Do you ever find it hard to explain to your friends why you want to wait for marriage to have sex? Or maybe why you believe people should? Who knows, maybe you're not sure and wonder if you should or not. Some people think that Christians might wait as a result of a 'religious rule', something that people made up. Fortunately, God is there to reveal truth to every heart and convict us when we believe something that is wrong. Yet, sometimes people ask us questions and we have to have answers.
I could go on and tell you all my personal reasons why I feel it is best to wait but everyone needs to have their own reasons. Yet, I will tell you the foundation for my thinking. Okay, there is the popular, Genesis 2:24 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Now, this doesn't outright say not to have sex before marriage but it does tell us that a man leaves his family, and goes forth to establish another family unit 'united to his wife'. Once this family unit is established, then they become 'one flesh'. So the commitment comes first, the bond to the wife.
Then there is Corinthians 6:18-20 "Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." Okay, so here is another reason to wait until marriage, the whole fact of staying pure. The Bible is pretty clear on what constitutes sexual immorality, just read some of the Old Testament books where God lays out the clear rules for living, ex. do not have sex with your neighbour's wife. Plus, there are other examples where men indulge in sexual immorality with women of other nations (Numbers 25:1-3), and how can sex be immoral unless it's outside of marriage in that example (considering it is explicitly, man with woman)? While sexual immorality can seem to cause confusion by it's very definition, fortification, which is often lumped with immorality, is very clear on it's meaning. Dictionary. com says it means "voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried personsor two persons not married to each other." So, yanking all this together, it is clear that to remain pure before God, we need to keep our bodies pure, and as such, not go sleeping around with anyone we like, but belong solely to our husband.
Here's another support for that, 1 Corinthians 7:2-3"But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs." Or, 1 Corinthians 7:36 "If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married." (Improperly towards a virgin? Pretty clear meaning...)
So, to be clear then, what constitutes marriage? Well, first of all, a new family unit is established as in the Genesis verse. And, there are several other verses in the Bible regarding marriage, like not to defile the marriage bed (remain faithful to your spouse) and verses regarding the role of husband and wife. This is just a really fast summary so you should check it out for yourself if you're curious. But I do not believe that two people who move in together and remain faithful to each other are living immorally. After all, 'getting married' is more than just buying a licenses and signing a sheet of paper. Sure, that takes care of the legal end, legally binding two people (which is important too) but part of the event is vowing your faithfulness and commitment to each other before other witnesses and before God. You are making a public declaration to honour each other. Each culture has their own methods and traditions with marrying (such as the bride price and other festivities) but I think it is this public promise that is so important and then, when the pastor says, 'I now pronounce you husband and wife' it makes it official.
Another thing that sometimes seems hard to explain these days is getting married young. Christians can be accused of marrying early just so they can have sex. Okay, there is so much wrong with that idea that I don't even want to go there. But, on the other hand, it can happen. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. And, to have truly meaningful sex in all that it was meant to be, there has to be an emotional foundation. So, once there is the emotional bond (love, commitment, vows), and then the physical actions of marriage (wedding, vows, exchanging rings...etc) can follow, and finally, the sexual commitment. People who marry for sex, well, they're in for a shock on the morning after. When the 'act' of sex is over, they have the rest of their lives to live out together. Personally, I don't believe in long engagements or long dating relationships. When God brings two people together and confirms the relationship, and the two individuals are best friends, comfortable with each other and know they want to spend the rest of their lives together- I see no reason at all to wait on marriage.
Our society makes such a huge deal of sex, it's sold everywhere. But it's not the most important thing. It's just one of the many gifts God gave us to enjoy and we have to be responsible to use it in the right context, otherwise we abuse the gift he gave us all to give. Especially for teens, or singles, or those waiting for sex, it can become a big focus but sex should never be the driving focus of a relationship and it should never be the main focus either. After all, relationships arise from our longing to be with someone, to belong, to share our lives- sex does not provide lasting fulfillment to those feelings.
I really hope that everyone who wants it, can experience a wonderful marriage relationship and enjoy all the fun of sex, with no guilt about it. It may be very difficult and very tempting to give into what society tells you is no big deal and totally alright but God will tell you the truth and give you the strength to remain pure. Then, when you and your husband can give yourselves to each other in purity (including the purity arises from forgiveness of past mistakes) than you will experience a blessing where there will be no doubt about it that sex was completely and entirely worth waiting for.