Is Sex Before Marriage a Struggle?

If you are engaged to be married, and you find yourself struggling with having sex before marriage, I have three words for you: You. Are. Normal. Because of the love and commitment that you have for your partner, and in this run-up to your marriage, if you weren’t struggling with sexual desire for your soon-to-be spouse, I would say that something is wrong!

And, I want to affirm you in your struggle. Many engaged couples aren’t struggling with the issue at all because they have chosen to be sexually active before marriage. Because of our culture’s influence on sexual morals and values, outside of religious communities and families rooted in traditional sexual morals, there is almost complete silence on why couples might choose to abstain from sex before marriage.

So in your case let me clearly say that your struggling with sex before marriage does not mean that something is wrong. In fact, it means that something is right.

Choosing to save sex for marriage is a bold and wise choice! You already know that it’s not easy! You are likely experiencing plenty of temptations, urges, “white knuckle” moments, and cold showers. At your weakest moments, you might be wondering if the wait is worth all of the sexual frustration. After all, you are going to marry your partner, right? Eventually, you are going to have sex with him or her, right? Why wait?

Truly, abstaining from premarital sex is one of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse on your wedding night. Your partner knows how difficult the waiting has been, and the gift of your sexual purity will speak volumes about your love and commitment to them.

Saving sex for marriage isn’t about God wanting to restrain you from experiencing the pleasures of sex. It’s about honoring God and His design for sexuality; that it is to be expressed within the context of marriage. We want God’s blessing on our marriage, but so many of us struggle to follow God’s guidelines for sex. Obedience has a sacrificial cost, but obedience to God’s standards for sex (becoming one with our spouse) also comes with favor, blessing, and the opportunity to maximize intimacy. In waiting, you honor God while protecting your heart from unnecessary pain and minimize the baggage you carry into your marriage.

There’s no doubt that these words might be troubling for you if you and your partner are sexually active now, or have been in the past. But no matter what your past or current circumstance is, it’s never too late to change course. It might be more difficult for you, but I believe that you can choose to abstain from sex for the duration of your engagement, and pursue sexuality in the way God intends. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

For the sake of your marriage, embrace the struggle! I guarantee that you will be glad you did!

For more detailed information on sexuality and other topics related to preparing for you marriage, my friend Jim Burns, and I have written a new book that we hope will prove to be very helpful as you embark on the journey of marriage. In addition to sexuality, our book, Getting Ready for Marriage: A Practical Roadmap for Your Journey Together covers important topics like communication, conflict, finances, in-laws, marriage expectations, and more.

Additionally, we will release two additional resources to help you prepare for marriage in the coming months: The Getting Ready for Marriage Communication Online Tool, and our Getting Ready for Marriage Workbook. Visit for more information about these resources.

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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