This isn’t a sermon.
The statement formed part of the conversation that I recently had with a non-believer. She asked for my opinion on pre-marital sex and when I offered it, the conversation then moved to the sexuality of millennial Christians, young marriages and our sexual urges.
She wanted my opinion on Christians getting married much earlier simply to have sex. She said that many of her Christian friends (who wouldn’t be older than 24) were married and she couldn’t help but wonder whether there was a direct link between sex and the trend among young believers to marry much earlier.
If you say that you have not noticed the trend among Christians to marry young then I would question the sincerity of your claim because there is an obvious trend. Whether sex is the catalyst for this trend is debatable.
Are we getting married earlier to just have sex? And is it wrong?
I would be lying if I said that this question never crossed my mind. The desire for sex is an insatiable force. In 1st Corinthians 7:9, Paul says. “ but if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Other translations read, “but if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn” and “but if they do not have self-control, let them get married. For it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire. “Every translation that I have come across includes the word burn which alludes to the intensity of the desire. Like fire, sexual desire consumes and conditions our thoughts, clouds our judgement and has a huge impact on our actions.
Referring to that same verse, Paul offers an easy solution to an insatiable appetite for sex and that is marriage. On the basis of Paul’s statement then, marrying someone you want to have sex with is not wrong. Marrying because you are longing to explore another level of intimacy with that person is not wrong; it’s the next natural step.
The Bible doesn’t shy away from speaking about the sexual immorality and how the Lord sees it. 1ST Thessalonians 4:3 says “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality”, Hebrews 13;4 “let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” and then the one we are probably all familiar with “flee youthful lust” paraphrased from 2nd Timothy 2:22 . So I definitely understand the premise, we’d rather marry than dishonour our bodies. So perhaps many of us are getting married earlier because sexual immorality is clearly outlawed. However, my qualm with those who subscribe to that notion alone is sexual desire shouldn’t be the deciding factor and if it is then you are clearly missing the point. I also hate that this line of reasoning is over – encouraged.
We shouldn’t be getting married younger just to have sex. A lot of young Christians will marry for sex and get divorced because the sex is poor, one year into their marriage. Imagine rushing into marriage for that reason alone to find that on your wedding night, the sex does not meet up to your expectations and so the haste was for nothing. Often we forget that sex like everything else can be mastered. We want it to be all fireworks and magic forgetting the technicalities of the actual process. Whether you have had sex with your partner before and then made the decision to abstain, whether you are both virgins or whether only one of you is a virgin, sex is the bringing together of bodies and initial awkwardness should be expected.
Getting married to purely fulfill your sexual desires reduces marriage to a performance that occurs four times a week (depending on your schedules) and that is not marriage and it’s definitely not love. 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 reminds us what love is, it is patient, it is kind, it does not boast, it does not envy”. Nowhere in that verse does Paul compare love to burning. Marriage isn’t defined by a commitment to have sex with the same person for the rest of your lives but a commitment to be committed for the rest of your lives. If sex is the only way we understand commitment then we’ve missed the part where Jesus was hung on a cross and bore the brunt of our sins.
I question the genuineness of any relationship that is simply borne out of the desire to have sex. Did you take the time to get to know her/him? Or was the dating phase coloured by your sexual appetite? Has your relationship fully matured from lust to love? These are the questions that come to mind when I hear people validate their motivations to marry young using Paul’s infamous line.
Rarely is 1st Corinthians 7:9 juxtaposed with the scriptures that encourage self control like 1st Thessalonians 4:4, “each you must control his own body in holiness and honour”. This verse demonstrates that self control is still the pivotal thing and marriage is not just a quick fix.
By all means get married and have great sex but it should never be the deciding factor. A friend of mine once said to me, “ marry someone you would still marry if you couldn’t have sex with them” and I that’s the approach I hope to take. Marriage is like a car journey. Love is the driver and companionship is the front passenger and sex is the third wheel that sits at the back.
Sex should be the cherry on the top, never the deciding factor. Don’t get married to just have sex to find that great sex is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Marry for something more.
I just think the message get married and you can have all the sex you want is an oversimplification. If we are getting married to just have sex then maybe we should revisit the subject of marriage.
Love Cris x
I wonder if Paul appreciated how much of an impact 1st Corinthians 7;9 would have on our decision to get married.
What do you think, are we simply marrying because we can’t abstain any longer? And is it ok to do so?