- Gender and Relationships
The Relationship X Factor
Throughout history and still today, the ideal among Christians has been to save sex for marriage. However, whether or not to remain abstinent prior to marriage is not simply a question of religious beliefs or moral values.
There are many practical reasons for waiting as well. Not the least of these is the potential for unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Plenty of research has shown that children from single parent homes are more likely to commit crimes, abuse drugs, live in poverty, and become sexually active at earlier ages than children raised in a stable two-parent home. There are exceptions of course, but this is the overall effect of unplanned pregnancy.
There are many relationships that rely a great deal, if not entirely, on sexual activity to provide intimacy. The fact is, although sex can be a meaningful way to express love and intimacy-if they already exist between two people-sex does not require love to take place.
Sex can, sadly, serve as a way to seek pleasure for the self, while having no regard for the other person involved. Because a person who is after sex may lie about his/her true feelings or motives, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference. If a potential partner is truly interested in a lasting relationship involving more than mere physical intimacy, that person will not force the issue.
So what can a couple, who chooses to wait until marriage to have sex, do to keep the relationship exciting, special, and intimate? There are many, many things. It stands to reason, in my opinion, that prior to marriage, a romantic relationship that does not include sex, has the potential to become even more intimate. I believe this because sex cannot be confused as true intimacy and love.
Here are things couples can do to and keep their relationship exciting without having sex.
- Confide in each other. Share your secrets, hopes and dreams with the one you love. This will lay the foundation for the trust that is necessary for a good marriage.
- Play sports or games together. You can learn a lot about each other by doing this, such as how he/she handles competition and challenges. It can reveal something about temperament and accountability as well.
- Do things together with his/her family and friends. It is usually interesting to meet other people, and this is a great way to learn and understand more about your sweetheart.
- Hold hands. It is a great way to have physical contact without stimulating too much arousal. It also shows others that you are more than just friends. Quick kisses can serve the same purpose. Touch is an important part of intimacy. The key is to recognize temptation before it reaches a point where it is too powerful to be easily resisted.
Other fun things to do together include hiking, picnicking, fishing, cooking, dancing, swimming, or even camping (separate tents of course!). You should include anything you may enjoy doing together as a married couple, minus the sex. Go to concerts, museums, movies and other places you both enjoy. Do normal everyday things together once in awhile, like go grocery shopping. If you attend different churches, take turns visiting each other's, or find a new church that you both like. Admit that you have urges; you're human. Support each other's resolve and remind each other of the reasons you chose to wait.