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Sex is a physical way to say to someone that you are committed to them for life. That's why it becomes so messed up when we take sex outside of the marriage covenant, which includes dating and engaged couples. If you haven't vowed to each other, before God and man, to love each other until death does you part, then the physical manifestation of committed love is skewed and out-of-line. In truth, it is a lie, and lies always cause pain. The point of this article is not to shame anyone, nor is it to brag. I feel motivated to put the "cool" back into abstinence before marriage. Just like the yellow lines on the highway, God's rules show us the way to fewer regrets, and less painful experiences.
Being married, I am becoming more and more convinced of God's wisdom in requiring abstinence outside of the marriage covenant. Not only does it make sex within marriage extremely special and exclusive, it makes any thoughts of extramarital affairs that much harder to fathom if you've already been disciplining yourselves in this area. When you see sex as a gift that God has given to you, as a committed couple only, it becomes somewhat sacred.
I'm going to be blunt: it is possible for both male and female to remain virgins until marriage, even if marriage doesn't come until later in life. I know, because it happened in my husband and I's situation. I also would like to challenge the legalistic crowd that stays completely away from any romantic thought before marriage in order to stay on the safe side. Although I would never talk someone out of a decision to not kiss until the wedding day, I'd like to point out that it is possible to kiss while dating and still remain virgins until that day of commitment. Again, although it took us 9 months to have our first kiss (as well as after saying "I love you"), my husband and I can also attest to this truth. I don't regret kissing either, because it helped us connect. So, there's a gray area for you to do what you want with. Don't flirt with temptation, but realize there could be some good in not treating that person like a literal "sister" or "brother" all the way up to "I do." FYI, I would never agree to marry my brother, nor be inclined to think of him romantically.
Let's Talk About It
To talk about sex is somewhat taboo in Christian circles; I realize that. And, of course, there should be a large element of secrecy for the married couple. But, to avoid the subject in the Church all-together is not healthy. I regularly make it a practice to talk to dating friends about how things are going in this area. I encourage them to fall in love with each other's minds and love for God first. I give advice that I was given and didn't heed as a kissing couple: making out is foreplay, and makes staying pure much harder. Consider sticking to pecks until the big day, which really shouldn't be that far away from the "beginning-kissing" stage.
I sometimes rant to my husband about how ridiculous it is to put off marriage until later in life, if you can help it at all. It frustrates me when singles that want to be married don't pursue it. Temptation is legit, and it doesn't go away. We were, as a human race, designed to be unified in marriage, and make families. I say this, aware of the special single cases God has set aside for His cause, willingly or not. Of course you will be ok, and I'm not encouraging you to go crazy waiting for marriage if you desire to be married, but definitely don't put it off if you can help it.
Abstinence is Never Regretted
Sex is something to look forward to. It is an intricate, well-designed part of marriage. I believe it is a good thermometer for how healthy a marriage is as well. You have to be on the same page, emotionally, in order to have a good sex life. God knew what He was doing when He so lovingly gave us this good gift. Singles, look forward to sex with anticipation, but don't let it rule your life. Pursue marriage. Enjoy each other while dating, without stepping too far into temptation's lair. Resolve yourself to wait. And, when you do wait until your wedding day for sex, you won't regret it. I've never met someone that has.