school. Our time was together was limited, and we broke all of the “don’t be alone together” rules. I thank God for my husband-to-be’s strength in this situation. There were many times when he would just leave because things were heading in the wrong direction!
    I cannot even begin to explain how much respect I have for him because of his care for me and the purity of our relationship. We have been married for 15 years, and it just gets better and better! We need to teach our sons to have this level of respect for their girlfriends as the future leaders of their homes!
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  23. The perfect test if a relationship is going to last, is to not have sex before marriage. Seriously. You REALLY do love each other if you are willing to wait, if you dont, you are not willing to wait. And that’s just how it is. I recently came out of my first relationship. I waited with sex, and she dumped me. Quite obviously the love this time wasn’t strong enough. On my part it was. I still recovered fast though, because I waited obviously. I am a Christian. I believe God made rules to help humans. Not enslave them. Those rules are made for a reason. I’ll gladly go my whole life a virgin if a girl can’t respect that.
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  24. Hi, I have lots of friends who all want to know the same thing, I am a mormon, I know our religions are different but I’m pretty sure our ideas on sexual modesty are the same. I am having a very difficult time trying to explain to my friends why I value being chase before marriage, but I can’t make it so they can see the harm which is actually there. I have tried to explain, but nothing I say can make them see. I would really like so,e help on how to talk to them about it and specifically why sex is so good if we weren’t meant to use it outside of marriage. Can you help?

    -Aaron Lawer

  25. Michael says:

    Hi Sheila I believe my situation is a bit more severe than the rest. Both me and my wife has had sex before marriage. I never had a complaint about our sex life during marriage, but she has confessed to me that the sex she was having before marriage with a man in the past was more satisfying than with me she told me “it was like Heaven”. She says it is torture when we have sex. I am very depressed and I decided to just quit. Do you believe sex is important or can our marriage survive without it?

  26. I was with my husband since i was 18 and he was 20 now three years later , only one year of marriage. ..going into our second year….I actually wish I would have waited. We had fun crazy hott passionate dirty exciting sex and pretty soon i got pregnant which rushed things…and well we got married. …I delivered my daughter two weeks after our self united wedding. The day i turned the papers into the court house I regreted it…we simply were not ready and I felt as if sex without sin was the biggest reason he married me…i was afraid of being a stereotype. I started to get vulvodynia when i was pregnant and still a year and months after i suffered from the vaginal pain..still do…I feel sex is dirty, wrong, ungodly…not very special at all…just simply sex in the simplest way…i really feel like maybe i need to seek therapy…i have a past of sexual abuse as well. I dont know if that plays a part but. ..being a mother and pregnant again lol my sex drive fluctuates I know my husband struggles and its hard due to my physical condtion and my psychological state…i have no idea what to do..very rarely do i want sex but I WOULDNT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO DO IT BEFORE MARRIAGE because i believe i wouldnt feel it wasnt as important as God says it is…sorry i didnt mean to vent on here lol I just havent told anyone…

    • Thanks for sharing your story! I really feel badly that you’re in this rut with pain and all kinds of issues. I want you to know that even though you may have done things backwards that does NOT mean that God wants you suffering like this. God wants you to have a great sexual relationship with your husband! He really does. He wants your past to honestly be your past, not your present. A couple of posts that may help: Getting over your sexual baggage and dealing with your past sexual abuse. Blessings on you!

  27. Lance Leander L. Cembrano says:

    People need to educate their kids to sincerely love God. That way, his words and will will be etched in their hearts, and they will choose to follow his commands regardless of peer pressure and societal pressure. Moreover, kids need parents who are more involved in their lives. Kids need God and their parents to show them the right path, and to hold them accountable to their actions.

    Just please remember that Hyper-Grace is dangerous. We should just stick to God’s plain words and will—his commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and all his other teachings. Lastly, people should never forget this part:
    Jesus said “go, and sin no more,” not “go, and continue sinning.” You are not your own; you were bought with a price, and so honor God, honor your body, and honor others.

  28. Great post, Sheila!

    I was raised in a strict church that taught that premarital sex was sin. (In fact, a LOT of things were considered sin in that church and it could be quite discouraging at times.) We were never taught WHY we should wait or WHY it was God’s best that we should wait. No matter, though. I was a very romantic child who looked forward to my perfect wedding night with my future prince.

    After my sister and I became teens, she chose not to wait and was burned for it several times which furthered my resolve to wait until marriage because I didn’t want to get used (not the best reason, but it worked). Despite scorn from her, I did wait until I met my husband. It wasn’t a matter of not being alone together before our marriage because we were. It was a matter of keeping my eyes on the prize, I guess you could say, and he really helped me with that because he wanted it as well.

    On our wedding night, I remember holding on to him and thinking, “This is it. We belong to each other forever. I won’t go to my apartment afterwards and he won’t go to his.” It was all very mushy and romantic and one of the two perfect nights in my life that will always stand out (the other being the birth of our first child). I finally understood why I should have waited and as my kids grew, I talked to them a lot about why they should wait for their spouses because I really wanted them to have the experience their dad and I had. I tried not to couch my advice in “sinful” terms because I wanted them to want to wait and I’d tell them how waiting for sex would help guard their marriages and prepare them for the faithfulness of marriage. I tried not to speak in judgmental terms of those who chose not to wait. As a result, two of my children chose not to wait although they’ve only had one partner each. The second child, who married last year, actually spent her wedding night first with her new husband and then with their friends a few hours later. Seriously — what a waste I thought! Still, they’re adorable together and seem to be quite happy. With the third child (who is only 16), we’re very close and I do hope to influence her decisions about life, men and marriage. Who knows? This world makes things very difficult. I do believe Satan has courtships and marriages flipped around so that once marriages begin, sex can suddenly stop happening for whatever reason. I also believe that one of the reasons God wanted his children to wait until marriage is because living with someone can sometimes be a bumpy path at first and sex helps smooth out that path. The older I get, the more I realize that HIS ways are perfect and I just need to trust that.

  29. Question: any practical advice from a mans point of view on how to help teenage raging hormones in boys becoming men. Like what are they to do with the strong desires and drive and thoughts. How do they channel that energy or should they just go ahead and masturbate or what should they do? I’m sure their thought life while masturbating is not going to be pure… I’m a mother of very young boys age 2 and 5 but I want to be prepared in giving them a solution to their God made desires and urges. And advice that have worked for men in the past that was effective?

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] saw a little B.C. Comic strip on Facebook and on Sheila Wray-Gregoire’s blog this week. I can’t seem to find the rights to it so I’m not posting it… but go […]

  2. […] That’s so difficult. Most parents desperately want their children to avoid the heartache and potentially devastating consequences from early sexual involvement–and indeed even sex before marriage. I’ve written before about why it’s important to wait. […]

  3. […] Why God Wants us to Wait Until Marriage For Sex by Sheila of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum (for single/dating/engaged women)  […]

  4. […] is a reason God tells us to wait for marriage. God wants the best for us, and God wants us to experience real love, not conditional […]

  5. […] And when we lose that fight, the results are so sad. I have written at length on this blog about the dangers that sexual baggage can bring to a marriage. I have written about why God knew what He was doing when He said, “wait until marriage.” […]

  6. […] until marriage”, but that’s not the issue. Sex is best when you’re married, and God said that’s where it belongs. So that’s non-negotiable. And incidentally, even those who weren’t virgins […]

  7. […] is a reason God tells us to wait for marriage. God wants the best for us, and God wants us to experience real love, not conditional […]

  8. […] it’s also because when we don’t wait for marriage to have sex, and share our bodies before we’ve committed our hearts, we can hurt ourselves. It’s […]

  9. […] in the surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex). I’ve written a few posts on why God wants us to wait for marriage, and I’d suggest reading them (and getting my book!) so you have a better view of […]

  10. […] the hardest Reader Questions I’ve ever had. My heart just breaks. This is one of the reasons God wants us to wait for marriage to have sex! Sex before marriage seems so enticing, but it can wreak such havoc with the rest of your […]

  11. […] (Have trouble with this one? Here’s a post on why God wants us to wait until we’re married for sex.) […]

  12. […] blurred into physical temptation. About a year after our relationship began, we began to stumble in the area of purity. We both knew it was wrong, we would repent, and strive for purity again, but we were going about […]

  13. […] biggest regret: not staying pure until marriage. I’ve written at length on the blog about why we should wait until marriage for sex, and why God made sex just for marriage. But sometimes I fear that in all of our talk about saving […]

  14. […] That’s one of the reasons that God wants us to wait for marriage to make love! […]

  15. […] who believe that marriage is sacred, that sex is meant for marriage, and that sex is best in marriage, are a threat to just about everything our culture stands […]

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