I've been celibate for 15 months and counting. It was easy for the first eight months or so. With no prospects of a relationship on the horizon, I was, in effect, a sexual martyr, (for Jesus, of course). Then, I meet this awesome, awesome man. Talented, funny, sweet, witty, and, foine.
Off top, we both knew that we were looking for something more substantial than dating and decided that we would be a couple, pretty much from the beginning. We were both on the celibacy path before we met and agreed that we would remain celibate until marriage. Easier said than done.
For a while, it wasn't really a question. The house that I moved from didn't allow for much by the way of discretion in intimate matters. I rented a bungalow above a basement apartment where my elderly landlord lived. My bedroom was above his bedroom and I had heard him, on more occasions than I care to remember, getting it in. I knew that if I could hear him, he would hear me. This was always very sobering to me when I would begin to second-guess my celibacy decision. Since I've moved, by the grace of God (and despite the opportunity presenting itself), we've maintained our purity.
No one else I know is on this path. No one. So when I came across a DVD that my then boss gave me several years ago as I was divorcing my husband, it shined a new light on the subject for me. There were women in this documentary that had been single for decades. It made my journey pale in comparison.
I loved my ex-husband dearly. But the relationship that I'm in now, tells me that I wasn't in love. When there's no reciprocity, how can one be in love?
So now that I'm head over heels for this super-foine man, it is inherently difficult for me not to want to express myself in that way towards him. Then again; it's not. He and I have made this promise to each other and to no one else, that we would be pure again and save ourselves only for the one we are married to. Even in my former marriage, despite only knowing one another and being engaged for six weeks, we too, slept together before we were married.
I was listening to a radio program that featured Pam Stenzel, author of 'Nobody told me'. She said that she heard a wise preacher talk about his pre-marital counseling method for people who sought to be married in his church. Paraphrasing, he asks the couple to be if they are living together or sleeping together. When they tell him which one they are doing, he tells them "So you've already made it clear that you are okay with sleeping with someone that you're not married to."
She went on to say that our society has a way of regarding marriage as the the institution that is supposed to be respectful of all things sexual. But that we cannot have it both ways. Where is the standard? Either sex is something that is only to be done between people who are married, or, we should stop judging Tiger Woods (and the like) for not being faithful to his wife.
That was a profound point to me because the truth is, being married is not the only time that you will have to practice sexual discipline. Even now, in my celibacy with my boyfriend, I am establishing a ritual of discipline that I will have to maintain for the rest of my life. Never mind that having been married and sharing a sexual bond in the confines to which God intended it has utterly skewed my perspective on what sex really is and is supposed to be.
I have had relationships, sexual and otherwise, outside of being married (not while I was cohabitating with my now ex husbnd) and there was always something missing and the unmistakable presence of guilt that followed every sexual encounter. I never wanted to have that kind of smudge or guilt to mar the relationship with the man that I know is the love of my life.
I will just as soon wait for us to be man and wife before we do the act that God intended for husbands and wives to begin with.