Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 7 months. We talked about getting married after he finishes his Master’s degree. But for now, we are trying to remain abstinent until we get married and are finding it very hard to do. We have to repent more than we would like to and end up feeling really bad afterwards. How can we fight the temptation to have sex?
A. Congratulations for having the desire to please God. Waiting ’til marriage to have sex is not exactly the most popular sermon these days. Sex is everywhere because it sells everything from cars to chewing gum. Naturally, people are drawn to those messages. But just because it’s popular (before marriage), doesn’t make it right. And just because it’s right (abstinence) doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
It can be hard to succeed on this journey if you don’t have a plan of action. You both need to agree on strategies that will help you to avoid setting yourself up for failure.
I have four quick tips to help you with your abstinence plan:
1. Do not spend more than 5 – 10 minutes alone in each other’s home. If he’s picking you up for a date, have him wait for you outside or only allow him to come in for a few minutes to wait on you. Whatever you do, don’t plan date nights, at home alone. This will prevent the “Netflix and chill” nights that often happen unexpectedly. I know this is not a popular answer because home dates are cheap and are easy to plan. However, being home alone can get you in a lot of trouble. If you must take the easy, economical route, invite friends to join you for game night or movie night. There is safety in numbers.
2. Start a pre-marital bucket list of things you want to do as a couple and as individuals before you get married. Go back to school, train for a marathon, write a book, or learn to speak a new language are a few long-term ideas that are meant to keep you so busy that you don’t have time to think about sex. But don’t stop there. Sit down together and make a list that you both find interesting.
3. Commit to being open and honest about your feelings. When one of you is getting weak and are ready to give in, admit it and make a vow to skip date night in those moments. It’s best that you keep distance between you until you cool off.
4. Surround yourself with like-minded Christians. Volunteer at a non-profit or hangout with the singles ministry at your church. Plan group dates with friends and family who will support you and hold you accountable. But stay away from people who think your beliefs are foolish and old-fashioned. You’ll be tempted to give in if you are surrounded by people who think abstinence is impossible. They will make a game out of ridiculing you simply because they don’t think you’re being realistic.
Remember, all things are possible to him who believes. God would never command us to refrain from fornication if He didn’t believe in our ability to do it.