Christianity teaches that sex should be reserved for marriage, that this activity should only be for a committed, married couple to share. But, many of us don’t make it to the wedding day as pure white as the wedding dress symbolizes. Many have sex, many more push the boundaries of what is appropriate, advisable or safe. So, what about those who don’t make it to marriage without succumbing to this temptation? Are we doomed to a mediocre sex life as punishment?
I have seen this question come up throughout the comments section, anonymous questions, emails and from some of my coaching clients. I’ve been meaning to write something about it for a while, and finally sat down and did it. So, here are my thoughts on the matter. As is our practice, my wife, Christina, will be putting in her $0.02 in purple.
God is compassionate
Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.
– Psalm 78:38-39
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
– Psalm 147:3
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
– Romans 5:6-9
God knows we’re prone to sin. He created us, and it’s my belief that He did it knowing we were going to fall. Yet, throughout the Bible, we see a message of compassion for the struggles we’re going to face, and promises of restoration, of salvation. I don’t think these only have to do with Judgement Day and His hope that we’ll join him in heaven. I think this has implications on our day to day life as well. It allow us to experience a little heaven on earth.
I believe God can restore us in this life. I believe that repentance and forgiveness can bring about new life, even while we still live, we‘ve experienced it in our own marriage. So, no, I don’t think we’re doomed if we have sex before marriage. However, I think there are some steps that need to take place.
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out
The first step in healing is in repentance. We need to accept that what we did was wrong. The acknowledgment of the sin is a crucial part. We need to accept that God’s plan for sex is for our own good, and when we break it, we not only damage our relationship with Him, but also we risk our own well-being. I think often, we try to rationalize it away. We say “oh, well, I was young”, or “it was only once”, or “I didn’t know it was wrong”, or “well, I ended up marrying them anyways, so it’s okay”. These are all attempts to rationalize away our sin. But we can’t rationalize them away. We need to accept that what we did was wrong. The feeling you get from acknowledging what you’ve done was wrong gives you an amazing starting point in reconciliation. It feel good to know that what this starts is the road that will get us closer to our spouse and to God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
– 1 John 1:9
The second step is confession. We need to confess that it was sin, and that we’re sorry. We need to confess to God. The Bible is clear that we can speak to God, directly, whenever we want and/or need, through Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5), and He will hear us. Not only will He hear, but is is faithful and just to forgive us.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
– James 5:16
But we also need to confess to those we’ve hurt, even if they don’t know it. I think it’s important for spouses to come clean about their indiscretions to their spouse, because, whether or not they realize it, they’re going to be dealing with it. Knowing what’s going on can help making dealing with the fallout much easier. If you have a spouse who is suffering from a ton of guilt over not being a virgin when they married, and you have no idea why they keep refusing to have sex (because of this guilt), that can cause a lot of damage. However, if you both know, it might hurt when you tell them, but in the long run, you’ll both be able to deal with it together. And that is how you grow together. It can hurt to confess, but the love of God will carry you through.
Oh, and for those spouses who have to hear this confession, I have a verse for you too:
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
– Colossians 3:13
Acceptance of forgiveness
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Lastly, and I think this is where a lot of Christians stall, we need to accept forgiveness. Forgiveness is given to all who ask, but not everyone accepts it. A lot of Christians walk around carrying this burden of guilt, refusing to let go of it. This is not what Christ intended when He came to take our burdens from us. Continuing to hold on to guilt is rejecting God’s forgiveness. It is rejecting His gift, His Son, and what Christ did for us. A continuance of guilt is a rejection of all that Christ came to do. It’s a rejection of Christ. Stop holding on to your guilt. If you’ve repented and asked for forgiveness, then accept it, and let it go. That Colossians verse above (3:13), the Greek word for “one another”, includes yourself! It might not be easy to accept it right away, you feel like you have to pay for what you did, that it can’t be so simple. Realize though, that it is! Whenever you feel guilt just remember God took it and buried it in the deepest ocean, it’s there, forgotten, so accept Christ’s gift for you and your spouse.
So, are those of us who had premarital sex doomed to a mediocre sex life? Not if we
- Repent of our sin
- Ask God and our spouse for forgiveness
- Accept the forgiveness and let go of the guilt
Are you dealing with this in your own marriage? What step are you hung up on?