Most unmarried people are having sex, and the majority of contemporary folks would probably agree that having sex before marriage is not only acceptable, but the norm. So, if that is the case, why is it important to get married, and what harm does having premarital sex do to a married couple?
Marriage is a public commitment to another person that takes the relationship to an entirely different level. Sex doesn’t require either person to have any real investment in the relationship. Yes, they are having sex, which is an investment of sorts. But it is not a bonding commitment. If you are just having sex, there is no obligation to stick together through thick and thin, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Marriage deepens the level of commitment, and, as a result, the intimacy of the sex becomes much deeper.
What Harm Does Premarital Sex Do?
There is some truth to the notion that how you begin is where you will end. In other words, if you begin without honoring the importance of marriage as a pre-requisite for sexual intimacy, then you will find yourself in a marriage that doesn’t honor the boundaries of marriage itself. This applies not only to sex before marriage, but also to sex outside of marriage. But beyond the sex itself, if a commitment to marriage is not of first and greatest importance, then what reason do you have to think that the sanctity of the marriage will be most important in the future?
The Effectiveness of Ceremony
The ceremony of a wedding is a powerful reminder of the solemnity of the vows being taken. It is an honoring of each other that goes beyond the physical. A ceremony puts the focus on the spiritual bonds being tied. Without a ceremony, that focus is lost. Yes, two people can have their own ceremony alone. But the power of a public ceremony is the statement it makes to the world ̶ and to your spouse ̶ about your commitment.
Choices about Beginning
So … what do you want to characterize your marriage? The wedding ceremony can focus on what matters most to you as a couple. In this way, it sets into stone a picture of the relationship to which you are committing yourselves.
A ceremony calls us to the ecstasy of relationality that marriage looks to, hopes in, and is infused by. Whatever difficulties you encounter in the future will be trumped by the ideals and hopes in which you have publicly rooted your relationship.
Alternatively, you could inaugurate your relationship with sex and therefore characterize it by a lack of commitment to the beauty and discipline of marriage.
Sex is appealing ̶ there’s no doubt about that. But marriage must be allowed to be bigger than sex. To honor marriage first, and sex second, is to ensure that sex takes its appropriate place in the relationship, which is behind, and subservient to, the marriage itself. Waiting to have sex until you are married ensures that this hierarchy is established. It seals your relationship forever, rooting it in the promise of marriage, and not simply in the pleasure of sex.
Take Advantage of Christian Counseling in Preparing for Marriage
Or you can contact any one of our Christian counselors. Bellevue Christian Counseling has trained counselors who can help you to ensure that you build a proper and lasting foundation for your marriage.
Images from Flickr Creative Common, Licsence (CC BY 2.0): ”Asking for Forgiveness,” courtesy of Vic; “leaves-tree-spring-growth.jpg,” courtesy of r. nial bradshaw.