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Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Wait Till Christmas?

There’s one rule most of us never break: Don’t open your presents before Christmas.

Why? Because we know that the anticipation of waiting until all is ready doubles the pleasure of gift giving and receiving.

That’s even wiser when it comes to the full enjoyment of one of God’s most special gifts, our sexuality. Wise love waits for the wedding night not just because it’s a rule, but because experiencing love that way is such a wonderful beginning for a lifelong, exclusive relationship. The waiting allows couples to become better prepared, to become more settled about their choice, and then to celebrate with joy and abandonment.

Our society tells us to skip the waiting.  Instant intimacy has become the norm in nearly every Hollywood love story, just as instant gratification in general is encouraged by countless ads urging us to buy and indulge with no thought for tomorrow.

Christopher Decker, in an article “Selling Desire, Why Chastity is Bad for Business,” notes that a market driven society has to rid itself of such values as thrift, durability and the idea of carefully saving and planning for the future. The notion of chastity has to go, he says, because it goes directly against the grain of today’s throw away, buy-now-and-pay-later mentality.

Sadly, the results of people living by their impulses range from disappointment to downright despair. “Make love in haste, repent at leisure” is true of all too many couples who will never know the joy of having waited until they’ve publicly pledged their vows and have been officially blessed by their families and congregations. Instead of their unforgettable “first time” being in a relaxed honeymoon atmosphere, it is more likely to have been in a setting where one or both failed to fully enjoy it, where they’ve had extra worries about getting caught or getting pregnant, and when they experienced an almost inevitable painful "divorce" afterwards.

When Scripture directs us to first “leave father and mother” and “cleave (commit) to our spouse” before “becoming one flesh,” it isn’t a matter of our Creator setting up some arbitrary rule. It’s just a formula that puts first things first. And according to an extensive survey done by the University of Chicago, faithful monogamous couples report being much more satisfied with the sexual aspect of their lives than those in uncommitted relationships. The plan works.

Engaging in sexual intimacy without the safeguard of marriage might be compared to starting a fire in one’s living room without having first built a fireplace and a good chimney. Fire can provide wonderful warmth and enjoyment, but without a sound structure to contain it, it can also cause untold harm and heartbreak.

Is there forgiveness for sexual indiscretion? Of course, as there is for any other bad choice. But God, like a good parent, doesn’t want our marital “Christmas” spoiled.

That’s why we’re given this simple rule: Wait until you’re wed.

Then celebrate for a lifetime.
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