Expert Insights: What If You've Had A Physical Relationship Before Marriage?

The question of whether or not to have a physical relationship before marriage is one that every Christian single considers, ultimately making the decision that fits with their own path. And that decision can change over time. Here, Christian speaker and motivator Lauren Caldwell offers her views on purity and relationships, and points out that it’s never too late to start dating with intention.

The Purity Puzzle

We all have a craving to be known and loved unconditionally, and to express this love sexually and without holding back. Sex is really about an intimate, soul-to-soul encounter. It involves vulnerability and trust, and God designed marriage to be the place where this intimacy can be safely expressed (1 Thess.4:3). The Bible tells us that the pathway we need to take until we get to the day of our wedding is a path of purity.

Most people find the word “purity” to be an outdated word, relegated to nuns and saints of old. But really, sexual purity is more about following God’s best intentions for our lives – and that involves not giving in to our misguided desires for what we want NOW.

What If You’ve Had A Physical Relationship Before Marriage?

But what if you haven’t taken this approach of purity in your dating life? Many single Christians have had a physical relationship before marriage that did not deliver the outcome they had hoped for, and wound up with a sense of remorse and loss. Is there a way to go back and retrieve what was lost through these sexual encounters?

You may not be able to get back a literal sense of sexual purity, but there’s something important that you can reclaim.

Because You Are Loved

Some interesting synonyms for purity are honor, integrity and honesty. These are beautiful words connected to God’s pure love and your identity, value and vulnerability – regardless of whether you can claim sexual purity as part of your past.

You are valued by God. God created you and knows you. He loves you with a pure Love. There’s no shame in ever going to Him in prayer, opening up your heart to Him and bringing all your pain and your experiences before Him.

This realization of His pure love for us helps us to say no to a sexual encounter or future sexual encounter that is outside of marriage. When we fully recognize that having sex with someone won’t necessarily make them love us or really even fully know us, then we have to decide if we are worth waiting for God’s best. This involves learning how to date differently and with a pure heart.

What We Regain

Dating with purity means we will need to change our patterns and our thinking. Hebrews 13:18 words it this way: “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.”

You may think you’re losing out by avoiding a physical relationship before marriage. But actually, there is more to gain than there is to lose. Here is how you can walk the path of purity from now on, regardless of your past sexual experiences:

  • Humility: Giving ourselves to someone in a sexual manner won’t mean that we will have that deep sense of intimacy we long for. Learn to humbly ask God for wisdom and to approach dating with a level-headed, safe thinking that will protect us from making bad decisions in the sexual arena that will not bring us the intimacy and love we hope for.
  • Honor: The Bible tells us how to please God and stay within His best parameters for our lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 tells us that “each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” To walk in honor will require self-control. Treat your dates with honor and respect and avoid getting into compromising situations. Protect yourself from a false sense of intimacy born out of a sexual experience and not the commitment of lasting love.
  • Hope: The Bible tells us that hope does not disappoint us. Fully trust in His way for doing things and His timing. When it comes to walking in purity as a single person, enjoy the hope of experiencing all you hoped to experience when it comes to sexual intimacy – after you are married.

I can honestly say that sexual intimacy in marriage is so much more about intimacy than it is about sex. I think that’s what my husband meant when he whispered to me on our wedding day, “It only gets better.” He wasn’t just thinking of our honeymoon; he meant our life together. Being loved and known by your spouse in a covenant of lasting commitment is what every heart longs for. Hold out for a pure love, and the best foundation for that lasting love.

Purity isn’t about a perfect past; it’s about God’s promises and His plan for your future – and that includes being fully known and fully loved.

You may also be interested in Expert Insights: What The Bible Says About Physical Attraction

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