Abstinence before marriage in the 21st century
by Irene smith
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Reverend Irene Smith
One of the most difficult practices to both understand and implement in a young Christian couple's life is abstinence. The bible most surely says that shall be no sexual intercourse before marriage, but beyond that it is a bit unclear as to what is acceptable and what is not.
First we must understand that when the bible was written, young women would be married by the time they were 15 years old, obviously making the issue of waiting less of an issue. So what about today? Young women go to college, date a man they will get married to for years before marriage, and this makes the concept of abstinence much more complicated.
1 Corinthians 7:1-40 explains that men are sexual creatures, and explains that each man should have his own wife because of this. A wife is to give her husband conjugal rights whenever he wants them, and that a wife no longer has authority over her body, but rather her husband does.
Now days we do not live in such a patriarchal society and this makes it unclear as to how these things should be interpreted today. If a young woman is going to college and pursuing a career, all the while being lucky enough to date a good Christian man who is faithful to both her and God, and is willing to wait for marriage in order for her to chase her dreams, then what is her responsibility to him? If he is the one God has chosen for you, and you know this, and he is waiting for you to achieve your goals before marriage, then the bible is clear that he will be your husband, and you have a responsibility to satisfy his sexual needs. A man has a lot of sexual energy that he cannot control, and though he may not act on it physically, a man whose sexual demands are not met will have impure thoughts and dreams he cannot help. The bible tells us that men need to take a wife to avoid sexual sin (1 cor. 7:2) and women who hope to adorn themselves in God need to submit to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1-22). So if a man intends to marry a woman, but is forfeiting those biblical entitlements in order to allow his future wife to chase her dreams, it is her responsibility to satisfy him as she can outside of marriage.
In what ways can this be done? As long as it does not involve breaking the hymen and Godís marriage covenant of blood, anything that pleases the patient man with his future wifeís body should be his. At this point, the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah is often brought up. But people often misread and misuse this story. The reason God was so angry with this place was not because men had anal or oral sex with their wives, but rather they attempted to have sex with the pure forms of angels (among many other misdeeds). God want a woman to satisfy her man in whatever way he desires, as made clear in many verses throughout the bible.
This has obvious reasons. A satisfied man will not look lustfully at other women. He will have fewer lustful thoughts and can devote more of his thinking to Godís will and work. Ultimately, this is for the best, and this is what God wants. However, this does not mean that every relationship should involve these actions. Couples should wait until they are sure that they are in love and that God has brought them together to eventually be husband and wife. Causal dating and early in the relationship, this kind of sexual behavior needs to be avoided to ensure that couples will not be sharing their bodies with a large array of partners. But once the a couple realizes that they will be life-long partners in union under God, that is the time it becomes important that the waiting man is kept as sexually satisfied as possible to help avoid impure thoughts and excessive sexual tension that will cloud his mind and keep him from devoting his thoughts to Godís will.
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