5 minute read
By: Allie Joy Hudson
Sex was an option
The other day I had a sobering thought: It would have been so easy for us to give in and have sex before we were married. Wow. Honestly, it would have. If we wanted to, we could have made it happen. Praise be to God for His continual protection, conviction, and strength.
When Michael and I were dating and engaged, saving ourselves for each other was, to be vulnerable, a really tough struggle for us. But it was one that we had committed to. Though the enemy loved to use the lie that we were fighting alone, it was comforting to remember that many many other couples are engaging in this same battle. And that’s exactly what it is: a battle.
Today I want to share with you three ways that my husband and I found victory in our fight for a pure marriage bed.
It’s easy for all of us to get stuck on being self-focused and to not reach out to give or receive help. This can be especially true in relationships. It can become comfortable to get so caught up in your relationship or your significant other that you cut yourself off from the rest of your community. Accountability is one way to bring life, healing, and an outward focus to your relationship.
Both Michael and I had accountability partners that we would meet and check in with on a regular basis, often weekly. We both had mentor figures as well as friends checking in on us. This was hard for me. Being open and honest about ways that I had fallen short on the same struggle over and over was embarrassing at times. But it truly did bring freedom to confess my sins to fellow believers (James 5:16).
My mentor and my friends were also very encouraging in that they didn’t condemn me. Instead, they empathized with how I was feeling and reminded me to keep battling, to keep going. The Lord spoke to me many times through these wonderful women.
Accountability can be twisted in our minds into something ugly and shameful if we let it, but it doesn’t need to be like that. Don’t let Satan have that win. God designed us to be relational beings. We are to remind each other of truth, reprove when necessary, and build one another up in the love of Christ.
Find someone you trust to be honest with and live relationally with them. This will go a long way in facilitating growth and healing.
I’m cringing a little as I write this because our boundary list was extremely frustrating at times. But we really did need it.
I remember the first time Michael and I wrote out our boundary list. The night before, things had gone farther than they should have. We were discouraged and didn’t want slip-ups to continue to happen, so we were strict with ourselves. We sat down in Dunkin’ Donuts and wrote out a physical list of all of the things that were okay for us and all of the things that were off limits. We wrote this list while we were dating and fought to abide by it up until our wedding night.
Over the course of a year, the list went through multiple editing processes: trying to make some things less strict and then often going back to the original. We also added a lot more specifics as time went on so there was no room for gray areas.
I said that this was a frustrating process, and it definitely was. There were many times when I wanted to just ignore what we had written. It’s fine. We’ll be fine. We can handle it. But that wasn’t true. Compromise is cancerous. Having the list physically written out was a good reminder and standard that we had to go back to. We shared the list with our accountability partners so they had specifics to ask us about every week.
For us, a big point on our list was our “situational boundaries,” like avoiding being alone as much as possible. If you choose to write a list, yours will probably look different than ours did. Which is ok. Know yourself. Know where you are most prone to slip. Bring the process before the Lord in prayer and ask for His guidance in what to write and for His strength to follow what you have written. I can tell you from experience that He will provide.
Prayer and Scripture
For us, this was the most important point. As Christians, we need to be living lives that are saturated in prayer and the Word of God. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). On days that we knew we would be spending time together, we would do our best to pray over the day individually before we met.
Something else that helped us while we were engaged was using alarms. Michael set alarms to go off on his phone every two hours or so on days we were together. When the alarms went off, we prayed that the Lord would keep us grounded in Him. We also read a verse out loud off a list of verses that each of us had chosen. We used these Scriptures as weapons to proclaim against the enemy.
The alarm system helped to keep us focused on our Father in a time when sexual temptation was consistent. I can’t tell you on how many occasions those alarms were perfectly timed to go off. God is sovereign, and I believe that He really did use this as another way to protect us and keep us close to Him.
Today is New
I don’t write this to brag but to share things that helped me in hopes that they will help you too. I pray that you are encouraged. Michael and I battled. We were not perfect, but I can say, all thanks to our Father, that we saved ourselves for marriage. Working to uphold our physical boundaries was difficult, but it grew us immensely. I learned how to rely more heavily on God, how to be open about my sin and shortcomings, and how to demonstrate patience and love my husband in a deeper way. Though we’re married now, this does not mean that we won’t battle with sexual sin anymore. This also doesn’t mean that we are finished growing. The Lord is at work in His children daily.
Jesus died and rose for us to have victory over sin, death, and separation from God. This victory is already ours. The cycle of sin does not have to continue. Shame does not have to be your norm. Choose to lean on the Lord, be renewed, and start fresh! In Christ, you are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I challenge you, no matter where you are in terms of sexual sin, to decide today to seek out an accountability partner, to know yourself and your struggles, and to go to the Lord in prayer. Living a life of purity is only possible by the blood of Jesus, our perfect sacrifice and our risen Savior. He calls us to daily strive to honor Him; may we do so, starting now.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. Allie completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction and has also been published in two of Liberty University’s other online journals, The Kabod and Aidenn. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, singing, musical theatre, photography, and Zumba. She is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie was raised in Maryland and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.