Premarital Sex or Divorce? | Ask Ruthie

Two Choices

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Rising Damp

I know in the Bible it says to wait until you are married to have sex. But a friend and her husband waited and when they were married they realized they had NO sexual chemistry and it was “miserable.” They were both so mad at God for letting that happen after they honored Him and waited. It resulted in them getting divorced. How do you know if God would rather you wait until you are married and potentially end up miserable or experiment before to make sure the connection is there? God doesn’t want you to have sex before you’re married but He also doesn’t want you to be miserable or get a divorce. What is the better scenario?”

This question came through my email shortly after I launched the “Ask Ruthie” page. It’s especially interesting because just the other day had a conversation with a friend where she confessed the sexual chemistry “just isn’t there”.

Stories of fearful sex or hard sex or disappointing sex are being shared online recently by women who waited. Some said they felt they were dealt a bill of goods, a false promise the church gave that sex would be ‘worth the wait’. Others have shared hardships during their first year of marriage.

In other words, this question is important. I love tough questions that show we aren’t afraid to say, “Wait a second…God are you sure that’s what you meant?”

Have you ever wondered, “What if I wait for sex and then the sex isn’t good?”

When I was in college, many would give me reasons why I was ridiculous and experimenting with sex was the only way to ensure sexual chemistry. When enough people look at you like you have two heads, you start to worry and reevaluate.

I write a lot about my journey with waiting in chapter three of Real Men Don’t Text, but for now, I will leave you with a thought: when God instructs us to do something (not have sex, tell people about Jesus, speak the truth, love one another), it usually doesn’t come with a guarantee for success. You may have heard the term, “prosperity Gospel” which refers to the belief that if we behave well, then God gives us good things (health, wealth, sexual chemistry, etc.) If you read the Bible, very quickly you’ll discover through stories like John the Baptist’s beheading, Jesus’ crucifixion, Paul in prison, and others that following Christ doesn’t guarantee a smooth ride.

In other words, waiting for sex doesn’t mean God gives you a Hollywood perfect sex life.  But waiting does give you a head start in figuring out how intimacy is designed to work.

Living in the ‘what ifs’ of life will lead you down a miserable road. What if I study my butt off and don’t get into law school? What if I kill myself and don’t get the job? What if I wait and sex isn’t glamorous?

I can’t promise sex will be perfect if you wait, but I can guarantee you won’t look back and wish you’d had more ‘experiences’, whatever that may mean for you. It’s not an either/or scenario. It’s not premarital sex or zero sexual chemistry. The same way it’s not ‘stay a virgin’ or be doomed to a life of miserable consequences.

Sexual is like anything new; you’re not going to be spectacular the first time you try it. It takes patience and practice—learning and giving. Sexual chemistry is based on many emotional factors, so if the sex is hard, something deeper is going on.

Think about it this way. What if you’d been watching marathon runners your whole life and when you finally try running—you give up after the first mile because it just ‘isn’t clicking’. Runners like me would laugh at you and say, “Give it time. It’ll get easier and easier.”

Sex is going to be different for every couple. Some will have unspeakable chemistry, others will have more trouble—just like some couples will never mention money and others will fight about finances daily.

Trying sex out with everyone you might consider marrying is likely to make marriage sex even harder. With all these other guys to compare your husband to, what if he stops measuring up? Stops performing the way you want him to?

It’s not a decision between premarital sex or divorce. It’s a decision to trust God’s heart for you and your future. He says to wait, I believe because it makes marriage sex better and less complicated. God’s not Santa Claus, granting us our every wish, but He is a good Dad.

Have you ever wondered about sexual chemistry? What has your church taught about waiting? Do you feel like perfect, easy sex is promised? LET’S DISCUSS! 

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Comments
27 Responses to “Premarital Sex or Divorce? | Ask Ruthie”
  1. Gabby says:

    Great post, Ruthie! Growing up, my church always taught us about waiting until marriage. Thankfully, the youth ministry explained that it was more than just a rule God wanted us to follow. I think understanding the Biblical purpose of sex gives an easier understanding as to why God wants us to wait. Married couples that are transparent about sex really help young people understand the spiritual benefits of waiting. On the practical side of waiting, it’s the best thing we can do because it will help us have less baggage when we get married. With 1 in 5 sexually active people having an STD, it’s extremely practical to wait until marriage! I’ve never met someone who regretted waiting.

    Thankfully, my church has many transparent married women who have discussed sex with me at length (I’m currently engaged so they’ve been giving me a lot of advice). Every married couple I know has had to work at having a good sex life. They all have said that it is worth it because it’s SO much better than pre-marital sex. Ruthie, you’re so on point with what you said about there being a deeper issue when a Christian married couple has problems in the bedroom! This is talked about in many Christian marriage and sex books.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Gabby,

      Best wishes on your upcoming marriage! I’m so glad you have older married mentors to talk to you about sex. I, too, had great women in my life and they helped alleviate my fears and concerns. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Courtney says:

    Thank you. I totally agree with this. When my husband and I first got married it took us months just to figure out what the heck we were doing but that was part of the process and it sure was fun figuring it out! It built intimacy and built up my confidence level. I am so glad that both of us started with no expectations so we could fully enjoy the experience.

  3. Lerato says:

    Thank you Ruthie,

    I have fears of one day being in marraige and being highly disappointed or disappointing… And I would really rather wait than give myself so intimately to someone who might never be my husband.

    Sometime ago I got into a relationship that was leading to pre-marital sex and it almost happened… 3 times (ashamed) and from that experience, I just knew that if I am so embarrased of a “could have been” situation, how much more if I had gone the whole 9 yards with that guy?

    God does call us to wait, and more than wanting to honour my husband (whom I do not know at present), I really want to honour God first. And it is our love for God that makes are hearts break when we fall short.

    I will wait for my husband. Even though the sex will probably be uncomfortable and probably sore at first, I think we (future man and I) owe it to each other to not give up because its not that great. That is not the only reason we’ll get married right. There’s thing (I assume) that we can do to make it work in the bedroom, right?

    Its really heart-breaking to hear that folk get divorced because the sex isnt good. Love has to go deeper than that. I believe that. What did they try? Was the sex the only basis for divorce?

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Lerato–love this: “Love has to go deeper than that.” Amen! When we base love on our own satisfaction and needs, then it’s self-centered and doomed to failure. I don’t know the whole story, but will encourage the question asker to share if she desires.

      Thanks for writing in!

  4. WOW Ruthie! I don’t believe I have ever heard it put in such a way as that. If I can’t trust Christ with the sex in my marriage then how can I trust Him to be preparing a place for me in heaven? My wife and I don’t exactly have a “Hollywood sex life” as you put it but I KNOW Christ is in our relationship. I have always been taught that if I just wait on the Lord to bring me my mate then everything else will work out just fine……. Who is to determine whats “Fine”? As you mentioned John the Baptist, some may say trusting in God worked well for him, he got beheaded. Well I say he’s still leaving an impact on people today.

    Thank you for the post. It renews my thoughts and gives me something else to work on.

    Tommy Eldridge
    Life after the Alter ministry

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Tommy,

      Glad you found my blog. Thanks for sharing a piece of your story. I love hearing from men on the site–so I hope you’ll come back.

  5. BTW: Ruthie, I found your post from the Intimacy In Marriage page on Face Book. I know I like to know how my traffic found me. Thought I would pass that on.

  6. Jennifer says:

    All I can say is that having been on the “other side” of the premarital sex fence, I wish I would’ve waited. Certain things that happened in my past sometimes still “haunt” me today. I had a few partners before getting married and I have to say that one wasn’t any better than the other. The only thing I do know is that when my husband and I had sex for the first time (and yes, it was before we were married) I knew that I’d never have sex with anyone else. No, the earth didn’t move or anything like that, but I felt that there was a real emotional connection there that wasn’t with “the others”.

    So, for those that are choosing to wait, GOOD FOR YOU!! If I had it to do over again, I certainly would have….

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for sharing. It’s hard to be honest, and I applaud your vulnerability. I urge you to live in the future and don’t let your past define you!

  7. Trish says:

    Thank you for this. I was struggling this morning with “the whole marriage” idea and I’m grateful for your reminder that God is a good Father. I’ve been in love before and remembering the wonderful anticipation of marriage/sex/kids/general togetherness KILLS me in this time of singelness. Granted, I’m only in my mid-20s but doubt and fear about God’s goodness and wisdom is constantly threatening to overwhelm me. Thanks for bringing me back to reality.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Trish–oh sister. Many can relate. Anxious thoughts can strangle out joy and peace from our lives. God is a good Dad!

    • Renee says:

      Trish,
      My heart goes out to you! It’s hard, isn’t it? I’ve been right there with you! I’m in my mid-twenties and single as well. I don’t know exactly where you’re at, but I went through a period of time when I was constantly doubting and fearing and angry, and it really threatened my relationship with God. He was faithful and stuck with me and has brought me to a much better place now. I still doubt and fear more often than I’d like, but He’s helped me to guard my thoughts and my attitude so that these moments of doubt and fear don’t take over. Not saying this is true of you at all, but my biggest problem in that tough period of time was my attitude. I realized I wanted to be mad, whiny, and self-pitying. I demanded that God fulfill my exact desire in exactly the way I wanted, rather than giving control of this desire over to Him. I was determined than I was NOT the one in the wrong and I was NOT going to change or let God change my attitude. That God was wrong for not giving me a husband and that He was the one who needed to change things before I would stop being miserable. And all that happened was that I was even more miserable and, to top it off, not at peace with God. Eventually, by God’s grace, I had inklings of a desire to have a different attitude and God answered those prayers to help me change my attitude and focus on thankfulness and joy rather than bitterness. As I said, I don’t know if this applies to you, but I wanted to at least encourage you that you are definitely not alone in this. I keep thinking I’m going to figure out this trust thing, but it is something I deal with every day and every day I need to trust all over again. Thank goodness God is faithful!

      • Trish says:

        Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply Renee! My times of fear and doubting are much less than they used to be — like you, I’ve come to the point where I realize the truth and I’m willing to fight for peace. But this is where I am today. You know how it is — fighting for truth is a daily struggle. Last week, I was hopeful and happy and thankful, but today I’m not. LOL, I wish it was easier — but then we wouldn’t “press toward the mark.”

        I keep having this funny dream — of my son. Now, I’m nowhere near marriage/pregnancy and I’m not superstitious, but this dream keeps coming and my emotions for this child are SO REAL. VERY weird. Sometimes, this fills me with hope. On days like today, I feel frustrated. Like my dreams are being dangled in front of me because I did something to make God hate me. But I didn’t. And He doesn’t. He is good. I have determined to press towards joy. Today. (I don’t know you, but you’re on my prayer list :) )

        • Renee says:

          So cool to hear someone else in the same place! And you’re totally right–some weeks (days, hours, minutes, seconds) it’s totally fine and others it’s not. And this is true for everyone wishing for something, I always remind myself that everyone has their “thing.” But it’s helpful to be encouraged by someone wishing for the same thing :) So glad you’re claiming truth in your life! I SO appreciate your prayers and will pray for you as well. And I hope your dream is soon a reality!

          • Ruthie Dean says:

            You two have no idea how happy this conversation makes my heart! I long for my readers to engage with each other! And it’s happening. You two made my day!

  8. Powerful words to explain why it’s so important to wait. As my husband and I have shared, we did not wait and it is the one decision that I wish I could change. It’s something that we talk about regularly, to our children, to teenagers we know and to our audience. This was very well written.

  9. Mônica says:

    Hi Ruthie!

    This is my first time ever on commenting on any blog, but yours is really special to me. I found you while desperately googling “emotional healing” after a recent heart breaking situation, and since then I’ve been devouring all your posts. Glad I could find the link to Andy Stanley’s videos, specially The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating. It is life changing stuff, thank you so much for letting God using you to share.
    Well, the only thing I can say about today’s post is I WISH I HAD WAITED!! I’ve only been hurt and even though I’m not a promiscuous person, the only two relationships I had (including a marriage ended in divorce) could be different in every aspect if I had heard what God tells us to do. I wonder if I’ll still get a chance to be happy in that matter, since my past keeps haunting me.

    PS: Please forgive the bad English from a Brazilian “lost” in the USA but about to go back home :)
    God bless you!

  10. Lauren says:

    This is great Ruthie! I am a high school senior, and I wrote a comment on one of your posts previously on this topic on why to wait…This post definitely spoke to me!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Lauren, I’m so glad! Please let me know of topics/posts you’d like to see on the blog.

      Will you tell your friends/school about our book? It comes out in September!

  11. Megs says:

    Oh Ruthie, this is so timely!

    A couple of days ago I read through comments on a news article about sex, and was really disheartened by the backlash against those who choose to wait. There was a lot of talk of needing to test out sexual compatibility first and of people being divorced due to getting married “too young”, and it’s bothered me ever since. Reading your post has reassured me in my decision to wait, and reminded me that my reasons are valid, and that there are others who believe the same. God is good!

    Love all of your posts by the way :)

  12. Thanks. For a great post. This is something we do need to talk about. Thank you for having the courage to write about things that nobody else dares to write about. Be blessed!

  13. Nicole M. says:

    I’m so glad you addressed this topic. As a 30-year-old single I have been celibate 8 years and while I have a history of sexual activity I hope to wait until marriage to experience it again. It’s my expectation that my married sexual life will be even more satisfying than the fornication I was involved in. At least, that was my expectation prior to reading this article! I now realize the reason we wait for sex is not to have a satisfying experience in marriage, but it’s to please Jesus. To practice holiness. I highly doubt the reason this couple divorced was due solely to an unsatisfying sexual experience. I do have the understanding that sex stems from a lot of other factors that are not physical such as communication, emotional connection, your hubby did the dishes for you that night, etc…It sounds like this couple needed maturity and a deeper understanding of covenant. Christ’s relationship to His Bride is the real demonstration of marriage and He bears with us through anything. Even when we are not intimate with Him, He does not break fellowship. I hope the woman who wrote you this letter obtains the understanding of true covenant, selflessness and endurance. Having these qualities will better guarantee her for a more satisfying marriage and maybe even sex life :-)

  14. Lauren says:

    Wow! I just love everything you write… The most convincig argument for me – and it’s a lot scarier than “no chemistry,” is one major theme I have noticed among my married girlfriends who didn’t wait (and are married to good guys)… they seldom have sex anymore. Between careers, building homes, having babies – it just isn’t a priority, they’re exhausted, etc. I’ve also overheard SO MANY males at work complaining about the exact same thing – and they are married to great women – awesome wives & mothers – but they are bored, so blatantly bored. It really makes me sad when I hear about their nights at strip clubs or when I walk into an office and they’re all gathered around a
    PC monitor (and then they do this awkward shuffle and coughing to cover their tracks, bc clearly I am that stupid). That is the reality of what I see. HUGE BUZZKILL!!! How much fun can marriage be if sex is no longer an interest or priority bc you’re “over it”?!!!!

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