Growing up I always thought sex was a big no-no. An image of a giant shaking finger with a scolding voice danced in my head. “You shouldn’t do that!” “Good girls wait!”
I maintained the mindset that God wanted to keep something from me and although I wanted to please Him, my good intentions were no match for bad temptations. When I lost my virginity in college, the race to wait was lost. My conviction to maintain my purity no longer stood on solid ground.
Fast forward to my thirties when my marriage of ten years dissolved. My relationship with the Lord had grown tremendously and I was determined to “do it right” this time. When I met my husband John it didn’t take long for me to realize that he was the one.
As a single mother with three young children my loneliness begged to be held and my willpower melted in the face of temptation. To soothe my loss, I minimized my convictions. God doesn’t really expect me to wait, does He? Everyone else is doing it.
Even so, I struggled daily with guilt and shame.
Until one day. I was wrapping Easter presents for my children when I heard the Lord speak to me.
“Christy, I have a gift for you, too.”
“Really, Lord? A gift?”
“Yes, for you and John.”
“What is it, Lord?”
“It’s a blessing for your marriage. Christy, I know you want to please me, but you’ve misunderstood my plan about sex. You’ve got it all backwards. I’m not trying to withhold something from you. I have a gift for your marriage, but the only way to receive it is to abstain.”
A gift? God has a present for me! This revelation shifted my thinking and changed my perspective. I wanted that gift. The revelation of God’s truth empowered me to resist temptation because it shifted my focus. No longer was I looking at what I couldn’t have, I looked forward to what I could have.
John and I spend the next seven months of our courtship with our eye on the prize. Instead of relying on our willpower, the revelation gave us the determination to wait. Today, we’ve been married for 16 years and I’m convinced that waiting for the gift is what has made our marriage so strong today.
My friend, if you decide to tie the knot, God has a beautiful gift for your marriage too. It’s totally worth the wait, but let me let you in on a secret. You’re not just waiting on sex. There’s more! Sex is not just about sex. God has other gifts He wants to develop in your marriage that go beyond physical intimacy. Gifts like:
Faithfulness. Integrity. Honor. Patience.
Like a diamond a relationship has multiple facets. But many times these facets never get polished because couples are hopping into bed. Then when storms come in relationships, everything tumbles down.
That’s because there is a proven order for things to be developed. When you are building a house, you can’t put the roof on until the walls are up. You can’t put the walls up until the foundation is poured.
Relationships are the same way. There is an order for things to be developed. Spiritual oneness is first, then emotional oneness and lastly physical.
Developing a spiritual oneness in your relationship is like laying a solid foundation. Next, building a strong emotional oneness gives walls that establish borders to define the parameters of your relationship. And lastly comes the physical oneness intended to be like the roof that protects from the outside elements.
If you try to put that roof on your relationship first, your walls and foundation will be compromised.
That’s what so many couples do. Their physical oneness is fully developed. They know how to please one another physically, but emotional needs are left unmet. They’re great in bed, but their spiritual oneness is malnourished. Then when the storms come, the foundation they built their relationship on cracks.
I want to share a story with you about my friend’s struggle with her own sexual integrity.
Tamara is like so many Christian women. She loves the Lord, but struggled with this issue. The commitment to purity became even more difficult after her boyfriend proposed. “What’s the harm now, the enemy whispered. You’re going to be married soon anyway.”
One Sunday in worship, Tamara felt the Lord’s conviction and she wrote these words He spoke to her in her journal.
“What do you know about being faithful? Don’t you know that you are mine? Who are you to give yourself to another man that I have not yet given you to? You are not ready to be a faithful wife until you can be faithful to ME. I am teaching you to love, honor and be faithful unconditionally, not just when you feel like it, but even when (especially when) it is inconvenient, uncomfortable and difficult. This type of love and relationship requires you to depend on the Holy Spirit for strength.”
Powerful words. I get chills every time I read them. So let me encourage you today. Don’t let the standards of the world convince you to compromise. Make a commitment to maintain your sexual integrity. God is the architect of relationships. When you trust His plans, I think you’ll agree: Sex is not just about sex and waiting does a marriage good.
Christy Johnson is the author of Love Junkies, 7 Steps for Breaking the Toxic Relationship Cycle. As a national speaker, certified life coach and soul-health advocate, Christy is bold and transparent about imparting hope to women and leading them on a journey of self-discovery to break the toxic love rut. Her captivating testimony about how Christ redeemed her addiction to love and helped her forgive the offender who was responsible for the death of her youngest son will inspire you. She is The Life of a Single Mom Ministries’ Featured Expert on forgiveness and drama-free living. For more information and a free ebook, How to Live Soul Healthy in a Toxic World, visit christyjohnson.org.
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