This thought of sexual purity and marriage has come up twice in the last couple of months, and it has stuck with me.
The first time a pastor shared that he and his wife got married because they were spending so much time together and people wanted their relationship to look right.
The second time I was talking to a friend who had a similar experience. He was told to get married because he and the young woman was having sex and it was the right thing to do.
The first couple is still married today but is open about the struggles they encountered because they weren’t prepared to be husband and wife. They just wanted to please God and followed the instructions of the couple that advised them to get married. The second couple is no longer married because like the first couple no one taught them how to be husband and wife just told them to get married.
As I reflect on both stories, I think of how dangerous it is for us to encourage people to get married solely because of sex. (I am not condoning or disapproving of sex before marriage… that’s a different story for a different day.) Marriage is not built on sex and purity is not only sexual.
I was talking to my divorced friend from earlier and said to him it’s about being pure in all things, not sex. Being pure in what I put in my body and what I consume visually, etc. There’s more to it than sex. As I type this, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a friend who is was trying not to have sex with her boyfriend. For her, God was trying to cultivate self-control. Self-control isn’t the only trait God could be trying to work on it could be unfulfilled loneliness, pride, self-centeredness, etc.
I think we as the church have to take responsibility for this horrible advice we give young couples. But Jasmine the Bible says “it’s better to marry than burn!” (1 Corinthians 7:9) It also says men should love their wives the way God loves the church. (Ephesians 5:25) If he isn’t prepared to do that sex doesn’t matter. It also says wives submit to your husband. (Ephesians 5:22) If she isn’t ready to do that the marriage isn’t going to be healthy.
I want to offer an alternative. I want us to instead focus on teaching people how to bear fruit. If we teach and show people to bear the fruit of the spirit, they’ll be more prepared for marriage. I’m concerned for the church in this area. We must change the conversation and stop leading couples to a decision they are not ready to make.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” -Galatians 5:22-24
God is good y’all! Happy September!