God is the Author of affection, so He not only sanctions but encourages it. When we believe that sexual desire is a blessing from God, we give Him the authority to make the rules as well provide us with control over those desires. Rather than reviewing all those guilt, dysfunction, remorse, and loss of respect , let us just say that if we step out of the boundaries of His Ten Commandments, someone will get hurt, but by staying within those, everyone is safe.
You will also find some mature subject matter, so prepare yourself. If you are uninformed about sexual function, find a trusted adult to share that information with you. The more intimate ready-for-marriage education will not be a part of this book, as it should be learned just a couple weeks prior to your wedding see number six below.
Encouragement Before we jump into specific tools, you should know that for your marriage to reach its highest potential, your physical relationship must be nurtured along just like the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional, though not at the exact same time. Every facet must develop at just the right time in relation to the others.
You must be affectionate before marriage — bummer ;-. Affection is best treated like any other area that requires self-control—such as appetite. In fact, affection actually is an appetite. When dieting, most people: If you desire to please God and respect each other, a similar course can be effective.
Begin by making mutual commitments with accountability, pacing, setting limits, as well as learning, and avoiding, anything that may unnecessarily increase temptation either direction , all of which renders success.
Mutual Commitment Once you begin a physical relationship, the first practical tool in maintaining purity is to bow together before the Throne of Grace and make a covenant with God, and each other, to maintain your desired purity according to His biblical guidance while avoiding anything that will tempt one another. Ask Him for temperance and His timing with everything in the relationship.
Continue to pray together about your physical interactions throughout, asking God to strengthen you to His glory and honor. When it gets really tough, a written and signed contract can be a helpful reminder, memento, and accountability tool.
Accountability Hold each other accountable, but more than that, solicit the accountability of your advice-couple. Ask them to frequently hold you accountable, and make yourselves accountable to them—literally, verbally. When engaged, they should ask whether you have upheld your values as often as every week. Your answer is important but more importantly, behavior tends to follow the level to which you are held accountable by others. If your couple is not committed enough to keep up their end of the bargain, they cannot help you.
Keep them accountable, or switch advice couples, if the first is not asking. Should you begin having serious difficulty with temptation and most do , you can take the signed contact one step further by, this time between you two and your advice couple, stating that you will not be alone together.
Christians often avoid the topic of sex and temptation, particularly the older generations, because sexual revelry in the world makes us uncomfortable, or it has just been taboo for too long. Anyone married was once courting and engaged.
They know the desires and difficulties of a progressing relationship. It does not get easier as time goes on. If you are around these key people at all, they likely have a pretty good idea where you are physically, what is and is not going on between you. They will see telltale signs of over-advancing affection, even if they are trying not to observe, behaviors that you would not pick up on in your youthful experience.
When we elders ignore those signals or blame our negligence on privacy while knowing how difficult it is to stay pure, we sadly set you up for failure. Comfortable or not, humbling or not, one of the biggest keys to success is opening this accountability-conversation with your advice couple.
Many youth leaders try to define exactly what sexual activities are permissible and when—without sinning. Purity is not about how close you can push the envelope. As difficult as it might be when in love, this is an important line of defense, and it can be done. See chapter on lust. As mentioned before, sin is not the temptation itself but how the temptation is handled.
If you are sorely tempted before marriage and you choose to move closer to that temptation, is there sin? I would suggest yes. If you are sorely tempted before marriage and you physically and mentally move away from that temptation the minute it hits you, have you sinned?
Here is my paraphrase of I Corinthians Man is the head of the house, the priest before God and his family, the protector of His charge. Need I expound on whose ultimate responsibility it is to maintain purity? Though Eve sinned first, God held Adam responsible.
This in no way excuses a woman for her actions or choices. She is certainly responsible for her decisions as well. Ladies, in all fairness, here are a few things to ponder in order to be considerate to your guy.
He is doing the best he can to keep purity in the relationship, so reward him with the support he deserves. What does that mean? Guys are very visually oriented. It means he is a man. For a better understanding, read our modesty article. When I bring up dress reform, the first thing I hear is that dressing modestly feels funny.
I grew up in the seventies when tight clothes and bellbottoms were the fashion. Then sloppy, baggy clothes became popular. I have gone from one extreme to the other. Comfortable is what you tell yourself you will wear for at least the three months it takes to adjust. When one young lady came into Christianity out of the fashionable, secular world, she tossed all trends aside wearing only long skirts and very modest tops, deciding not to change that trend until she married.
A fashion revolution in Christian young people would make an amazing impact on society and church alike. Consider being fair to your Christian guy. If it seems impossible to find modest apparel in a modern store, go retro by visiting second hand stores—we are all about retro here.
Consider dressing, and acting, as though you will not only die for Christ but live for Him and as though you really care about the soul-salvation of the guy you are dating. Planning to avoid temptation When together. Thus Satan thought to prevail. By this policy he had gained the victory over men. When strength failed, and the will power weakened, and faith ceased to repose in God, then those who had stood long and valiantly for the right were overcome.
Thus Satan has taken advantage of the weakness of humanity. You will have the best success by planning your social activities carefully, planning to plan, and not being too spontaneous without a plan. Are you picking up that some brain work is involved here?
As mentioned before, the work of a relationship has to happen and the more you do before marriage, the less you do after. Plan ahead for times you will be vulnerable. Before you put yourself in any situation, go on a date, get into a car alone together, or launch into any activity, analyze if you are tired or if there is some other contributing factors toward weakness. Recognize how stable, or unstable, your defenses are at that moment. If in less than perfect form, come up with an alternate plan such as inviting another couple along, cutting the evening short, taking a nap ahead of time, or fixing the problem that makes you more vulnerable.
Obviously, praying together before going anywhere or doing anything is a wonderful tool. Since passion intensifies exponentially with time and relationship, you may come to a point that, if you want to maintain purity, you should just never be alone. So, what do you do when you have a predetermined vulnerability yet you really want to or have to be alone. If you are having trouble remaining pure, agree not to touch each other at all.
Not only will it increase your alone-time in public, it will make others feel more comfortable, because they will know when they are or are not interrupting your moments. For purity sake, satisfy the need for alone-time with someone else in the room. When you are with each other, your senses present the biggest temptation. We do like thinking about our beloved, but if you find your thoughts drifting to the physical, it can lead to unhealthy behaviors and habits that go against the biblical concept of purity.
Of course, going to the Bible when you find your mind dwelling too much on a tempting subject is a great idea. And yes, you should pray. But the thoughts worm their way into that, too. This is not to discredit the strength we receive from whole-hearted, sincere and submissive prayer to God—we encourage that—but practical tools will help.
One of the most successful tools for controlling thought processes, when all you can do is think about him or her, is to remember that the time will come when you no longer need to put it all off. In other words, if you marry, you can act.
If you need a distraction, build a model, begin memorizing the Bible, learn an instrument, write a book, call some friends, meet one for lunch, or launch any project that can be picked up at any time without delay if your mind wanders the wrong direction.
Physical activity also helps--hiking, jogging, or productive physical work. From a physiological point of view, exercise helps disperse the chemical energy that could be used awry. Senses can overwhelm you when away from each other as well, especially if you choose to expose yourself to unnecessary visual temptations: This takes your experience beyond that of temptation to sin.
Limit your exposure of these things to none. Protect your senses whether together or apart. Identify consequences for failing to maintain agreed upon rules, whether you actually pushed the line or just put yourself in a position to push the line, have a list of consequences. These are just some examples. Make these significant consequences, but reasonable, and again, hold each other accountable.