My last post got me thinking about a question. A question that I think needs to be answered. A question that I assume, most American’s at least, ask themselves at some point in their lives. A question that I used to ask myself a lot. It’s a question that is asked at that moment when we are first confronted with the notion of our virginity. That question is likely asked repeatedly, possibly for years, and usually up until the day we are married. The question, of course, is ….
Why wait for marriage?
It was my thoughts on Adam and Eve in the garden that got me thinking about this question. In particular, the thought on how a married couple – once their eyes were opened – had such an instantaneous feeling of shame in regards to their sexual nature. They were married and they still felt unsure of one another. And in the case of Adam and Eve, there was no need for shame. They were a faithful couple. They entered marriage as virgins. Likely, they didn’t lust after others … if only because there was no one else to lust after. But still … they felt shame.
The younger generation, our children, those who are still trying to remain pure deserve an answer to their simple, single question in regards to sex before marriage. Why should they wait? There are answers I have heard to this question, of course.
“Because sex is meant to be shared with your spouse”
“Because sex before marriage is a sin”
“Because God’s design for sex was within the contexts of a marriage”
Yes to all of these … but still, why? In the book Unchristian the author tells us that one of the reasons the younger generation is falling away from the church is because they are not being intellectually challenged. I think this topic, this question, is a perfect case in point. The answer that … sex is meant for marriage because that is the way God designed it and to engage in sex outside of marriage is a sin … is demeaning to those asking the question. This answer is the same kind we give our five year old’s when they ask us why they have to brush their teeth … ‘Because I say so’. And, at times, this answer may do the trick – if what you desire is to stop the question from being asked. But the “Why wait?” question, that will be asked repeatedly during an influential time in one’s life, simply cannot be quenched with such a pat answer.
I think we avoid answering the question on a more intellectual level for many reasons. I believe there are many people who haven’t searched for a better answer, people who would rather avoid the possibility of an awkward conversation, and others who lack the experience to know themselves. I’m ready to take a stab at a more in-depth answer. Mine isn’t the “right” answer (if one even exists). Rather, it is my view from where I now stand in Christ, balanced with a retrospection of my past.
My encouragement to you is to attempt to answer it as well. Go ahead and ask yourself the question, then determine the worth and intelligence of your answer. If your children are old enough, ask them to answer the question. Ask your spouse. And trust that there are no correct answers. Our sexual nature is holy, it’s mysterious, and that leaves each of us with some uncertainty. Don’t let uncertainty stop you from trying. The next generation needs our effort on this. I think it’s time that the societal responses to this question stop winning the argument. I think it’s time we set aside our fear of being uncomfortable. I think it’s time to let the Spirit move us to find a better answer.
My response is coming in my next post. I hope to hear answers from you as well. My answer will come from a fallen place, but I know others have answers which come from a different place. Perhaps a place of faithfulness to God’s design for sex. Or a place, not of destructive choices, but in hope found after abuse.