We're Engaged, Why
Wait For Sex?
Marriage and Sexuality from
the Biblical Perspective
couples who have a sense of morality struggle with the issues of
sexuality. On one hand their upbringing, social consciousness or
religious teachings have taught them that sex before marriage is wrong
or sinful. On the other hand they are inundated on a daily basis with
sexual images, sexual talk and encouragement from peers to have sex.
Let's face it; we have become a sex saturated society. This society
puts enormous pressure on couples to have sex and even ridicules them
for not having sex.
I applaud the couple
who wants to wait. I understand the struggle to figure out "how far is
far enough?" it is difficult to place limitations on sexual intimacy
while trying to develop a life-long, emotional bonding at the same
The purpose of this
article is to help engaged couples in their determination to wait
for sex until their wedding night. It will offer help in two areas.
The first is the moral, intellectual and emotional side of the issue.
The second area will be on the more practical side. If you are not
engaged I want to specifically encourage you to read the article
Why Did God Place Moral Boundaries Around Sexuality?
I am specifically
speaking to the engaged couple right now. Let's face the most
important issue right up front. Unless you have a moral basis for
abstaining from sex until marriage there are going to be few effective
arguments for waiting. That sounds a bit fatalistic, but it isn't
that way at all, it is cutting to the chase.
The mantra of the
current culture is, "why do we have to have a piece of paper to make
it right." Or "We love each other, that is all that matters." While
these proclamations of liberation from society's so-called "Victorian
attitudes" might sound good on the surface they basically stem from
good old-fashioned lack of morality. They don't say it, but the
question is there, "who said it was wrong to have sex before
marriage?" Who indeed?
The real question then, is: Did
"don't have sex outside marriage,"
have the authority to say it?
If the idea that sex
outside of marriage is just some arbitrary moral code from a bygone
era of a sexually repressed society, then your opinion is as good as
mine or anyone else's.
real question then, is:
whoever say, "don't have sex outside marriage," have the authority to
For the couple that
is struggling with the issue, the question is one of morality. The
question must be settled. Was it some man 500, 1000, 2000 or more
years ago who just decided one day that sex outside of marriage was a
bad idea and it caught on. If so, that man has no more authority then
you or me. We could create our own philosophy and promote it (and
many do). Or did the idea that sex outside of marriage was morally
wrong come from a different source?
Most people who are
struggling with the issue have at least a vague idea that the moral
taboo on sex outside of marriage came from God Himself. If that is
the case, then does God have the right to tell you to wait? Ah, the
$24,000 question. You see, the first question to ask is not, "should
we or shouldn't we," the first question to ask is, "what do I really
believe about God and His word, the Bible?"
So the question is,
"What do you believe about God." Does He have the right to say, "Thou
shall not?" And if He does, does He have the authority and
wherewithal to back it up?
If you answer, "No,
He doesn't," then you are free to stop reading here, because nothing
else I say really matters. However if you have to answer, "Yes God
does have the authority to say no," then keep reading.
The reason why you
should wait is very simple, God said, "don't do that." God was never
a cosmic killjoy. Remember that sex was God's idea. He created it
with all the physical and emotional pleasures attached to it.
Sexuality is one of the most powerful forces man has to contend with.
Wars have been fought, crimes committed, fortunes lost and lives
ruined over this powerful drive common to us all.
God's moral laws
were given to man protect him, not hinder him. For the man who wants
to commit adultery, the commandment, "thou shall not commit adultery,"
seems to be interfering with his personal freedom. But to the wife
who has committed herself and family that depends on that man, the
same commandment is a source of security, love and protection. God,
knowing the destruction that immorality causes, gave man a moral code
to keep sex inside of marriage as a protection to us.
conclusion of rejecting the divine authority behind morality is
absolute chaos. If it is not morally wrong to have sex with whoever I
want, then it is not morally wrong to rape, kill, cheat or steal,
because the same source said, "Don't" to all of them. "Oh but those
are different," we might hear someone say. Are they? How is it
possible to ignore the ones we want to and subscribe to the ones we
want to? That simply makes morality subject to every person's own
idea. If that is the case we have no right to tell someone not to
steal from us, because his right to moral interpretation is as valid
There really is only
one legitimate reason to wait. God said it would be detrimental to
our souls if we sinned and continued in sin. Although there are many
references in the Bible, two verses should suffice to explain God's
position on the issue:
"Let marriage be
held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for
God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."
Hebrews 13:4 (Emphasis mine.)
people who are cowardly, unfaithful, detestable, murderers,
sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find
themselves in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the
second death." Revelation 21:8
It is not just about sex, it is about
your spiritual wellbeing
The reason people do
not want to obey God is that they are more concerned about their
temporary pleasures then they are with their eternal souls. I
recently saw a poster that puts this into perspective, it said, "We
are not human beings going through a spiritual experience, we are
spiritual beings going through a human experience."
concentrates on the physical things. However in the grand scheme of
things our bodies (and the pleasure that is associated with them) are
temporary and our souls are eternal. Which part of 'you' should you
really be looking out for; the temporary part that will die or the
permanent part that will live forever somewhere?
The whole message of
the Bible is that we focus on the spiritual part of our being. Our
physical bodies need to be checked and controlled. We discipline
ourselves with diets, when our bodies would rather enjoy that extra
piece of chocolate cake. We go to the gym and work out, all the while
our muscles are screaming at us to stop abusing them. We get up early
to go to work day after day when we would rather sleep another hour.
We can also say no to our bodies when they want sex.
The real issue is
that sex is very powerful and it is fed constantly by the society we
live in. Isn't it funny about peer pressure? Society encourages and applauds our efforts to discipline our body with diet
and exercise, but indulge in much more destructive behavior. However,
the stakes are a lot higher, spiritually speaking. God didn't exactly
pronounce judgment on the extra piece of chocolate cake did He? Is
not your soul be worth the extra effort? It is, and if you didn't
think so you probably wouldn't be reading this article.
Violating your own moral code
emotional and spiritual turmoil
If you start with
what you believe about God and look there for answers you will be a
lot happier person. The reason for this is because every person has a
built in moral code and a conscience that tells us when that code is
violated. When you violate your own code you feel guilt. Guilt
produces emotional stress and causes you to act and react in certain
ways; usually not good ways either. You can not have a belief system and live
contrary to it for long. Your belief system or your conduct will have
to change. The tension is just too great.
The next thing that
happens, if you continue to violate your built-in moral code, is that
you will have to stop doing what you know is wrong or you will start
to shut out your conscience to the point where it no longer bothers
you. The Bible calls this, "hardening your heart." When this happens
it opens the door to other conscience-violating behaviors (sins).
and devastation also come with violating our own moral code. First,
from a religious standpoint if you believe what you did was sin you
are going to feel legitimate guilt. You will need to repent and stop
sinning or else your spiritual experience will come to a grinding
halt. If you think God is upset with you about the issue, you will
probably start to shut Him out. Nobody wants to hang around someone
they are at odds with. Bible reading, prayer and church attendance
slow to a halt; usually not all at once, but over a period of time.
You will begin to feel that "people are judging you," when in fact it
is your own conscience that is the culprit.
I can not even count
the number of people who have told me that they started out with a
good relationship with God and then "fell away," "drifted off," "got
into sin," "backslid," (their words) only to return to God years later
with broken marriages, addictions, dysfunctional families and more
problems then they can handle. While God certainly forgives, there
are also painful consequences to disobeying God's express commands
regarding morality. Many couples have sabotaged their own spiritual
lives by failing to wait for sex until their wedding night.
Another reason God
placed sex within the bounds of marriage is because of the spiritual
covenant that was created by the wedding vows. For more on the ideas
behind the spiritual marriage covenant read the article
Why Do We Make Marriage Vows.
From a practical
standpoint here is some advice I give unmarried couples:
Talk with your fiancé about these issues. Waiting until the
pressure is on, the lights are low and the clothes start coming off is
not the right time to have a discussion about how far to go. Discuss
your beliefs and commit to each other to wait. Pray about how far is
too far and determine with each other and God to draw some boundaries
If you really love the other person you will not want to
jeopardize their spiritual life and eternal wellbeing with your own
need for sex. So the old manipulation, "if you loved me you would,"
just doesn't fly. If they loved you, they wouldn't pressure you to do
something that violated your conscience.
Sex before marriage is like any other sin. God has promised
you power to overcome any temptation. You need to continually pray
for God's power and will in your lives.
Develop your spiritual relationship as well as an emotional
one. Pray, study the Bible and go to church together. Get involved in
ministry opportunities. Understanding one another spiritually and
getting on the same page spiritually are two of the greatest assets to
a healthy marriage there are. Many marriage problems are caused by a
lopsided spiritual relationship. Spirituality should be central to our
lives, not secondary. Don't wait until you're married to deal with
this important issue. Grow together spiritually as well as emotionally
for a long and successful marriage.
5. Develop accountable relationships with one or more key
individuals or couples. Your pastor, church leaders or other solid
Christian friends can help you with your determination to stay
sexually pure until your wedding night. Share with them your
commitment to remain pure and give them the right to ask you how well
you are doing. Temptation is more easily overcome when you know
someone might ask you tomorrow what you did last night.
Don't be embarrassed or intimidated by the opinions of peers or
co-workers. You have a right to make the right choices and you have
nothing to be ashamed of by deciding to wait. I am sure a lot of
people wished they would have waited.
When a couple gets engaged they are likely to spend more alone
time together. This is somewhat natural as emotional bonding,
planning for the future and personal intimacy starts to increase. Sex
seems like a natural part of the process, and it is, but still only
within the bounds of a spiritual covenant. Couples will need to
understand that the more intimate time they spend together the
stronger the temptations will be to have sex. Kissing and cuddling
easily leads to fondling, foreplay and intercourse. If you are having
trouble in this area you will need to purposely create some
boundaries. You may want to limit the amount of "alone" time you
have. One way to do this is to go to public places where you can talk
and have fun. Quiet restaurants, parks, a sidewalk cafe or other
similar places can create a romantic and semi-private atmosphere for
intimate, non-sexual conversation while providing enough "exposure" to
keep things from becoming sexual.
If you slip, stop and ask for forgiveness and spiritual
strength to remain disciplined. Don't give up. Recommit,
get some accountability and keep
God created marriage
and sex. He totally understands the issues; talk to Him about it.
God is not a cop with a nightstick waiting to catch you doing
something wrong. He is your loving heavenly Father who wants the very
best for you and is willing to help you any way He can. He gave you
guidelines and boundaries so you could enjoy life to the fullest and
He offers His own grace and power to help you remain faithful to Him.
About the Author:
Dr. Steve Highlander holds a doctorate in Pastoral Theology from Faith
Bible College in Independence, MO. and is a Certified Christian
Counselor with the Association of Scriptural Psychology Therapists. Dr.
Highlander in is involved in mission work and serves as dean of
Acts Ministry University, a new
online bible College. Steve and his wife Brooke, who holds a
doctorate in Scriptural Psychology, operate
C3M Ministries. C3M stands for
Church in the Third Millennium and is dedicated to helping the church
return to her New Testament moorings of faith and practice. For
free audio and print resources visit
What Does the Bible
Say About That?
Quotations From the Bible
God doesn't have a problem with
sex, He created sex and has told mankind that within the bounds of
marriage that it was to be enjoyed by husbands and wives.
Here are some plain scriptures
that warn us against sexual immortality
"Let marriage be held in honor
by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge
fornicators (those who have sex outside of marriage) and
"Shun fornication (sex
outside of marriage). Every sin that a person commits is outside
the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.
I Corinthians 6:18
"Do you not know that
wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived!
Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites
(homosexuals) —none of these will inherit the
kingdom of God."
I Corinthians 6:9-10
"But as for the cowardly, the
faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators
(sexually immoral), the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars,
their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which
is the second death."
"So God let them go
ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a
result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies.
Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they
deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God
made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.
That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the
women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged
in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual
relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did
shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within
themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to
acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do
things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every
kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting,
deception, malicious behavior, and gossip."