I was talking to a coworker a while back and she asked me something that threw me for a loop. “Why won’t you have sex until you’re married?” Naturally, having grown up in a Christian home and hearing about this particular topic all the time, I knew exactly why. The answer was on the tip of my tongue. But then she kept going. The second part of her question really got me.
“Can you tell me without basing it on your religious beliefs?”
That made it a very hard question to answer because my beliefs and my faith are very much a part of who I am. My relationship with Christ is ultimately why I live the way that I do. It’s a part of everything that I do, not just dating or sex. So how could I answer her without bringing scripture into the picture? If I had no relationship with Christ, why would I bother waiting?
I honestly couldn’t think of anything on the spot. I probably looked at her like she had sprouted a second head. I told her that if I was given a little time to think, I could come up with some really great things. She said okay and we changed the subject.
We talked about it little bit more later on, but I never really addressed it the way I wish I had. If I had the chance to tell her again, I would say something like this:
1) Love for my husband
I don’t know if the man I date is going to be my husband, not even after an engagement ring is on my finger. Things change. Stuff happens. People break up the night before they get married. People die. People meet other people. My love for my future husband trumps my love for a current boyfriend. It will stay that way until we sign a marriage certificate. I’m not even just waiting for my husband. I’m waiting for the promise we make to each other when we say ‘I do’. My waiting until marriage is a way of showing my husband (whoever he is) that I love him. How can I love someone I haven’t met? Well, I know he exists. I know that I will love him. I know that for me to decide to marry him, he will be someone special. Someone more special than whoever I’m going out with at the moment.
Someone said at a conference once that sex does the same thing to your brain that heroin does. Woah. I can’t find anything specifically about that, but there are plenty of studies that do prove that the centers that are active in the brain during sex are the same ones that are heightened during gambling or the use of drugs. Dopamine, an endorphin released during sex, is one of the largest players in providing that pleasure. Not only that, but endorphins have similar chemical structures as morphine. Morphine. What does all of this have in common? Addiction. When you break up with someone you’ve been physically intimate with, It’s. Like. Breaking. An. Addiction. I don’t want to let myself be scarred by that kind of pain. It’s not necessary or healthy.
3) Protecting My Heart
Sex brings a level of intimacy to a relationship that I’m not prepared for outside of marriage. Hundreds of studies have proven that a chemical called oxytocin is released during intercourse. If you aren’t familiar with oxytocin, maybe it’s because you know it as “the cuddle hormone”. What does it do? It increases trust in the person you are intimate with. I’m not lying, I pinky swear. Guys, trust is a really important thing. A HUGE thing, actually. It connects you to someone at a heart level. I want to protect myself from the heartbreak that would follow a breakup and loss of trust. My heart is really fragile. I don’t want to put myself in situations where I’m at risk for being crushed where it isn’t necessary.
4) Creating trust in my marriage
My husband is going to be the most important person to me one day besides God (I know, I said no faith, but I couldn’t leave that bit out). If I’ve been hurt before, building trust with my husband is going to take a lot longer and that trust will fall apart as soon as the weather gets rough. How awesome would it be if that kind of intimate trust was only formed between myself and my future husband, not any other man or ex-boyfriend? Beyond oxytocin, it’s statistically proven that couples that don’t cohabitate have a significantly higher chance of staying together after marriage. I want my husband to know that I trust him and that he can trust me. I don’t want him to worry about other people creeping into my mind. I want trust and stability out of my marriage! Why wouldn’t I?
5) No comparisons
People say all of the time, “Well how will I know if he’s any good or if we are compatible if we don’t sleep together?” Well…how will you know if you aren’t? By not sleeping with the men I date, I’m keeping myself from making comparisons between my husband and those men. It will strengthen the trust and confidence in our marriage. Think of your brain as a web browser. Every person you sleep with gets saved in your brain like a cookie. When you have sex with someone, whether your brain pulls up those people consciously or not, they are still there, and your brain knows it. I don’t want permanent cookies causing problems between my husband and me, because unlike the ones in Chrome, you can’t delete the cookies saved in your brain.
6) Friendship first
This might sound kind of obvious, but couples who are friends with their spouses have significantly happier marriages. I know that sometimes it’s difficult to look too far into the future, but hopefully my husband and I will be blessed with children. Once they’re gone and our marriage no longer revolves around raising a family, it’s going to be a difficult transition if we are just two people legally forming a household. By focusing on friendship and not sex, my boyfriend and I will be able to prepare for a long, happy marriage that is based on the love, friendship, and the respect two people have for each other (which is the point of dating, right?).
7) Being considerate of others
Most people will get married. Even my exes, past crushes, and friends. Having sex with someone you aren’t married to deprives their future spouse of all of the awesome benefits of having someone that waited for them. Sleeping with someone isn’t a choice that affects only yourself. It affects the other person involved and all of the people in their future relationships. By abstaining from sexual relations until marriage, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting others as well.
All of these reasons can be grouped into one category: protecting my marriage.
I refuse to allow my marriage to be another statistic. Did you know that somewhere between 40%-50% of our generation’s marriages will end in divorce? That’s an INSANE amount of pain that people have to endure. If a year of abstinence can protect and nurture 40+ years of future marriage, why wouldn’t I wait?
I’m not saying I’m perfect. I am human (last time I checked), so mistakes can and probably will be made. However, sex is a very powerful thing and I don’t think that it should be treated as insignificantly as our society treats it. It’s not something you do for fun. It’s not a way to gauge compatibility. It’s a way two people’s souls connect. Actually, it’s even further than just connecting, it’s more like fusing. Fusing. Two people’s souls somehow morphing into one, fragile creation. I think that level of intimacy deserves protection.
That’s why I’m waiting, despite the way our culture functions now. Because I love my husband and I know that what we have will be something beautiful. So if you are my husband and you happen to be reading this however many years down the road, just know that I love you and that no matter what you might think sometimes, you were always, always worth waiting for.
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