- Gender and Relationships
Saving Yourself for Marriage
Sex is a wonderful gift to share between a husband and a wife, but saving yourself for marriage is not a very popular or common decision these days. Some people see premarital abstinence as unnecessary, ill-advised, and even just plain weird. In our consumer culture of fast-paced, have-it-now, see-it-want-it-get-it types of thinking, waiting for anything has become exceedingly annoying. Even waiting to heat up popcorn in the microwave for 3 minutes can be enough to drive a man crazy. Why should sex be any different, right? Well, a few reasons. Let's take a look at some of the benefits to saving yourself for marriage.
Benefit #1 - A Relationship Built to Last
Sex can build a bond quickly between two people, but it is not a bond upon which to build an entire relationship. In order to have a successful marriage, you must find someone who is more than just a great sexual partner, and saving yourself for marriage allows you to do that. There must be - among other things - friendship, trust, honesty, communication, compromise, and mutual respect. Physical attraction is certainly a component to a healthy marriage, but this attraction can be enhanced by things outside of sex; like attractive character traits, for example. If the ultimate goal is to have a long and fulfilling relationship after the wedding, then focus on the components of your relationship that will serve as the foundation for an enduring and fulfilling life partnership.
Benefit #2 - A Measure of Commitment
Sex is a very powerful expression of love, but it should not be confused with love itself. Too often, people consider willingness to have sex as a determination of how much their partner loves them. They might say, "If you loved me, you would have sex with me." There's a lot of "me" in that statement though, isn't there? Saving yourself for marriage may require not only the ability to control yourself, but a willingness to reduce the "me"-centered perspective. How much do you value your partner's wishes over your own? If you are unable to selflessly serve your partner on a regular basis, then marriage may not be the direction your relationship is headed at this point. Even if you have already had sex, it is not too late to begin saving yourself for marriage. If you decide to make that commitment and want the support of your partner, take the time to invest in a serious conversation in which you can both openly express your thoughts.
Benefit #3 - Health
This is an obvious, but surely underappreciated, benefit. The risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infections reduces to ZERO when avoiding genital contact and body fluid exchange. That is a pretty magnificent benefit when considering the multitude and ease of transmission of so many dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions out there. The use of condoms is a popular alternative to disease risk reduction, but the risk does not reduce to zero like it does with abstinence. There can always be problems with the application, integrity, and proper use of condoms. It is up to you and your partner to determine whether or not you are willing to take those risks, but you should know that there is no better way to 100% guarantee your sexual health than both partners saving themselves for marriage.
Now, if your current partner is not sure whether or not they have a disease that is sexually transmittable, this should be addressed. Even if you are waiting for marriage, your sexual health is not guaranteed if the health of your partner is unknown. The first step is to get your partner tested. If they refuse, then that tells you something about their level of commitment to you. If they go through with it, then you both need to sit down afterwards and discuss the future of your relationship, given whatever circumstances are found. Seeking the guidance of a counselor may be advisable.
Benefit #4 - Free Birth Control
As you know, there is an incredible amount of options for birth control offered by an equally incredible amount of vendors. Saving yourself for marriage frees you to avoid the hassle - at least before marriage - of seeking which option is best for you. Not only that, but it keeps money in your pocket! Money you can use to do other fun things to enhance your relationship (see suggestions for activities in the capsule below). If you don't think waiting for sex is something that your brain wants to do, you may at least be convinced by your wallet.
More Than Just a Ring
In a culture where living together before getting married is increasingly common, the idea of premarital abstinence may seem ridiculous. Marriage could be thought of as no more than the addition of a ring and a piece of paper to the mix. But is that all it is? Hardly. A commitment to marry someone is being willing to make an oath in public - in front of all your closest friends and family - to declare your promise to love each other both in the present and the future. In addition, for the couples that choose to marry in a church, each person makes a covenant with God to honor him with their unconditional love for each other. So you see, saving yourself for marriage is more than just a choice to be healthy or enjoy free birth control. It is a decision made by both partners in response to an appreciation for both the value of sex and the sanctity of marriage.
Fun Things to Do While You're Not Having Sex
There are plenty of fun alternatives to premarital sex! Here is a list of just a few things you can do with your partner to strengthen your relationship by spending more time together:
- Go on a walk. Do some form of exercise together.
- Read a book about a topic that interests you both.
- Play a sport you both enjoy.
- Play a fun board or card game.
- Have a picnic.
- Enjoy a romantic night out.
- Cook together.
- Learn something new (like juggling!)
- Give each other massages.
- Go for a drive.
- Double date.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle.
- The sky is the limit!
Want to learn more? There's an entire website dedicated to promoting the importance of saving yourself for marriage that you can check out here for more information.