How do I manage sexual temptation in my relationship?

How do I manage sexual temptation in my relationship?

Asked by Kim

My boyfriend and I are both Christians and got saved on the same day last year.  We have been together for almost 2 years.  We are fully committed to each other and are just waiting to finish school to get married.  Before we were saved we were sexually active together but have since been working very hard at stopping this because we know it is not pleasing to God and will make that gift He reserves for marriage less special once we are married.  We have been pure in that sense for about 4 months now, but we constantly struggle with fooling around.  We have friends keeping us each accountable and we truly desire to have a God-honoring relationship.
However, I am starting to become concerned that ignoring my sexual urges and emotions until we are married (approx. 2 years) will extinguish those emotions in me and I will be so used to ignoring them that once we are married that sexual desire will no longer be there.  Is this a legitimate concern?  Even though we are fully committed to each other, is it still wrong to partake in ANY sort of sexual acts, such as fooling around?  How would you suggest we deal with our situation?  Thank you for your time and advice!

Let me start by saying how encouraging it is to hear that you have given your lives to the Lord and are taking his life-giving word seriously.  What you are doing in refraining from sex is very difficult; God knows this and he is pleased with you. Such obedience in the face of hard temptation build the sort of faith and character that God wants in his people. And long after you ahev both been married, such testing and growth will put you in a good position to weather the other tsts and temptations that will come your way.

Regarding your concern that you will extinguish your sexual emotions – the first thing to say is that we can trust God’s good design for our lives. He has said that sex is to be reserved for marriage, so you can be confident that you will not harm yourselves by keeping that command. Why not look on this next two years as an opportunity to work hard on communication, and enjoying one another’s company in completely non-sexual ways?  Once you are married, you will find that the time you have invested into your non-sexual relationship will really pay off, because there will DEFINITELY be times in marriage when your sexual desire will wax and wane. Husbands need to learn how to show non-sexual affection, because over the course of a marriage that might go for 60 years or more, there will be more to your relationship than sex. So my advice is to take a long term view.  The two years will seem like a very long time while you are going through it, but then you’ll blink and you’ll have been married for ten years, like me.

As far as “fooling around” is concerned, it will not actually help you to keep the smouldering passion going.  It will only make you (and probably more so your boyfriend) frustrated, because when a guy gets excited he just wants to go all the way. So you should set clear boundaries on what you do – for example, no clothes off, no closed doors, spend most of your time in public places, and basically keep the physical stuff to holding hands and kissing on the cheek. I know it sounds difficult, but just remember – 60 years!!

The final thing to recognise is that while you may have the desire to remain pure, you still have a sinful nature that is at war within you and you will fail. Don’t let this get you down, simply seek God’s (and your boyfried’s forgiveness) and keep trying. Nor see it as an excuse to sin but rather as a reality of this world that makes you look forward to the perfection of the next.

I have prayed for you, and look forward to hearing (somehow!) that you are happily married.

God bless.

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