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Girls and Sex

Dear Professor Theophilus:

Maybe you can help me. I'm a serious Christian, a college sophomore, and I've been dating a wonderful Christian guy for nearly a year. We've discussed marriage, and are both certain that we could be happy spending the rest of our lives together. However, we've struggled with physical issues. Though we've never actually had sex, to be honest, we've done everything but. In the last two months, we've started getting our acts back together. We're making progress in our individual spiritual walks, and we're finally both getting back to where we need to be with God, repenting and changing our patterns of behavior. We've found people who will hold us accountable, and we're trying to do what God wants. However, now we're faced with the question: How are we supposed to know if it's God's will for us to marry? I've faced questions about God's will before, for example when choosing a college, but this is so different because there are strong emotions intertwined. Do you have any suggestions for seeking God's will in a situation like this?

Reply:

Anyone might ask how to know God's will concerning one's choice of future husband. Because of your emphasis on sexual sin, repentance and your efforts to change your behavior, your question seems to be more pointed. What I think you're asking me is "Considering how strong and misleading my sexual feelings toward this young man have been, how can I tell whether the idea that he is the husband for me is coming from God or my hormones?" The answer is that you can't tell — yet. But you can after time. Here's how.

First the distraction of all those sexual feelings has to be cleared away. I notice that you don't say that you've got your act together but that you've "started getting" it back together. You don't say that you are walking with God again but that you are "making progress" in your spiritual walks. You don't say that you have got back to where you need to be with God but that you are "getting back" to where you need to be with Him. You don't say that you have repented and changed your behavior but that you are "repenting and changing" your behavior.

What this means is that you haven't done it yet. So do it. There is no "gradually" about repentance and abandonment of sexual sin. Don't put an "-ing" on these verbs — you have to stop what you shouldn't be doing. That means an immediate and total end to the use of your bodies for sexual recreation. Anything which sexually arouses — for example, kissing sessions — is out; arousal was designed by God not "for affection" but as preparation for intercourse. Purity also means a total end to anything that tempts you to the impure behavior, such as being alone with each other (even for prayer). Be together, certainly. But be together in public places, and with family, and with friends.

By the way: He doesn't have to agree to this. You don't need his consent to repent and abandon sexual sin. If at some point he says "This isn't for me — see you some time," you have your answer to the question of whether he is the right husband for you. That means he's not.

After you've gone "cold turkey" on sexual behavior, and kept it up without lapse for at least six months, I think you'll find it much easier to determine God's will without the distraction of excessive sexual feelings. I don't mean that you won't be attracted to the guy any more! You don't yet know how you'll think and feel toward him then; that's one of the things you'll find out. But whatever attraction you feel toward him will no longer be artificially and misleadingly amplified by all of that sexual behavior.

Grace and peace,
PROFESSOR THEOPHILUS

TELL ME HOW TO STOP

OK Professor T,

I've been reading your previous articles about sex and marriage and premarital sex and everything else. But I have lingering questions.

I'm a college senior and engaged to my long-term boyfriend. We're both Christians.

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