I am troubled by certain things in my life. As a young man it is a challenge to deal with young women, because I am in somewhat of a relationship (although we are not physically active) it is still a struggle. Even though I am not active physically I am tempted daily. I desire the company of ladies and being surrounded by them in the work environment it has become a challenge. I know what is right and I want so much to be married in order that I can abide by the godly teachings of marriage. The thing that concerns me most is that because I am in this relationship, she is the one following the concept of sex before marriage but she is the one of a denominational church. I know that lust is a sin and can consume one if he allows it to. Is there any advise you can give?

I have a comic on my board that says, "Advice is like getting underwear for Christmas. It's never what you want, but it's usually what you need."

Paul stated, "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. ... For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. 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 7:1-2, 7-9). Paul's advice was based on his knowledge of the upcoming persecution of Christians. "I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress--that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you" (I Corinthians 7:26-28).

From what you have said, you are a typical young male. Your body is aware of sexual passion and you have a strong desire to quench this desire. But what makes you stand out in our world is that you realize desire is not an excuse to behave like an animal. You understand that God's word says you need a lifetime mate. The big problem is that the finding of a mate is not keeping up with the strength of your desire.

It appears you have made a few compromises in your life which is causing conflicts within yourself. You have a young woman in whom you allowed yourself to have some interest, yet she is not the type of woman you want to live with for the rest of your life. You mentioned two primary problems:

1) She doesn't share your faith.
2) She doesn't accept the same standards of morality.

I don't know the young lady, but I can make some guesses as to her motives, so let's look at the situation from her point of view. She is interested in marrying you, but she has no desire to change her views of the Scriptures or to join you in the church. Instead, she has the typical female desire to mold you into the man she wants you to be. Thus, she sees you as a challenge and has launched a long term campaign to win you over. From her moral viewpoint, which is not rooted in the Scriptures, she sees nothing wrong with having sex with a man so long as it is a "committed" relationship. In others so long as she can say to herself that she is planning to marry you eventually and she is not bedding other men, then she is still "righteous." Thus she has granted herself a powerful weapon. You're dying to have sex and she is willing to give it to you. She sees this as just one step in her campaign because she knows that if you give in, your moral principles will not easily let you leave. In your self-disgust at what you have done, you will very likely marry her, especially if she can get herself pregnant by you. Once there, she has lots of time to wear down your reluctance to join her in her religion and meanwhile she has a man she can rely upon -- a valuable commodity because most of the men around are totally untrustworthy.

What is missing is true love. Oh, she is certain she loves you, but it is not the love described by God. Her idea of love will give your soul a moral wound. You will marry because of obligation and a feeling that you don't deserve anyone better, hoping that love might eventually develop. My friend, this is not the way to build a great marriage!

God said that Solomon was the wisest human to ever live, yet his wisdom did not keep him from making some fatal mistakes. "But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites- from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David" (I Kings 11:1-4). With all his wisdom, King Solomon was not able to resist the constant assault on his belief in God. He compromised his faith because he "loved" his wives.

In your desire for an outlet for sex I detect a weakening of resolve in upholding principles that you know are right. Because there is a woman who is interested in you and is available, you are contemplating taking what is easily available even though deep down you know it might not be the best. Worse, you know you are being asked to commit fornication, but instead of running as Joseph did, you continue the relationship hoping you might be able to resist. Does this sound wise? "For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, and saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, a young man devoid of understanding, passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house" (Proverbs 7:6-8).

The truth is that no matter how determined you are at the moment to remain faithful to the Lord, repeated exposure to temptation is going to weaken your resolve. Such is the nature of the beast. In moments of clarity you know what you ought to do, but as every man will tell you, when sexual passions are aroused, men don't think clearly! Rather than looking for the edge of the cliff so you can stand near the edge and be "safe," you should be looking for the safety that takes you away from the cliff."Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness" (I Thessalonians 4:3-7). If your friend is stoking your flames of passion and encouraging you to go against God's will, then let's face reality -- she doesn't love you. She is pushing you toward hell; how can that be love? "Love ... thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (I Corinthians 7:4-6).

As harsh as this might sound, dump the imitation and look for real love.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Dating
Questions and Answers regarding Sexual Relations