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Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage

I would appreciate your thoughts on my situation, from a Christian perspective...

My boyfriend and I have been seriously dating for a year and a half. We've been talking marriage for the past year. He's 20 and I'm 23. In the recent months, we've discussed weddings and at first, we said it might be good to wait two years to get married, but then after contemplation, the idea of next year came up. Either way, here's my dilemma. We're both Christians and purity is important to us. A little more so for me, than for him though. In the past few months we've been really struggling with our physical boundaries and while we talk about not being as sexual, nothing really changes. 

So here's my question... In your opinion, is it better for a young couple like us to ignore and/or work out issues like school, lack of stable jobs, etc., and get married as soon as possible to avoid making mistakes sexually, or is it smarter to wait a year or two and hope for the best, or deal with whatever mistakes might occur? My family and friends thinks he is too young to get married, and we certainly have our issues that have to be worked out, but I know that dating for even a year is going to be risky for us. 

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage

  • Different people of faith have come down on different sides of these questions at different times and places.

    In the Jewish tradition, once a couple decides to marry, they should marry quickly, partly to avoid the temptations you're dealing with.

    In the Salvation Army, at least once upon a time, officers who decided to marry were stationed apart for a year, to see if they were really serious. The Salvation Army is a Christian organization in the Holiness/Wesleyan tradition.

    Historically among Christians, people have married young and pretty quick, and accepted financial support from one or both sets of parents, if necessary. In some Christian communities even today, newlyweds don't get their own homes. People live in 1 household of many generations.

    IMO, there can't be a universally "right" solution to your dilemma. I'd suggest early marriage, which is not a sin, over sexual immorality, which is a sin. But do not get married just to have sex. And do not get married to fix problems in your relationship.
  • This has to be something the two of you decide. I've never been the kind of person that felt the need to wait for anything until I was financially ready because if I did that, there would always be something holding me back... Then again, we were 26 and both had good, stable jobs, too. You need to make sure that you are absolutely certain that he is the one for you if you do decide to get married soon. If you're sure, the money/school/etc. thing can work itself out.

    That being said, if you would rather wait a few years but are concerned about purity issues, there are things to help with that. You could make sure you are never alone together (i.e. group dates, hanging out with families or friends together, etc). I know that seems extreme, but it would definitely help if purity is important to you. You two can talk and set clear boundaries (i.e. what's the farthest you feel you should go before marriage? Kissing? Less? More?). Then once the boundaries are set, maybe you can find a Christian girl friend who can hold you accountable and help you when you are struggling and he could find a guy friend to do the same. 

    Don't feel that you have to take my advice. Ultimately, the two of you are the only ones who can decide what's best for you. Pray and seek God's will. He will speak to you. Good luck girl!   Smile
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:9b0238c4-7e64-4044-928c-87d83ddd6007">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]Different people of faith have come down on different sides of these questions at different times and places. In the Jewish tradition, once a couple decides to marry, they should marry quickly, partly to avoid the temptations you're dealing with. In the Salvation Army, at least once upon a time, officers who decided to marry were stationed apart for a year, to see if they were really serious. The Salvation Army is a Christian organization in the Holiness/Wesleyan tradition. Historically among Christians, people have married young and pretty quick, and accepted financial support from one or both sets of parents, if necessary. In some Christian communities even today, newlyweds don't get their own homes. People live in 1 household of many generations. IMO, there can't be a universally "right" solution to your dilemma. I'<strong>d suggest early marriage, which is not a sin, over sexual immorality, which is a sin. But do not get married just to have sex. And do not get married to fix problems in your relationship.</strong>
    Posted by ElisabethJoanne[/QUOTE]

    <div>
    </div><div>hit the nail on the head. agree completely!</div>
  • fpaemp2011fpaemp2011 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited June 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:f139df4b-35be-4322-b6ed-a31cb1732d36">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]You could make sure you are never alone together (i.e. group dates, hanging out with families or friends together, etc). I know that seems extreme, but it would definitely help if purity is important to you. You two can talk and set clear boundaries (i.e. what's the farthest you feel you should go before marriage? Kissing? Less? More?). Then once the boundaries are set, maybe you can find a Christian girl friend who can hold you accountable and help you when you are struggling and he could find a guy friend to do the same.  
    Posted by AshNoel8[/QUOTE]
    This exactly.  I made a commitment when I was 16 that I wasn't going to kiss until my wedding day.  When DH and I started dating (I was 21), he hadn't made the same commitment but his previous relationship had almost gone too far, so we decided that we would keep that boundary.<div>
    </div><div>We were never completely alone, either, until our wedding night.  If we were at my off-campus house, we made sure one of my roommates would be home, and we were never in any bedroom together.  We kept the lights on when we watched movies, one of us was always sitting up (never laying down together), and if we were sitting in the car for whatever reason, the windows were completely down and the interior light was on.  He lived on campus where females are not allowed in male dorms, and one semester he lived with his sister and BIL, so they were always around when I was at their house (plus his 3 year old niece had this habit of appearing out of nowhere...).</div><div>
    </div><div>Accountability is super important, as well.  Having friends who know your boundaries ask you point blank if you've crossed those boundaries will definitely keep you on your toes.</div><div>
    </div><div>In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:1d49a4c4-45a1-4fbf-8cd0-00176c28f8cc">Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>My family and friends thinks he is too young to get married</strong>, and we certainly have our issues that have to be worked out, but I know that dating for even a year is going to be risky for us. 
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE] </div><div>I'm not going to tell you to get married now, or wait, although I do agree with Elisabeth's point.  However, the bolded part is a reddish flag for me.  Yes, sometimes family members can over react a bit when their child is talking about marriage, but if they really do see something, it may be valuable to wait a bit.  Maybe talk to a married couple at church about mentoring the two of you, or meet with the pastor and his wife. Some "out of family" discernment may clear up some things.</div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:1d49a4c4-45a1-4fbf-8cd0-00176c28f8cc">Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would appreciate your thoughts on my situation, from a Christian perspective... My boyfriend and I have been seriously dating for a year and a half. We've been talking marriage for the past year. He's 20 and I'm 23. In the recent months, we've discussed weddings and at first, we said it might be good to wait two years to get married, but then after contemplation, the idea of next year came up. Either way, here's my dilemma. We're both Christians and purity is important to us. A little more so for me, than for him though. In the past few months we've been really struggling with our physical boundaries and while we talk about not being as sexual, nothing really changes.  So here's my question... In your opinion, is it better for a young couple like us to <strong>ignore and/or work out issues like school, lack of stable jobs, etc., and get married as soon as possible to avoid making mistakes sexually, or is it smarter to wait a year or two and hope for the best, or deal with whatever mistakes might occur? </strong>My family and friends thinks he is too young to get married, and we certainly have our issues that have to be worked out, but I know that dating for even a year is going to be risky for us.  Thoughts? Suggestions?
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE]

    Never ever ignore important issues.  At least discuss them and have a plan for jobs and schools and such. FI and I decided to wait until I had been out of school for a year to get married... however, intimacy isn't a factor for us, but we discussed that as well.  Have you talked to your FI about this?  I also think a discussion with your pastor/priest is beneficial. 

    I will tell you what FI and I had talked about: according to him (he spent a little time in seminary) the bible does not explicitly say that marriage happens after a certain ceremony and that you have to wait until after that ceremony.  My FI is the only person I have been with.  I felt that it was ok to give myself to him after we had said we want to get married because to me that was all the commitment I needed.  We also decided that there was to be no sex without condoms until our wedding night.  I know sex is still sex with or without but it was something that I felt was important.  Some people will say that it wasn't a very christian thing for us to do; however, we talked about it and made that decision.  Do I regret it... not at all.  It was the right thing to do for us.  We also plan to live together after I graduate and before our wedding and I know I'm not strong enough to keep my hands off.

    But it is all up to you and you need to seriously think about it, together with your FI.
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  • I was one of those people who waited and had a long period of dating/engagement (5 years).  We were pure during that time, but half the time we were long distance.  I'm of the opinion that if you can't exercise self control physically, it will be hard to exercise self control when other temptations come your way in marriage, from anger to jealousy.  I'm Orthodox Christian, and our faith tradition puts a bit emphasis on fasting, mysticism, and self control.  Everything is connected.

    I also don't think stablitty will come soon for our generation.  We are now 27, one year into our marriage.  I'm still in law school.  My husband has accepted a job abroad that will keep us separated, and the financial prospects are risky because it's a startup.  We are still relying on our parents for financial support.  If you know that you will be marrying, there's not necessarily a reason for waiting.  I don't think it i will make a big difference in your lives.  I am of the opinion that financial stability is important, but more from a long-term timeframe. 
  • edited June 2012

    Just from a personal standpoint, my vote is wait. 

    To solve the sexual issues, go on group dates. Be chaperoned. Only be together in public places.

    If you only got married to avoid premarital sex, that can cause major issues. Ask yourself if you guys can be stable financially. Where will you live? Do you both have jobs? You're going to have bills to pay and if you can't pay them then who is? It's really something to consider before jumping in to a marriage.

    As for his age...I don't think that's too young at all. I'm 19 and FI is 26. Age is just a number.

    ETA: We are having a long engagement because we want to finanicailly stable in our marriage. Right now if were to get married, we would struggle and probably be living in a cardboard box. Sure it's really hard to wait, but in the end it's going to be worth it because we will be on top of the game instead of sinking fast into major debt.

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:f9f96066-40db-4afd-8c48-0e31e98808de">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]I will tell you what FI and I had talked about: according to him (he spent a little time in seminary) <strong>the bible does not explicitly say that marriage happens after a certain ceremony</strong> and that you have to wait until after that ceremony.  My FI is the only person I have been with.  I felt that it was ok to give myself to him after we had said <strong>we want to get married</strong> because to me that was all the commitment I needed.
    Posted by joe&cassie[/QUOTE]<div>So, according to this view, you're already married, because you've had sex.</div><div>
    </div><div>Why are you still calling him your fiance then?  Have you both accepted the biblical responsibilities of husbands and wives?</div><div>
    </div><div>"Married in 'spirit'" or whatever is the lamest excuse for Christian extra-marital sex.</div><div>
    </div><div>In Malachi 2:14, it is stated that marriage is a holy covenant before God.  In Jewish custom (which was not changed in the NT), those covenants were sealed by a written agreement during the marriage ceremony, or at least in front of witnesses.  It IS meant to be a public demonstration of a couple's commitment.  The Pretty Princess ceremony isn't what marries you--it's your covenant commitment before God and men.</div><div>
    </div><div>Furthermore, when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, he made it very clear that living with a person in sexual union did NOT constitute "husband and wife."</div><div><span style="line-height:normal;font-size:9pt;">
    </span></div><div><span style="line-height:normal;font-size:9pt;">John 4:16-18 (ESV)- </span><span style="line-height:normal;font-size:9pt;color:black;">Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”<span style="background-color:white;background-position:initial initial;background-repeat:initial initial;"> </span><strong><sup> </sup></strong>The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;<strong><sup> </sup></strong>for you have had five husbands, and <strong>the one you now have is not your husband</strong>. What you have said is true.”</span><span style="line-height:normal;font-size:12pt;font-family:Verdana, sans-serif;color:black;background-color:white;"> </span></div><div>
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  • I think getting married before you're ready just to avoid pre-marital sex is a bad idea.  I'm not saying you both need to have graduated and have steady jobs before you get married, but at the very least you (generic you) need a plan for finishing school.  If you can't support yourselves, you need to know for sure before you get married that your families are willing to help you.  If they are, that's great, but it worries me that your family and friends think he's too young to get married.
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  • mrandmrsbristmrandmrsbrist member
    1000 Comments Second Anniversary
    edited June 2012
    I'd like to ditto what Emily said about remaining pure. It was a battle for us, for sure. But we set the boundaries, let other people know about our boundaries so we could be kept accountable, and then stuck to it. Were we ready to get married so the boundaries could go away? Heck yes. But we know those boundaries were good for us physically, mentally and spiritually.

    As for getting married sooner rather than later: DH is 22 and I am 19. So you can guess that we went with the sooner option. ;)  We're both still in school and don't exactly have stable jobs. DH works internships in the summer and that is where most of the money we live off comes from during the school year. We're currently living with my IL's in our hometown because we our apartment we live in during the school year is 2.5 hours away. Is it crazy? Yeah. But we wouldn't change our decision for the world. We love each other, we were ready to get married and God wasn't telling us no, so we went for it. Pray about your decision.

    One last thing I'll say is that we had family support. My parents were okay with it from the very beginning, but the IL's took a little while to warm up to the idea. They were never opposed to the idea of the two of us getting married, but to the idea of us doing it while we were in school. They had their reservations which we respectfully listened to. They did come around before we set a date.

    GL to you and your BF. :)
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:5ec8cffb-7612-4bc6-b79e-8936d81f9a51">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think getting married before you're ready just to avoid pre-marital sex is a bad idea.  I'm not saying you both need to have graduated and have steady jobs before you get married, but at the very least you (generic you) need a plan for finishing school.  If you can't support yourselves, you need to know for sure before you get married that your families are willing to help you.  If they are, that's great, but it worries me that your family and friends think he's too young to get married.
    Posted by ochemjenn[/QUOTE]

    <div>Oh I completely agree. I am a detailed planner, and that's part of my worry. I overthink everything! I graduated college last year and am just doing a little grad school work for personal development on the side, so I have no worries about that. I am also trying to find a full-time job as my part-time one is barely paying my bills. He, however, hasn't started college yet, but he's not sure if he wants to or not. He does have a full-time job though, but comes from a very financially supporting family, where as I do not. </div><div>
    </div><div>The people that say he is too young are not specifically calling out any flaws with him, but rather his life stage in general. My family in particular aren't very supportive of anyone under 25 getting married, so I can't get too hung up on that. They also aren't so fond of his education level, but it doesn't matter to me either. The age difference between us is hard because while he would be fine waiting for years, I'm not--I want a family and since college is done and I've been working for years, that's the next thing in my life. But he also isn't opposed to getting married soon...I was worried that I was pressuring him into it, but he made it clear that he wants to be married at this point in his life as well.</div>
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  • When H and I got engaged, I was 20 and he had just turned 21 days before.  People told me there was no way a guy his age would want to be married.  BS.  

    We chose the married sooner rather than later, too.  I was 21, H was 22.  Neither of us had finished school.  But, as someone else pointed out, we had a plan.  We knew how and when each of us would finish school.  We spent days leading up to our engagement announcement making sure that we could pay the bills.  It was a leap for us, for sure, as we were both accepting help from our parents at the time.  H lived with his parents until the day we got married!

    Have we had struggles?  Of course we have.  Every married couple does.  But I do not regret getting married when we did, and if I had to go back and do it over again I'd do it exactly the same way.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:ba1fb303-4464-4b24-a047-3bab4a42171c">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE] We were never completely alone, either, until our wedding night.  If we were at my off-campus house, we made sure one of my roommates would be home, and we were never in any bedroom together.  We kept the lights on when we watched movies, one of us was always sitting up (never laying down together), and if we were sitting in the car for whatever reason, the windows were completely down and the interior light was on.  He lived on campus where females are not allowed in male dorms, and one semester he lived with his sister and BIL, so they were always around when I was at their house (plus his 3 year old niece had this habit of appearing out of nowhere...).
    Posted by fpaemp2011[/QUOTE]

    <div>Oh how I wish this were possible... If it were humanly possible, I would set up every boundary like this. However, I live alone, and while he lives with his best friend's family, he has a separate unit. Our circle of friends is small, we each have one best friend, and both don't date much, so group dates are nearly impossible. I used to live with roommates and that was great for boundaries, but now even when we try to set them, they're hard to keep. It's even more complicated than that though... </div><div>
    </div><div>Given the circumstances, I could set boundaries (no lying down, making out, etc.), and keep them, but he has a harder time with that. In gentler terms, he has basically told me that he feels rejected when I try to keep boundaries and that if I'm not sexual with him, then he will be more likely to turn back to porn, which is an issue that we've been dealing with for a year and I still don't know how to deal with it entirely. He has a wonderful, sweet, heart and loves me dearly, but he's also a fairly new Christian who isn't quite sure how to integrate his beliefs with his life yet. It sort of leaves me a confused mess because I don't know what I'm supposed to do.</div>
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  • edited June 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:dcb80cc6-c965-4e3c-b350-d899f55a5122">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage : Oh how I wish this were possible... If it were humanly possible, I would set up every boundary like this. However, I live alone, and while he lives with his best friend's family, he has a separate unit. Our circle of friends is small, we each have one best friend, and both don't date much, so group dates are nearly impossible. I used to live with roommates and that was great for boundaries, but now even when we try to set them, they're hard to keep. It's even more complicated than that though...  Given the circumstances, I could set boundaries (no lying down, making out, etc.), and keep them, but he has a harder time with that. <strong>In gentler terms, he has basically told me that he feels rejected when I try to keep boundaries and that if I'm not sexual with him, then he will be more likely to turn back to porn</strong>, which is an issue that we've been dealing with for a year and I still don't know how to deal with it entirely. He has a wonderful, sweet, heart and loves me dearly, but he's also a fairly new Christian who isn't quite sure how to integrate his beliefs with his life yet. It sort of leaves me a confused mess because I don't know what I'm supposed to do.
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE]

    Please tell me that I just misunderstood you, but are you saying that your FI told you that if you don't have sex with him he's going to go back to porn?

    ETA: (If I understood that correctly) It sounds like your FI is trying to make you feel guilty over it...And that sounds extremely sucky of him.
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  • Given the new information, I think some pre-engagement counseling is in order.  It sounds like there are some issues that need to be dealt with before you'll be ready to plan for marriage.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:8eee6274-acbb-42b7-87f4-dac91d64e3dd">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE] As for getting married sooner rather than later: DH is 22 and I am 19. So you can guess that we went with the sooner option. ;)  We're both still in school and don't exactly have stable jobs. DH works internships in the summer and that is where most of the money we live off comes from during the school year. We're currently living with my IL's in our hometown because we our apartment we live in during the school year is 2.5 hours away. Is it crazy? Yeah. But we wouldn't change our decision for the world. We love each other, we were ready to get married and God wasn't telling us no, so we went for it. Pray about your decision. One last thing I'll say is that we had family support. My parents were okay with it from the very beginning, but the IL's took a little while to warm up to the idea. They were never opposed to the idea of the two of us getting married, but to the idea of us doing it while we were in school. They had their reservations which we respectfully listened to. They did come around before we set a date. GL to you and your BF. :)
    Posted by mrandmrsbrist[/QUOTE]

    <div>Ditto to this. DH and I got married when I was 20 and he was 24. We moved 500miles away two weeks later. Both sets of parents were nervous about us getting married while we were in school but they still supported us. Getting engaged and married has set me back about a year in school which means that I have been in college since August 2009 and won't graduate until May 2015 at the earliest. Has is been easy being married so young? Absoutely! But we had an idea of what we were getting into before we got married. I would say if you want to get married sooner you and your BF need to figure out some sort of plan as to living situation, finanices and jobs. Of course this plan can and will  change but always have an idea of an end goal for after the wedding. Most importantly pray about it by yourself and with your BF. Best of luck!</div>
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    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage : Please tell me that I just misunderstood you, but are you saying that your FI told you that if you don't have sex with him he's going to go back to porn? ETA: (If I understood that correctly) It sounds like your FI is trying to make you feel guilty over it...And that sounds extremely sucky of him.
    Posted by SugarFoote[/QUOTE]

    <div>He's as committed as I am to not having sex before marriage, but he's very technical about it, meaning he's okay with a lot more than I am. While he didn't say it that way, I know that's what he was implying...and yes, I reacted basically the same way you did. Which leads to my confusion and extremely mixed emotions about everything! I am trying to understand his perspective of sexuality and his struggles, but it all comes down to the reality that I feel pressured and stuck in a situation where my purity is being compromised and I feel I have no choice but to let him. (background note, I was abused as a child so my natural instinct is to let guys do whatever they want with me... I have been in therapy for years and continue to work on my personal beliefs/boundaries, but it's still a fight for me). </div><div>
    </div><div>And yes, I do plan on getting pre-engagement/marital counseling with him soon... I am hoping we can work through some of this stuff then.</div>
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  • fpaemp2011fpaemp2011 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited June 2012
    Are both of you involved in a church?  Do they have a men's ministry or could you talk to the pastor about getting him plugged in with a men's small group, maybe even one based on porn addicition and recovery?  Porn is a very serious issue, and even my youth pastor DH is in an accountability group.  They're all on xxxchurch.com and get e-mails with each others' browsing history.  He struggled with it in high school, but hasn't had those same issues since he met those guys in college.  <div>
    </div><div>The church may also have a young adults group where you can make friends and develop that accountability relationship with a few of them.  </div><div>
    </div><div>In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:4156a4be-9664-44f7-8b41-7155bd48689a">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]He's as committed as I am to not having sex before marriage, but he's very technical about it, meaning he's okay with a lot more than I am. While he didn't say it that way, I know that's what he was implying...and yes, I reacted basically the same way you did. Which leads to my confusion and extremely mixed emotions about everything
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE]
    <div>Your BF is essentially blackmailing you into going farther than you're comfortable with, and with regards to your past, it's really not fair to take advantage of that.  It's the same as saying, "If you love me, you'll  ____________."   YOU need to guard YOUR heart.  If he's not willing to protect your heart, as well, I'd be reevaluating the relationship altogether.</div></div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:4156a4be-9664-44f7-8b41-7155bd48689a">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage : He's as committed as I am to not having sex before marriage, but he's very technical about it, meaning he's okay with a lot more than I am. While he didn't say it that way, I know that's what he was implying...and yes, I reacted basically the same way you did. Which leads to my confusion and extremely mixed emotions about everything! I am trying to understand his perspective of sexuality and his struggles, but it all comes down to the reality that I feel pressured and stuck in a situation where my purity is being compromised and I feel I have no choice but to let him. (background note, I was abused as a child so my natural instinct is to let guys do whatever they want with me... I have been in therapy for years and continue to work on my personal beliefs/boundaries, but it's still a fight for me).  And yes, I do plan on getting pre-engagement/marital counseling with him soon... I am hoping we can work through some of this stuff then.
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE]

    I'm sorry and please forgive me if what I am about to say offends you...

    If he knows that you were abused, then he seriously needs to back the heck off and respect your decision. I'm voting harder on waiting now than I was in my previous post. You all need to work out this issue before getting married because believe it or not, it's a serious issue.

    If he can't come to terms with waiting and is pressuring you into this, then maybe you should think long and hard about that.

    I wouldn't say that I was "abused" technically, but I've been in a sexual relationship with a guy who was forceful. And I can't say I share your way of thinking on this subject. It put me in the "get the heck away from me" mindset to any man that got remotely near me and it took a lot of trust and prayer to get me out of it but there are times when I breakdown on FI because I still have that pain in my heart.

    Seriously talk with your FI about it. With me, this was a deal-breaker subject. If he didn't respect me, their wasn't gonna be an "us". I also recommend counseling.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:36db4562-004b-486b-89a4-72aa5dea1c42">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]Are both of you involved in a church?  Do they have a men's ministry or could you talk to the pastor about getting him plugged in with a men's small group, maybe even one based on porn addicition and recovery?  Porn is a very serious issue, and even my youth pastor DH is in an accountability group.  They're all on xxxchurch.com and get e-mails with each others' browsing history.  He struggled with it in high school, but hasn't had those same issues since he met those guys in college. 
    Posted by fpaemp2011[/QUOTE]

    <div>We are involved in a church and for awhile he was in a men's Bible study with the pastor, but hasn't been so involved recently. I am familiar with xxxchurch and a few accountability groups, but I haven't wanted to push him into it becasue I know he won't do it on his own. But perhaps I should...</div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:5f5761dc-ff84-4b1a-aff9-9d30425fe209">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage : I'm sorry and please forgive me if what I am about to say offends you... If he knows that you were abused, then he seriously needs to back the heck off and respect your decision. I'm voting harder on waiting now than I was in my previous post.<strong> You all need to work out this issue before getting married because believe it or not, it's a serious issue.</strong> If he can't come to terms with waiting and is pressuring you into this, then maybe you should think long and hard about that. I wouldn't say that I was "abused" technically, but I've been in a sexual relationship with a guy who was forceful. And I can't say I share your way of thinking on this subject. It put me in the "get the heck away from me" mindset to any man that got remotely near me and it took a lot of trust and prayer to get me out of it but there are times when I breakdown on FI because I still have that pain in my heart. Seriously talk with your FI about it. With me, this was a deal-breaker subject. If he didn't respect me, their wasn't gonna be an "us". I also recommend counseling.
    Posted by SugarFoote[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>I'm not offended in the least. I've been wrestling with this all for over a year now. Believe me, it's not new for me! </div><div>
    </div><div>I have gone back and forth a million times and many many times I've wanted to end it all, but I come back to the fact that we are both human, we both have hangups, and we have to work them out. Also, I have noticed that we can talk rationally about sexuality when we are keeping healthy boundaries, but it's only in the moments when I let him get close to me that he will bring up the rejection, the 'need' to be sexual, etc., so I know that if I can be more committed to preventing those situations when we are alone, things will be better. Of course, the porn issue still has to be dealt with, I know, and I am seriously considering counseling, for us and myself again. 

    </div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:5f5761dc-ff84-4b1a-aff9-9d30425fe209">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage : I'm sorry and please forgive me if what I am about to say offends you... If he knows that you were abused, then he seriously needs to back the heck off and respect your decision. I'm voting harder on waiting now than I was in my previous post. You all need to work out this issue before getting married because believe it or not, it's a serious issue. If he can't come to terms with waiting and is pressuring you into this, then maybe you should think long and hard about that. I wouldn't say that I was "abused" technically, but I've been in a sexual relationship with a guy who was forceful. And I can't say I share your way of thinking on this subject. It put me in the "get the heck away from me" mindset to any man that got remotely near me and it took a lot of trust and prayer to get me out of it but there are times when I breakdown on FI because I still have that pain in my heart. Seriously talk with your FI about it. With me, this was a deal-breaker subject. If he didn't respect me, their wasn't gonna be an "us". I also recommend counseling.
    Posted by SugarFoote[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this entirely. What you have been through is something that any man worth being in a relationship with should be respecting. The fact that he is pushing this at all, I agree with the PPs. I think you should wait. I think there are issues here that need to be worked out before you get married.

    I also was in an abusive relationship and fell into the loop of not feeling I was worth fighting for my rights any longer. FI was not religious when we met, he was just baptized last May. Even before accepting Christ he acknowledged my limits and we decided to wait until marriage. Its not easy, its really not. We also made another choice that made it even more difficult, we do live together. That's a long story all in itself that I'm not going to get into, but wasn't made without sitting down with people we respect including our pastor to talk it through first.

    Its not easy, I totally agree with that, but that's not an excuse to sweep issues under the rug and rush into the wedding. If you have things to work out, handle that first.
  • Counseling ... I know age is but a number but if he is a new christian then he is "young" and is obviously needing some direction on these issues. Start working them out .. Dont get married just to kinda give into him with his rejection talk ..
    Love is All You Need
  • Emily and SugarFoote were offering great advice, so I'll just ditto them. Please seek some counseling, OP. And do not get married before these major issues are resolved. Sex isn't a band aid like your FI seems to think it is. I'll be praying for you guys.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:1419ed7b-4918-4845-98ad-ecf78d42ce46">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]Emily and SugarFoote were offering great advice, so I'll just ditto them. Please seek some counseling, OP. And do not get married before these major issues are resolved. Sex isn't a band aid like your FI seems to think it is. I'll be praying for you guys.
    Posted by mrandmrsbrist[/QUOTE]

    <div>Thank you. I appreciate the advice and prayers. I talked with him tonight and he agreed to talk to our pastor, and to set strict boundaries for our physical relationship without any manipulation tactics. Now we just have to stick with it, and seek out counseling for everything. I genuinely appreciate the encouragement here--without it I would not have brought up the issue tonight and stood my ground. You are all wonderful!!!</div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:79e252d8-accc-462a-b190-eabf81fdfe28">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage : Thank you. I appreciate the advice and prayers. I talked with him tonight and he agreed to talk to our pastor, and to set strict boundaries for our physical relationship without any manipulation tactics. Now we just have to stick with it, and seek out counseling for everything. I genuinely appreciate the encouragement here--without it I would not have brought up the issue tonight and stood my ground. You are all wonderful!!!
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE]

    I'm glad to here that you spoke with him about the issue. I will also remember you guys in my prayers.
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  • I'm glad you talked about this and I will say a prayer for you as well. 
  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:1d49a4c4-45a1-4fbf-8cd0-00176c28f8cc">Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would appreciate your thoughts on my situation, from a Christian perspective... My boyfriend and I have been seriously dating for a year and a half. We've been talking marriage for the past year. He's 20 and I'm 23. In the recent months, we've discussed weddings and at first, we said it might be good to wait two years to get married, but then after contemplation, the idea of next year came up. Either way, here's my dilemma. We're both Christians and purity is important to us. A little more so for me, than for him though. In the past few months we've been really struggling with our physical boundaries and while we talk about not being as sexual, nothing really changes.  So here's my question... In your opinion, is it better for a young couple like us to ignore and/or work out issues like school, lack of stable jobs, etc., and get married as soon as possible to avoid making mistakes sexually, or is it smarter to wait a year or two and hope for the best, or deal with whatever mistakes might occur? <strong>My family and friends thinks he is too young to get married, and we certainly have our issues that have to be worked out, but I know that dating for even a year is going to be risky for us</strong>.  Thoughts? Suggestions?
    Posted by jcsangelpen[/QUOTE]
    <p class="MsoNormal">I'll address the bolded part first.  The fact that your friends and family have expressed concerned is a huge red flag, listen to them.  Work on your relationship problems and issues before you think seriously about marriage. You guys have only been dating a year and you are young.  I would personally never marry someone who my friends and family thought wasn't ready for marriage.
    To answer your first question, you can achieve sexual purity for a very long time.  I think girls on this board have been in 7 year relationships and stayed pure.  I myself waited three and a half years, so it's totally do able.  However, this takes work on the part of both people.  Since it is not as important to him it will be a bit harder to stay pure but still do able.  Getting married to just have sex is a very bad idea.  Marriage is forever and binding and sex is an hour experience.  It's not easy to wait, it's not fun but it can be fulfilling.  So I think it would be better for you to wait and have your relationship grow so more than think about marriage again. </p> :)
    <p class="MsoNormal">EDIT: I went and read down through the posts and I have a few more thoughts to add. 
    I would look into counseling about porn for him with your pastor.  Also counseling for yourself.  I just finished 5 counseling sessions for my abuse and it was helpful for my marriage.  Lastly counseling for both of you but with a Christian counselor.  Also you have an older Christian couple who can mentor you both?  Having someone he can look up to can be really helpful as a new Christian. </p>
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • I know I am late to coming to these but have lurking on this post for a little bit.

    I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child as well. I am currently 26. And I am seeing red flags all over this relationship. He is making you uncomfortable and pushing your boundaries. This is a major issue. I am divorced and everything you are saying here happened to me. I compromised my faith, my boundaries, and my comfort zone. My ex guilted me into sleeping with him. He would cry, get upset, and tell me how he felt rejected if I did not give into him. He also was really into porn and his mother was an enabler in  his hypersexuality. After we had sex, it turned to other things. If he pushed too far at once, he would step back and say he would work at it and slowly guilt me back into doing what he wanted. He would guilt me from going to the gym, tanning, spending time with my friends, going to my dads until he completely blocked me off from my family and friends. It started slowly. It really concerns me that you feel like he manipulates you.

    I understand the living alone part. I have since I was 16/17. So we spent a lot of time alone together. And he would try to get us alone together and slowly push his luck. The first night we were together, his one friend had been bartending and I had too much to drink.

    I am also concerned that your family is saying he is too young to get married. Granted, my family still says me and my FI are too young to be married (26 & 29 college educated, living together, financially stable).

    I would not rush into marriage. I would go into counseling but honestly from what you have said here I would wait a good while to see if he is sincerely changed or if he is just manipulating you again. And if he is, I would sincerely re-evaulate the situation. You do not deserve that at all. And I hated myself for compromising my morals and values, and stuck around in a terrible marriage far longer than I should have because I resented myself more than what he had done to me.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_purity-long-engagement-vs-early-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:b3c67522-8ddd-443a-88b0-8b26eeacb1a9Post:66a9d39c-8e25-41eb-bc08-b23c9e24ea09">Re: Purity: long engagement vs. early marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE] I would go into counseling but honestly from what you have said here I would wait a good while to see if he is sincerely changed or if he is just manipulating you again. And if he is, I would sincerely re-evaulate the situation. You do not deserve that at all. And I hated myself for compromising my morals and values, and stuck around in a terrible marriage far longer than I should have because I resented myself more than what he had done to me.
    Posted by daffydillie[/QUOTE]

    <div>Thank you for the advice, and sharing your story. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. I tend to be a very anxiety-prone overthinker, so sometimes I can't tell if I am reading a situation correctly or completely blowing it out of proportion. Being in therapy for years has helped this, but when it comes to relationships, I am so so so afraid of making a mistake and marrying the wrong person, etc. With that in mind, I do believe you are right... I need to take a step back and wait to see his true character in all this. </div>
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