Love & Sexuality: Doesn’t Sexual Intimacy Bring Us Even Closer To Being Ready For Marriage?

Issue 31  //  · 

“Is it wrong to have sexual intimacy if I’m in a committed relationship and we are both serious to marry?”

Thank you for your question! It is a very common question. Many people in relationships think that since both parties sincerely intend to get married, surely there must be nothing wrong with sexual intimacy as part of their commitment to one another. After all, in the end, it’s the same, isn’t it?

However, it’s not quite so simple. Even if both parties seriously want to marry each other, until they walk down the aisle and say “I do”, there is no guarantee that they will definitely be married. Life brings surprises. Sadly, I have known engaged couples whose relationships did not end in marriages, despite their best intentions.

The Bible is also clear that the “one flesh” union of sexual intimacy is designed to be experienced and enjoyed exclusively within the covenant of marriage. Since the marriage covenant is permanent, it provides security and safety so that the couple can be “naked and unashamed” (Gen 2:25), and drawn closer together in intimacy as God had intended.

After sex, the brain release a hormone called oxytocin, it’s a chemical that induces the warm “fuzzies”, making the partners feel closer or more bonded to one another. Within a marriage, this is very useful in cementing emotional bonds and bringing potential parents closer together in preparing them to welcome a child. However, without the safety and security of marriage, this may actually be deceptive. It may cause couples to feel more “in love” than they actually are or they may ignore red-flags in the relationship as a result of feeling physically bonded.

NO AMOUNT OF PREMARITAL INTIMACY COMPLETELY PREPARES YOU FOR MARRIAGE!

Despite the thrill of casual sex that pop culture might portray, overwhelmingly the research has shown that couples who experience the highest levels of sexual satisfaction are those who are in committed, long-term partnerships. Without the safety net of marriage, sexual intimacy exposes one to unnecessary emotional and physical risks that are outside of God’s intention for us!

“Doesn’t sexual intimacy bring us even closer to being ready for marriage?”

Premarital sex is often seen as a tool for discovering sexual compatibility, in the same way cohabitation is seen to allow couple to test out marriage. Unfortunately, this is very much driven by a consumer culture where we want to test-drive products before making a commitment to purchase. However, a man isn’t a product and your relationship is not a transaction. Marriage doesn’t come with a 30-day money back guarantee and I think that’s by design! Having been married for just over four years now, I can safely say that there are many things about my husband that I didn’t know before we got married. No amount of premarital intimacy (sexual or otherwise) completely prepares you for marriage!

For many Christians, sexual intimacy before marriage brings with it the consequences of sin — guilt and shame. More than other kinds of sin, sexual sin seems to bring with it intensified guilt and shame. I’ve known couples who were sexually intimate before marriage who eventually married. However, even after marriage, some of them experienced the guilt and shame of their premarital sexual intimacy for a long time after, resulting in a less happy marriage. So, it can be said that the reverse is true, that sexual intimacy can cause couples to be less ready for marriage.

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