I had my first child when I was eighteen and unmarried. I had a twisted view of what intimacy was supposed to look like. Ten years later, I want to share with others my perspective, how it’s changed, and why I want anyone at any age to see how important intimacy is.
First, let me start by saying–I never in a million years thought that I would be sharing the things I have to say. That I would feel the way I do now about intimacy and that I would say: I was wrong. I have no regrets, but I was wrong to think that intimacy before marriage was ok. I was wrong to think that it wouldn’t affect the rest of my life. My son is beautiful, he is cherished, and I wouldn’t send him back or wish him away. Not in the slightest. I know now that the reason I had to go through what I did, learn what I did–was so I could hopefully help others see the CORRECT perspective from the other side.
So what did I believe back then? I shared the view of the world and society by thinking there was nothing wrong with intimacy before marriage. I thought then that it was natural and right. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that at least 50% of young people today believe the same. This is crippling to me. I was so blind back then! I wish that I had looked more to Jane Austin for advice instead of Cosmo. So, what was my excuse? I was in love. Was I really? Yes, by my definition at that time in my life–I did love the person I was with. I needed to feel loved and I was willing to do just about anything to keep the love I felt, and I believe my partner felt the same.
So when did I change my mind? It wasn’t over night. It has been a slow (incredibly slow) molding and reshaping of my heart and mind. The first change happened when I realized me being intimate was more about my partner wanting control instead of love. Slowly, I started to feel empty. I started to feel like what I was doing made me feel worse instead of better. It made me have serious issues with self image. The second thing that changed was when I learned I had to first forgive myself and then ask God for forgiveness, before I would ever feel better. Before I would be able to feel like a whole person again. The third change happened years later, when I realized that because I wasn’t changing my actions (repentance)–my heart wasn’t healing despite the forgiveness. Lastly, I started to question why as a married woman with two children did it still seem like intimacy before marriage from years past was hindering my relationship with my husband? This was the biggest shift in my thinking. It took nearly SEVEN years to come to the realization that one small (what I thought was inconsequential) choice would shape the rest of my life and would continue to shape my marriage for the rest of my life.
So what would I want my teenage self and my adult self to know about intimacy before marriage?
1 / Intimacy changes EVERYTHING. It changes every aspect of every relationship you will have with your mate for the rest of your life. (Yes, virginity for men is just as sacred and important as it is for women.) It changes the way you think about having children. It changes the way you think about men/women PERIOD. It changes the way you think about other people when you are married. It changes the way you think about yourself. It changes the way you feel about God.
2 / Intimacy should be sacred and saved for one and only one person. Don’t test the water, don’t even put your toe in the water. That is not the way God intended it. That is why man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Gen 2:24 He didn’t say two, he didn’t say three–he said ONE. So scientifically in our bodies WHY does it make a difference?
Vasopressin – The bonding neurochemical for men, produces bonding with women who they have close and intimate physical contact as well as bonding between fathers and children. Again, vasopressin is value-neutral. It is produced in healthy and unhealthy sexual behavior. The man who goes from sex partner to sex partner is causing his brain to mold and gel so that it eventually begins accepting that sexual pattern as normal. The complicated processes of the brain are designed to lead toward and strengthen long-term monogamous relationships, supporting and reinforcing the family structure that is so vital to our survival. However these chemicals and process are value-neutral and can produce involuntary responses that result in all kinds of behavior, including activities that are dangerous or unwise. -“Hooked” by Joe S. Mcilhaney Jr. & Freda Bush
In a nutshell: each time we are intimate with someone, the bond that we are INTENDED to have with our one mate is watered down more and more. Which later causes other problems in your relationship because your bond isn’t as strong as God intended it to be–because you have bonded with others instead of just one.
3 / Don’t act on a FEELING, act on TRUTH. There is “perceived” truth and then there is actual truth. What I believed as a teen was “perceived,” what I know now is actual truth. The perceived truths made me believe that as long as I had feelings for someone, they deserved my love and they deserved my intimacy. The truth is, our feelings BETRAY US. Thoughts and feelings will entangle us and lead us down the wrong path. Only truth will lead you down the correct path.
4 / Do not let a person define you. You are made in the image of God, and he designed you for a specific purpose. He should always be the one to define you and your life. I know that when you are down, hurting, and looking for love–you can mistakenly think that one person will make you feel better, your best, or complete. It’s the opposite! No one person can bring you the fulfillment that you need. Only when you let God be the ONE who your life depends on can you find someone who you are equally yoked with to be your partner, to compliment each other–but not replace God’s primary place in your life or control each other.
5 / It is never too late. So what if you are at a point in your life where you have already been intimate and you wish you could go back and erase the past and start over? You can start over, but you can’t erase the past. God gives us free-will for a reason. We are in a rut until we learn what we have to learn to get out of that rut. So how do you start fresh? First, forgiveness: forgive yourself and ask God for forgiveness. Second, repentance: you cannot have a clean slate unless you walk away from intimacy and make the commitment to wait for the one person who you will spend your life with in marriage. IT WILL BE HARD. It is not easy to shift gears and to start over. But, if you want your marriage to be blessed and your relationship to be what God intended–celibacy before marriage is vital. Third, pray: pray that God will break the bonds that you created with others in the past, pray that God will strengthen and renew the bonds with you and your mate, and pray that your bond with your husband/wife will be UNBREAKABLE.
So what do you do if you are married and you feel like previous intimacy is hindering your relationship? This is the HARDEST friends. It really is. There is not one answer for this scenario. Each couple will have different struggles, different areas where they need healing, renewal, and grace. My advice to you is to take time to dig into scripture and look for TRUTH about what to do for your situation. Then pray for; understanding, healing, and a renewed relationship. Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek guidance from another believer who you can trust to get help when you need it. There is never any shame in asking for help. Chances are, God will lead you to a person who has been through similar circumstance and will understand what you are going through.
This is a hard topic you all. It’s a controversial topic. It’s something that can break people apart. My prayer today is that you will take these words that took a lot of courage for me to write and you will process them. Don’t be quick to judge. Don’t be quick to think of these things in a negative light. Most of all, seek scripture for the truth on your own, don’t just take my word for it. This is my perspective. This is my belief. This is intended to help those who needed to hear it. God gives us the experiences we have to later help others who are in need of understanding. I hope this has helped at least ONE person who needed to hear this today.