After my fiance proposed to me in August, I was inspired to write a series based on what the Lord is teaching and showing me before getting married. A lot of what I have previously talked about was based on pieces of truth I had learned from books and pre-marriage counseling. However, there is one topic I have been putting off that actually inspired this whole series, the topic of sexual temptation.
Growing up in the church, the idea of sexual temptation and sin was engrained in us. The bible talks heavily about the sin of sex before marriage (Hebrews 13:4) and refraining from enticing sexual practices before the set time of marriage (Song of Solomon 2:7). I had a simple understanding of sin. I knew what the bible said, what Jesus did on the cross and how living a life with the Lord was living a life of mercy, grace and forgiveness, no matter what.
Although, I feel like I could write an endless amount on this topic regarding what i've learned from pre marriage counseling, books, friends etc.... I think what really caught my attention, was how wrong and narrow minded my original ideal was on the topic of sex, especially now being engaged.
I fully agree with the purity talks I had the privilege of hearing growing up, however they instilled a somewhat terrified sense into me. Sex = Sin. Done. I'm not going to lie, I am a human and yes i've had my fair share of struggles with desire and temptations, who hasn't? I hated it, I thought having those thoughts, those desires, were completely wrong and needed to be confessed and defeated... imagine how I felt when I got engaged and those desires skyrocketed!
I was out of my mind with confusion. I am engaged to be married, sex is okay after you're married, but not before you're married, but.... i'm preparing to get married... right after I get married, we have the wedding night... which is scary because I don't know what to expect, so maybe we should talk about the wedding night before it happens? But I don't want us to have those thoughts and temptations because they are impure and not okay! right? Back and fourth, back and fourth.
In the beginning, I really worked on trying to not go down that road, avoiding temptation completely. I focused on other things, wedding planning and work. For a while, it went well... then the inevitable happened... my natural instincts kicked in *gasp.* As the months passed, Justin and I were growing together, learning more and more about each other. The closer Justin and I grew to each other the more I found myself desiring him... Naturally.
It wasn't until I had a simple conversation with my mom that changed everything. She asked about desiring my soon to be and dealing with its temptations. I told her it was a struggle and didn't know what to do. She immediately reassured me that those thoughts and feelings were completely normal and actually necessary. She told me she was actually beginning to worry because I had never brought it up before hand. I'm probably the only one who was completely blown away by this new information.... It was actually okay to feel this and talk about it? What?!
Looking back on this moment, it makes perfect sense. Justin and I talked about being engaged before actually becoming engaged. He and I talked about where our hearts where and how we felt the Lord really blessing this idea. Justin and I also talk about getting married before marriage (obviously.. we aren't married just yet! eeeks, so close!). Being engaged has allowed time to plan, it has also allowed us time to learn who we really are and what being married biblically looks like. So doesn't it make perfect sense to talk about the wedding night as well?! To not be ashamed or feel guilty of these desires before the night, but understand what it is and that it is created by God.
We are built to desire our significant other in this way, it is the Lord's gift to us. The difference is how we act on these desires. We shouldn't be completely on one side or the other (being terrified or jumping into premarital impurity) but have a healthy middle. We should be able to talk about these things with our future significant other openly and honestly. Trust me, they are going through the same things, if not worse. It always helps to know you're not alone.
If I had to sum up the biggest blessing regarding my time of engagement, this would be a top. Saving sex until the wedding night is still our top priority. Understanding that these desires are of God, has allowed us to be able to freely talk and prepare our hearts for God's gift after marriage. We don't really know what to expect but knowing where each of us stands, our fears, anticipations, and expectations has allowed us to be on the same page. Knowing that sex isn't just a feeling, but the sealing of a covenant made between us and our loving God.
So to those who are engaged, about to be engaged or who are in a similar boat, just know its completely normal and okay! This is something the Lord has put in us. Being able to talk out, pray, and be on the same page is such a blessing. I firmly believe that God uses the time of engagement to shape our hearts in all aspects for marriage, including the wedding night. I mean, I think its a really good sign if you're attracted to your significant other ;) These desires are glimpses of something incredible strictly between you and your spouse. It was created by our God to combine two into one united body (Gen 1:22-24).
That being said, from what I have concluded, the temptations during engagement are a lot different than in a dating situation. Refrain from giving into the thought that you are going to marry this person anyways, what does it matter to wait? God created this for the wedding night. Don't jump his plans. Be open and honest with your future spouse, commit to surrendering it all to the Lord until the intended time. The desires seem to become stronger, but don't give into it. I can't stress it enough, save it all for the wedding night. That is when God intended it. Justin and I still struggle and have to enforce limitations to avoid these temptations, especially so close to the wedding date. However, we know it will be worth it when the time comes. ( I recommend a short engagement ;) )
I suppose this was just a small tid bit of a very large subject, but one I really wanted to share. God is a God of forgiveness, love and mercy. No matter what point of temptation we have fallen into, it is never too far to be made clean and pure again. If this is an area of struggle, be open and honest with your significant other, have accountability and lean on the Lord for strength, He loves us and is our refuge. ( Psalm 46) Aside from how this gift has become perverted by the sin in the world, it is a gift from God nevertheless and is good when used as he has intended, in marriage. (Song of Solomon)
We have read a few books including our pre marriage book that have given us incredible biblical insight and really explained what the wedding night means, here are the links to them. I highly recommend reading them!
1. Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller
2. The Act of Marriage by: Tim and Beverly LaHaye