“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
Posted by Pastor Jim Lee for “The Domain for Truth” @ https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com
Original post @ https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/pre-marital-abstinence-makes-the-married-heart-grow-stronger/#more-21622
Pre-Marital Abstinence Makes the Married Heart Grow Stronger
December 6, 2018 by SLIMJIM
Have you heard of the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder?”
For the Christian a related corollary would be “Pre-Marital Abstinence Makes Married Heart Grow Stronger.”
Christians who are in courtship: I want to encourage you to continue pursuing godliness even as you battle temptation.
Remember Pre-marital sex is a Sin
First off we must remember the Bible is clear: Pre-marital sex is a sin. And for the Christian that means abstinence from sexual activities if one is not yet in the covenant of marriage. Hear God’s Word: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6).
Packed in these verses are a lot of sobering truths. Even as you wonder what God’s will is for your life, of whether the person you are courting will be your husband or wife don’t be so caught up looking for God’s will according to your expectation that you miss altogether what is God’s will laid out very clearly for you: God desires “that you abstain from sexual immorality” (v.3). In case the readers need to know exactly what God means Paul goes on in verse 4 to say “that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” and this means being “not in lustful passion” (v.5). Lest we think these are mere suggestions or no big deal there’s a reason given why this command is to be taken seriously: “because the Lord is the avenger in all these things” (v.6a).
Again sobering words. For those of you who are Christians and are single and/or are courting someone: Is purity important to you?
Motivation: Negative and Positive Consequences
Yet I want to go on and make the point that obedience to God in this area does have its blessings. We live in a time where only five percent of women are virgins before their wedding day. It can be discouraging for both Christian men and women to go against the grain in the sex-crazed world that we live in. But sometimes knowing that obedience does bring about blessings is an additional motivation for us to pick up our cross and follow Him, even in the hard areas of live such as purity and holiness.
Negative Consequences with disobedience
Let’s begin with the stick before the carrot. I like how the King James phrased Proverbs 13:15: “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” Note that the way of a sinner is hard.
For decades now there are countless studies that has confirmed that Premarital Sex and Greater Risk of Divorce. For instance a 2011 study found that “females who first had sex in their teens had roughly double the risk of divorce later in life compared to women who had their first unmarried sexual experience in their adult years.” These studies over various decades do confirm that the sinful lifestyle of fornication does have consequences as Proverbs 13:15 stated.
Positive Consequences with obedience
At the same time those who have no other sex partner besides their spouse have a lower risk of divorce in marriage. Again multiple studies have confirmed this finding. It isn’t just marriage not ending in divorce; studies have also confirmed “In general, couples who wait to have sex later in their relationship report higher levels of marital quality.”
It’s true: Pre-Marital Abstinence Makes Marriage Longer and Stronger.
Various explanations have been given by those making these studies. For instance concerning the quality of marriage being at a higher level for those who refrain from sex in their relationship this possibility is given: “some people who are already more likely to struggle in romantic relationships—such as people who are impulsive or insecure—are also more likely to have casual sex.”
Here is also another interesting attempt at an explanation:
How can these findings be explained? It’s easiest to make sense of the low divorce rates of people with minimal sexual experience prior to marriage. Obviously, one of the most common reasons for premarital abstinence is religion, and NSFG data support such an interpretation.2 Figure 2 shows that women who marry as virgins are far more likely than other women to attend church at least once a week. It’s also noteworthy that virgin marriages increasingly became the domain of religious women between the 1980s and 2000s—and during the same years, the divorce rate for virgin brides continued to drop. These findings make sense in light of the fact that people who attend church frequently have lower divorce rates than do non-participants.
Notice the recognition of the dimension of religious beliefs at play. I think the religious dimension must not be dismissed.
There’s many more explanations being offered than I can cover in this blog post. But I like how many of these explanation note it isn’t just pre-marital abstinence miraculously making marriage stronger and longer. Much more background factors is at play.
For the Christian I think there’s another aspect to all of this of when two Christians choose to abstain from sex before marriage. Let’s be honest the temptation is real. Yet when two Christians commit to the goal of resisting temptation there is a sense in which both have forgo putting themselves first (selfishness) and put God as first in their life. Obviously selfishness is a poison to marriage but when couples display selfishness in courtship with the hard things such as sexual temptation that virtue of putting others first (God, their partner) before self is going to help that marriage. I also believe that theology is important here. As I have talked about elsewhere God is the most easiest Being to love. So if someone truly loves God he or she is able to see the good (that is, virtues) in others. That’s a plus in marriage when someone looks at their spouse and has reasons to be thankful and not just complaining. He or she is not only thankful for that person but is further thankful to God and their thankfulness to God further fuel their motivation to love their spouse since the spouse is a gift from the Lord. Furthermore if one loves God there are various attributes of God and God’s work through the Gospel that further fuels the spouse in lovingly obeying God to love and serve their spouse even when their spouse is being difficult. While not easy there is the joy in the Lord for even Christians in a difficult marriage.
Does “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” I think sometimes it does. Yet abstinence makes the heart grow fonder too. That is abstinence before marriage makes the married heart grow fonder and stronger which also means when all things are constant the marriage last longer too.
P.S. (from bruce) If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ?? Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ… https://godsmanforever.com/2016/12/19/the-gospel-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-12182016-written-by-bruce-r-mills/
To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…