I wrote in my last post that I believe that waiting until marriage to have sex can be a good preparation for marriage. I wrote this because I think it’s true, even if I myself didn’t wait. As I sat down to think about how to help others live up to this ideal in a culture where it can be incredibly difficult to do so, I also thought about the real reasons why I couldn’t.
In high school I wanted to wait for marriage. When it came down to it though, a history of sexual abuse had taught me that I was nothing, which I sincerely believed. I couldn’t wait because at my core I didn’t believe that I was worth waiting for. I didn’t believe that someone could ever love me for who I was. In light of this, here are some of my thoughts to encourage you to wait until marriage if you are finding it difficult to do so:
You are lovable—even with all your wounds. Rather than focusing solely on behavior, try to realize the truth about yourself. I believe that all encouragements to hold off on sex should be based in the reality of your incredible dignity and worth as a person. The truth is, your value as a person won’t go down one bit if you don’t wait. There is nothing that you can do and nothing that anyone can do to you that will decrease your worth. However, you are so precious that you should not give the gift of your whole self to someone who will not treasure that gift, to someone who has not vowed publicly to love and honor you the rest of your lives.
Love equals sacrifice. You owe it to yourself to know the truth about the quality of love that another person is offering to you. You deserve to know for sure if the person you are with (or any person you will potentially date) loves you for who you are, and not just for the pleasure of having sex as a dynamic in your relationship. A good way of determining this is by refusing to get physical before the wedding day. As I’ve written before, you always know how much a person loves you by how much he or she is willing to sacrifice for your good. If someone says he loves you, but he can’t love you without sex, then he’s probably not offering the kind of love that will last a lifetime.
Your desire for sex comes from a desire for connection. Our powerful sexual drive is an energy that drives us out of ourselves to connect to others. We don’t want just shallow encounters; our deepest desire is to be truly known and loved, as well as to know and love others deeply. If you are struggling with saving sex, the worst thing you can do is to white-knuckle it and try to deny or avoid your feelings. We all have a need for deep connection. Don’t suppress it; take steps to meet your need for connection in healthy ways. Have heart-to-heart talks with your partner or a friend. Make new friends. Make eye-contact with the person bagging your groceries. Tell them “thank you” and mean it. Try to see others for the persons that they are and connect with them on that level. When you fill yourself up with positive and real connections, you’ll be less driven to try to fill yourself up with ways of connecting that leave you feeling empty. Hopefully, if you do this, you will also grow in the knowledge of how lovable you are.
I think that if people really understood how great sex can be when it is with someone who loves them so completely and whom they love so thoroughly, they would never want to settle for less. Having experienced being with my husband, I now realize that sex is supposed to be uplifting and loving. It is the culmination of the countless, non-physical ways that a couple expresses their love for each other throughout the day. When I’m with my husband I never feel used or dirty. On the contrary, I feel precious, honored, loved, and lovable, and I am sure that this is how sex is supposed to be.