by Elise Ellsworth
Would you want to participate in an activity which made it more likely you would be depressed? Commit suicide? Live in poverty? Fail in school? Have an unhappy marriage? Contract uncomfortable diseases? These are some of the outcomes that have been linked to having sex before marriage. Yet, each year millions of teens and young adults choose to engage in sexual relations before marriage, often without forethought as to the effects this could have on their futures. Whatever your past, decide now to steer clear of sex until marriage – you will be happier in the long run.
There are currently 10,000,000 married adults in the United States who waited until marriage for sexual relations. And these married adults had some secrets I would like to share. Secrets to remaining sexually pure. In order for water to be purified it must pass through a number of different stages to remove varying levels of impurities. But the feeling of drinking a glass of clean, clear water is incredibly refreshing. You would not want it any other way. Keeping a relationship pure will also require multiple layers of diligence but it’s worth the work. Here are some steps for keeping your relationships clean until marriage.
BE MODEST Modesty in thought, behavior and dress is the first step towards abstinence. It screens out partners who could be a potential problem, and who are most interested in immediate physical gratification. I once read that a woman who dresses provocatively is figuratively throwing raw meat in front of a lion. She is advertising her willingness to be promiscuous. You can make yourself attractive and beautiful in a modest and dignified way.
Thought leads to behavior. Be modest in thought. Don’t fill your mind with pornographic images from the screen or from trashy romance novels. If you haven’t made a choice to avoid these things, do so now. Set standards of what you will read in books and watch in movies. These images can decrease your ability to have a normal marital relationship.
MAKE YOUR INTENTIONS CLEAR Of course you must commit to yourself that you plan to not have sexual relations until marriage. But to avoid frustration, make your intentions of waiting until marriage clear to the person you date early on. If they really like you, they will probably see this as challenging and attractive.
DRAW BOUNDARIES IN ADVANCE Any good game needs rules and boundary lines. Successful couples set boundaries in their physical relationship. No french kissing. No touching sensitive body parts. I had a roommate who would not kiss at all. I thought she was extreme, but she is now happily married with a lovely family. Set a high line. When we were first dating my husband took the initiative in making these guidelines. This fortified my trust in him and has thus made him immensely more attractive to me. Setting boundaries simply makes the game more fun.
BE ACCOUNTABLE Games are also more fun if you have a rule keeper or referee. It is important to get someone else on board in your mission. We met with a bishop from our faith as needed during our engagement. These meetings were a good chance for us to check in with someone who was totally on board with our goals. Find a trusted older adult who is interested in the success of your relationship. Report regularly on your progress in remaining sexually pure.
AVOID COMPROMISING SITUATIONS Steer clear of situations where you will be alone, especially at night. Empty apartments, bedrooms, dark cars, late nights, basements – try to avoid these. Instead, double date, triple date or stay places with lots of people – restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, jogging, golfing, dancing, skating rinks, ski slopes. Plan fun dates where you won’t be alone and you will avoid the temptations that accompany deserted territory.
Once you get married you are home free! You now have a relationship based on mutual trust and commitment. A relationship where you have proven your ability to do hard things. Now you can enjoy sex and marriage more than anyone else. So enjoy dating, but set high standards. It’s worth the wait.