Question

Hello,

I am a Christian girl and I am 19 years old. My boyfriend is 19 years old as well. We have been dating for almost a year and we met in church about three years ago.

A couple months into our dating we fell in fornication. We know it's a sin and that we are wrong. However, we tried stopping and its very hard to stop. When we do stop fornicating, we just lust for each other, and that is a sin as well. We have tried going out to open public places where we can't be tempted. It's hard so we want to get married and stop the sin because we want to be right in God's eyes. We love each other, and we both feel like, yes, we are young, but we are ready. God confirmed our relationship a couple months ago, and we want to get married.

The problem is my parents. I am in college and they don't want me to get married until I am out of college. They want us to have a huge wedding but that's just not what we want. My mother knows we fornicated, and she still doesn't want us to get married now. We don't have money right now to have an actual wedding like how my parents want it, so we want to get married just with family and the pastor marrying us, but my parents are not OK with that at all. They want things their way. My parents are super strict.

For the past several months it has been a fight with me and my boyfriend because he believes I let my parents run my life. I am just scared of what would happen if I don't listen to them or do what they want. I believe that they won't support us at all if we have a small wedding now. I don't want to lose my parents, but I don't want to lose my boyfriend. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I'm torn whether I should listen to my parents and do what they want, or do what my heart wants and get married my way. Whenever I try talking to them about getting married right now, my mother just starts with an argument. She just doesn't want to hear it and says no. I am so confused on what to do.


Answer

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

Marriage means forming your own family. To do so, you have to first disconnect from your parents (the "leave" in the verse above). Then comes the marriage (the "joined"), which then leads to the start of a new family ("become one flesh"). While your parents can advise you regarding your marriage, they aren't the ones forming the new family. This is your decision to make with the man you want to marry. The advise of your parents should be seriously considered. They have far more experience and their knowledge is useful to you in making your own decision. But when you leave the actual decision up to them, then you are saying you have not become an adult and you are not ready for marriage, which requires independent decision making.

Now, when you do decide to marry, that means you are taking on all responsibility for your life. Your parents won't be paying for your education -- that is your choice and responsibility. You won't be under your parent's insurance -- that is your responsibility. If you want to marry, planning a reasonable wedding that you can afford and invite your parents to it.

But until you get married, you and your boyfriend have to accept responsibility for your sins. I know you understand that it is wrong to have sex when you are not married, but the reason you two give in so often is because you are convinced that what you are doing isn't "that bad" because you plan to get married and that will make everything all right. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Sin is a serious matter. You can't play games with God.

Yes, getting married will give you a proper outlet for your sexual desire. "But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:8-9). However, until the day of your wedding sex is forbidden. It is an effort both of you have to apply yourselves to following. If either of you aren't serious about putting God first, then then you will be tempting the other and you will continue to give in to sin.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

God gives three promises: Nothing you face is different from what mankind has been dealing with for centuries. You aren't the first to be tempted by sex, nor will you be the last. Second, you do have the ability to resist. It is provable because you don't do it every time. Even when you do given it, you do wait for privacy. Therefore, you are able to deny your body's longings. Third, there is always a choice. You always have a way that does not require the two of you having sex.

Most likely you are failing because you are focused only on not having intercourse. But your sins started long before the clothes came off. Since fornication is a sin, then what leads to fornication is also sinful. Stirring up sexual passion through touch is referred to as lewdness or sensuality. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Paul said, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1) and by that he is talking about sexual touching. You can't stir up the body's instinctive desires for sex and think you can resist.

Even thinking about doing things you should not do is a sin. I'm not talking about passing temptation, but the acceptance of doing something sinful if you got the chance. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). Jesus' point is that sin begins in the mind and the place to first battle sin is there. You can't let yourself daydream of having sex or committing acts of lewdness.

Logically, if you aren't supposed to do or dream about doing the things that lead up to fornication, then it is just as wrong to talk about sex. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:3-7). Personal phones and the ability to send private pictures has caused this to become a major stumbling block today. Because the other person is not present, we fool ourselves into thinking it is acceptable to discuss things we would never say or do in public. But the sin of uncleanness (dirty talk) is just as bad as any other sin. Perhaps people have gotten numb to it because uncleanness is present in our movies, songs, and books. We are so use to its presence that we become numb to the fact that it is wrong and a danger.

The problem is that you allow yourselves to talk of having sex, you touch each other sexually, stirring up passion, and then saying you couldn't resist because you were to sexually aroused. The logical conclusion is that you don't start what you can't legitimately finish. The way you don't have sex is by not stirring up sexual feelings.