Engagement period 4: Engaged the world’s way or God’s way?

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Blog: Doing sex God’s way

after the curse

A couple fall in love. They get engaged. And then, in the heat of the moment, engulfed by romantic love and passion, they make love. This is an expression of lust. Lust is an emotion that interprets the feelings of love as an act of self-focused gratification. I want to own you, to possess your body. The result is premarital sexual activity.

What is the long-term outcome of lust?

Many young adults cycle between cohabiting partners in the search for lifelong marital partners.  This may represent a form of intensive dating that ultimately leads to marriage, perhaps after living with several different partners. However, no study has found a protective influence of cohabitation on marital stability.  Instead, many studies link cohabitation to a higher rate of divorce  and a lower level of marital quality  than for those who had not done so. The research also indicates that males and females differ in the expectations with which they go into a cohabitation relationship.  Females are more likely to associate the relationship with love and a step towards marriage, whereas males make the association with sex and not necessarily a prequel to marriage.

Researchers surveying more than 2000 couples  tell us that the longer a couple waits to become sexually involved the more likely they are to have better quality sex, better relationship communication, higher levels of relationship satisfaction and higher perceived relationship stability in marriage. They suggest that couples who ‘prioritise sex promptly at the outset of a relationship often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy’. This should be no surprise. When physical intimacy is the only bond between couples, the communication that forms the foundation for a long-term relationship is underdeveloped at best and, more often, non-existent.

In today’s culture where individual freedom, autonomy and self-fulfilment are the norm, it seems that in a cohabitation relationship, many women barter sex to get love and a wedding band, and men give love for the convenience of a regular sexual partner.

Sex has become the ultimate commodity.

What has God in plan for the wonderful time of our engagement?

The Bible clearly tells us to wait until marriage for sexual intimacy (Hebrews 13:4) and it repeatedly calls on God’s people to refrain from sexual immorality (Matthew 15:18–20; Romans 13:12–14; 1 Corinthians 6:17–19; and others). In the midst of the world’s plethora of seductive sexual offerings, the Bible tells us that sexual purity is an essential characteristic for holiness.

Remember, holiness means being special—being set apart for God. When it comes to sex, this does not mean we have to avoid sexual activity. Sex in itself is not unholy; God invented it. It is God’s gift to us. Sexual holiness means conducting our sexuality in a way that honours and pleases God: one man and one woman using sex to serve each other in a lifelong committed marriage. This is what it means to use our sexuality to worship God. It involves abstaining from sexual activities until marriage; and, within marriage, using sex to serve our partner, not just please ourselves.

How should you behave sexually as an engaged couple?

Let’s start with what you are looking forward to in marriage. Sex in marriage is part of a lifelong naked and no-shame relationship of total and unabashed trust. To prepare for this, the period of engagement becomes the training ground for trustworthiness and other-focused loving. The things we do when we are single men and women in the engagement period lay the very foundations of character that make us godly husbands and wives. Engagement is a time when couples should learn to:

  • Deal carefully with sexual desire
  • Set wise boundaries for intimate behaviour.

How do you do this? How will it affect you if you don’t

Come back for the next blog. Or read the book “The Best Sex for Life