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Why Wait Till Marriage?
Addendum-Christian Marriage
  • Introduction
  • Two Dimensional Principles
  • Two Functional Principles
  • Conclusion / Further Reading

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Why Wait Till Marriage?

A critique of contemporary arguments for premarital sex

Jimmy Williams and Jerry Solomon

Addendum: Christian Marriage


God has given specific principles about the functioning of the family unit, as He designed it. These principles are timeless and practical if His directions are followed carefully. We will cover three categories: foundational principles, dimensional principles, and functional principles.

  1. There are three foundational principles for Christian marriage (Gen. 2:24--25).

    These three foundational principles are the basis for all healthy marital communication and adjustment.

    1. The principle of permanence: "leave and cleave."

      1. Don't get married with your fingers crossed.

      2. Start with the perspective, "till death do us part."

      3. This commitment to permanence gives couples an important foundation for the marital adjustments that will be necessary.

      4. Those in the divorce courts do not have unique problems. They are divorcing over the same kinds of conflicts that other couples are working through to mutually acceptable solutions.

    2. The principle of exclusiveness: "one flesh."

      Unless fidelity and mutual trust are developed, the marriage is on shaky ground. A new relationship of one common life is to be forged from two previously independent lives.

    3. The principle of openness: "naked and not ashamed."

      1. There is not only a need for a healthy physical relationship free of inhibitions, but a need for total openness of communication with one another.

      2. Without openness, the word intimacy is meaningless in marriage.

  2. There are three dimensional principles. The Bible teaches that man is body, soul, and spirit. The body can cease functioning (death). The soul, or personality, can cease to function properly (psychosis). And the spirit can also be inoperative. To the extent that all three areas function properly in both people, a healthy, maximum marriage will be expressed.

    1. The spiritual principle.

      1. The Bible teaches that man is dead in his spirit until he has a spiritual birth or conversion (Eph. 2:1; John 3:1--8). This occurs when an individual recognizes the need to personally accept what Christ accomplished at the cross on his behalf, i.e., Christ's substitutionary death.

      2. If one or both of the partners have no spiritual life, one dimension of the marriage is not functioning properly.

    2. The psychological/emotional principle.

      Meeting one another's emotional needs becomes a vital part of properly meeting one another's physical needs.

    3. The physical principle.

      1. The definition of what man is today is responsible for some marital conflict. If man is only biological then sex is only the mating of two animals, whether humans or cocker spaniels.

      2. A social "hot dog" may have variety in sex but he can never have intimacy, because his lack of commitment to the other person and the temporary aspect of the relationship prohibits it.

      3. The honeymoon is over and sexual compatibility is at its peak when a couple is communicating spiritually and emotionally. Maximum sexual fulfillment is an accumulation of shared experiences.

  3. There are two functional principles.

    1. The husband has certain responsibilities (Eph. 5:23--31).

      1. He is to initiate leadership.

        1. He has the God-given responsibility for the home and will ultimately be held accountable.

        2. The spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of the family unit is squarely placed on his shoulders.

      2. He is to initiate love. The husband is commanded in the Bible to love his wife. The wife is never commanded to love her husband, because she will respond with love when he initiates it.

      3. Distortion of these two responsibilities (dictatorship on one hand, passive sentimentality on the other) will produce conflict and personality disorder in the children, who must sort out their sex roles in an abnormal setting. Homosexual tendencies often result.

    2. The wife has a particular responsibility. She is to submit (respond) to her husband (Eph. 5:21--23).

      1. This does not mean that the wife is inferior. An example of this is found in the historic orthodox doctrine of the Trinity (Phil. 2:5--7). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equals in personhood, but have mutually agreed to an authority/submission relationship with regard to an orderly, purposeful functioning by all three.

      2. This does not mean there is no room for discussion. A wise leader will encourage input from those submitted to him, and will rarely make decisions in the face of strong resistance from them.

      3. This does mean that the husband and wife have different functions. (For example, a lock and key complement each other, but at the same time have distinct functions.)

      4. Although it is true that women have been exploited, feminists have largely caricatured the role of women as truly taught in the Bible. Proverbs 31 is the clearest description of a Godly woman, and more freedom and fulfillment is expressed and described there than what is being demanded by many today. The freedom is there, if understood and properly applied.

      5. Violations of this role in the female have also played a major part in developing homosexual tendencies in children.


Marriage is God's idea. He wants you to enjoy it. Follow His principles and you are well on your way to a joyful, satisfying marriage.

For Further Reading

Alcorn, Randy C. Christians in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution: Recovering Our Sexual Sanity. Portland, Ore.: Multnomah, 1985.
This excellent book will help you understand where our sexual culture really is today, how it got there, and where it's headed--and then what all this means personally as you press on in the journey to purity.

Elliot, Elisabeth. Passion and Purity. Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1984.
An intimate and inspiring account of the author's first love relationship; demonstrates that passion can be real and purity still maintained; a much-needed elevation of premarital virginity, especially helpful to young women.

Lutzer, Erwin. Living with Your Passions. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1983.
Using a Christian perspective, Lutzer provides a strong rationale for sexual purity. He shows the inevitable consequences of permissiveness and points to God's Word as a guide to living victoriously with passions.

Haffner, Al. The High Cost of Free Love: Exposing the Myth of "Safe Sex." San Bernardino, Calif.: Here's Life, 1989.
Haffner outlines the psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences of pre- and extra-marital sex, including abortion and AIDS.

Purnell, Dick. Free to Love Again: Coming to Terms with Sexual Regret. San Bernardino, Calif.: Here's Life, 1989.
Purnell explains how people become trapped by sexual temptation--and how to avoid the emotional "tug-of-war" it creates. He shares how to overcome destructive experiences and be fully restored to move forward with freedom and victory in future relationships.

Stafford, Tim. Love, Sex, and the Whole Person. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1991.
Tim Stafford, who writes a column for Campus Life magazine entitled "Love, Sex, and the Whole Person," has compiled the best of his columns in this helpful book. It is written with students in mind and covers such subjects as "Dating/Relating," "Controlling Sex in Relationships," "How Far Do We Go?" "Why Wait?" and several other pertinent topics.

Trobish, Walter, Living with Unfulfilled Desires. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1979.
A well-known counselor's correspondence with high school and college students seeking to understand themselves, their relationships, and sex; with honest questions and sound helpful answers, this is an excellent resource for teenagers and their parents.

White, John.Eros Defiled: The Christian and Sexual Sin. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1977.
Sex has been defiled. The results are evident in premarital sex, extramarital sex, masturbation, homosexuality, and various forms of twisted sex. The author writes about such subjects with understanding and compassion. He also offers a chapter on how local churches can be communities for dealing with sexual sin in a context of love and forgiveness.

Wilson, Earl D. Sexual Sanity: Breaking Free from Uncontrolled Habits. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1984.
Wilson counters society's distorted values with sound, biblical principles that point the way to long-term sexual satisfaction. Focusing on common sexual obsessions such as homosexuality, masturbation, promiscuity, voyeurism, and pornography, he shows how these and all obsessions are formed and why they are so hard to escape. Practical steps are offered to deal with temptation, to break the patterns of obsessional thinking and to establish sexual sanity.

©1998 Probe Ministries
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