Thanks for your online forum to allow for such questions.
I'm in my mid-twenties and my boyfriend is in his early thirties. I've known him about 3 years and we've been together about a year and a half now. We are both independant people who do love God. He has just started a new job and I've just completed a degree and I'm job hunting.
Recently we've been realistically discussing marriage but want to wait for the right time. I know his family well and vice-versa. We're very close. We respect each other very much and both really wanted to wait but recently had neglected our spiritual walk and were starting to be influenced by worldly events, media and things more and more. As a result of not being vigilent and watchful of our desires minds and hearts, we regretably just a few weeks ago, over a weekend, made the very ill-influenced choice to have 'protected' sex before marriage. We actually discussed it and decided to do it; hence, it was 'protected' - kind of makes it worse, I suppose, as we prepared.
We haven't done so since and have both since repented, realizing the gravity of the sin we had committed not only against God but ourselves as well. Howeverm the reality of the situation is that we have now placed ourselves in a bad situation of greater temption. We both love God before other things and have been trying to basically keep our distance from each other to try avoiding re-awakening desires. As you can imagine this has been very difficult as we love each others company. We are also qualified in the same field and have certain freelance jobs that we collaborate on together, and thus have to work together. But it also feels like a spiritual struggle I've been facing since, (even before we slept together, to read the Word and pray -- all of which are very neccesary things. I need to fight this battle for my purity and life. I'm incredibly sorry for inviting in this behaviour and extra drama into my life.
My main question is: Should we break up so as to refocus on Christ? I don't know if it will help my problem but more than anything I'm sad. I've dissappointed God. This wasn't how I had imaged myself living for Him. I grew up in church and have always loved and served Him, and still continue to do so, but as I get older it is certainly is getting harder. We don't have counselors at church I feel I can approach to discuss this matter, but I desperately want to and feel I need to.
Looking forward to your response.
I'm puzzled why the response to sin with someone you claim to love is to dump the guy. What Paul stated long ago is: "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 Corinthains 7:8-9). I suspect that this whole situation occurred because the two of you did not give marriage a serious consideration. Even though there was nothing preventing you from going down to the courthouse and getting married, you had all sorts of reasons to put it on the back burner. Instead, you spent the time planning and executing fornication. You are correct: the fact that you both claim to love God makes this worse because neither of you took God's laws into consideration, and for that matter are still not. You claimed to wanted to wait for the right time to get married, but you passed that time by.
Go get married and quit putting temptation in your life.
Many thanks for you response. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to reply.
We both took the first year as a sort of courtship to get to know each other better. During this period we didn't really face the temptation challenges we face now. However, one of the main things daunting us when planning to get married in front of God by a minister is that we are both very close to our families and would like them to be there on the day as well. In between working, such an event requires a large amount of planning and money and, therefore, time (a year minumum). In that time while we count the cost of a wedding (and on his part the engagement ring too), I fear we might sin again. Considering that God and our relationship with Him should be the most important thing of all, I dread to imagine recommitting the sin. In my own case I would almost rather be single and not sinning against God, than be in a situation of constant temptation. I do not think we will sleep together again till marriage, but I dread a situation where I am constantly having to avoid and fight temptation on a regular basis for over a year.
He would certainly not like the idea of a break up and would rather we continue to fight to stay right with God but this effort, although well meaning, can be extreamly tiring especially when done in the flesh and not by the Spirit, and at the moment we are both spiritually weak. The Bible says we must flee sexual immorality and temptation; hence, my response to breakup. My boyfriend is one of the kindest, patient and most thoughtfull person I've ever had the opportunity to come across, and so when I mention breaking up it is not said lightly.
I perhaps might be looking at my situation through slightly complicated eyes? I'm not sure. But any light you might be able to shed on this from my short description would be greatly appreciated.
Like most people, you make marriage seem unattainable, not because it is, but because you place artifical limits on yourself. If you decided to get married, say next month, I am sure the two of you could stay away from sex that long knowing there would be an end point soon. If you announced to your families that the wedding is going to be at a certain place, I'm sure they would make arrangements. In regards to costs, a wedding only costs as much as you choose to spend. If you are innovative and willing to be clever, you can hold a large wedding on an extremely low budget (I speak from experience).
Another option is have a simple civil marriage for now and then hold a big gala later for your families.
Yes, you are making this overly complicated. You aren't putting God first. Since you found the man you want to marry, sacrifice your dreams of a huge wedding (which is often fueled by pride) and get married because that is what God wishes a man and woman to do (Genesis 2:24). It removes the temptation and the possibility of sin. And if Aunt May can't make it on such quick notice, oh well, you can send her lots of pictures.
Thank you so very much for your time and responses. I forwarded our conversation to my partner and we're hoping to sit down and have a chat this weekend, but as it stands from the conversations we've had over the phone after reading your replies, it has become clear to us that we have neglected to put God first. Even in our false sense of 'well-meaning' attempts to do the right thing, we instead unknowingly did the opposite and created an ideal scenario for us to sin against God. Neither of us had considered our delay to getting married might be, in a sense, a neglect to put God first. So we're going taking the next severa; days to do a Daniel -- fast and pray for guidence (as spiritually week as we really want to try and we feel we need it), then have a chat on Sunday after church. The solution may not be as short as setting a date in a month's time as we're both from two different countries and are living in a third country completely different to where we are both from (hence our never-ending delays and hesitations). But at the moment I think the motto is God first.
Again many thanks for your forum that allows us Christians to seek cousel from fellow Christians, particularly ministers. I pray that God would continue to bless you with the wisdom and insight to continue to give counsel based on His Word.