Sexual Purity: Is the Fight Really Worth It?

I remember picking up the phone and calling my mom to share a struggle I had. I was in seminary and had just started dating my husband Jeremiah. I had a strong attraction to him spiritually, emotionally, and physically and I felt like temptations to compromise my purity were all around me.

I shared with my mom how I couldn’t wait to get married so those struggles would disappear. She paused for a minute and shared a very important truth:

“Samantha, even when you’re married, you’ll have to work hard at your purity.”

She went on to say how new and different challenges would surface in marriage. I didn’t know exactly what she meant since I wasn’t there yet, but I took her wisdom to heart. As we closed our conversation, she prayed that I would live a life of holiness, obedience, and purity in my relationship to Jeremiah.

Seeking Accountability & Revisiting Boundaries
I got off the phone determined to work hard at holding to our standards so our relationship would be set up for success void of any regrets. I felt like we were constantly revisiting our purity and it was frustrating, but necessary. We were weak and needed strict boundaries and accountability.

One morning Jeremiah and I were meeting with one of our mentors in his office. He asked how we were doing and I always knew by the smile on his face that he meant, how are you really doing? We shared how we were struggling with passionate kissing and wanting to go places physically that were dishonoring to God. He encouraged us that many couples struggle but don’t talk about it and he told us to keep fighting against it. While it was intimidating to share such personal struggles, it was freeing to have his support and accountability.

A few months before our wedding day, I suggested to Jeremiah that we fast from kissing for 40 days. In 40 days, it would be our wedding day. He thought it was a wise idea and we told our friends about it so they could check up on us. That kind of fast was one of the best decisions we made, especially as temptations grew as the day drew closer.

By God’s grace, we stuck to our commitment up until our kiss at the altar. It was such a joyful time knowing we had saved ourselves for each other and we’d soon be able to give ourselves fully to one another. We had waited our whole life to experience the sexual act God had created for us to enjoy.

Purity Challenges in Marriage
After an incredible wedding night and a few days into our honeymoon, I quickly learned that in a similar way I had to work hard at being pure in our dating relationship, I’d now have to be committed and faithful to sexual intimacy with my husband. It would be a life-long journey of learning, growing, and being imperfect at times.

A few days after we returned from honeymooning in Hawaii, we had a big fight after being intimate. I stormed out of the door and took a walk around our apartment complex to cool off. We were upset from misinterpretations and unmet expectations. Eventually, we communicated and confessed where we were wrong. Before marriage, we would have never imagined arguing over our sexual relationship.

After the newlywed phase settled down, I learned that switching gears in order to connect and be intimate after an exhausting day of work was really difficult. Our conversation would often go like this while lying in bed:

“Do you want to tonight?”


“Me either. I’m tired.”

We’d say a quick prayer; I love you, and turn out the lights.

Sexual Intimacy Requires Sacrifice and Selflessness
Right now, we have two children under two. My husband is working full-time, taking classes in seminary, and interning at a church plant. By the end of the day, I’m typically worn out from taking care of my children’s needs. Intentionality is key in our sexual relationship. I’ve had to learn what it means to give up the rights to myself and be selfless no matter how tough my day has been.

In the book, Becoming One: Planning a Lasting, Joyful Marriage, Don Meredith says:

God steps boldly to the point, finishing any faint-hearted commitment to the sexual relationship once and for all. My body is not mine, but my mate’s. I am here to please. Hereafter, to demand rights over my body is to disagree with God’s instruction. God makes sex a sacrificial act that is redemptive, in that it gets my eyes off my needs and onto the needs of my mate.”

Watching out for Jeremiah’s needs, rather than my own, is a daily discipline because my thoughts are often about me. But when I sacrifice for his sake, I find great joy. I absolutely love fulfilling his needs and seeing him delight in fulfilling mine. And it’s beautiful to see how God intends the sexual relationship to be—vibrant, exhilarating and fun!

Honoring the Marriage Bed
In Hebrews 13:4, Paul says, Marriage must be honored among all and the marriage bed kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers.” Paul isn’t saying to keep your marriage bed pure when you feel like it or to treat it casually. He’s exhorting and urging couples to do whatever it takes to protect their relationship from outward and inward temptations.

Those temptations might include inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex, emotional unfaithfulness, pornography, adultery, masturbation, or rejecting your spouse’s physical and emotional needs to name a few. Sex is a picture of oneness in marriage and God takes seriously any sin that could sever that bond and destroy what He ordained.

As followers of Christ we’re called to persevere in our purity, no matter if we’re single or married as 2 Timothy 2:22 says: “But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Our responsibility is to surround ourselves with believers who will spur us on towards holiness and godliness.

Was the difficult work of pursuing purity within my dating relationship worth it? Absolutely. It was a constant battle I was determined to fight in order to love and obey the Lord. I can say with full confidence that the fruit I see now in our sexual relationship and marriage is because of the seeds of commitment and discipline that were planted many years ago.


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mom, writer and editor in rural Colorado. Through story, personal experience, and biblical insight she is passionate about helping others live out their faith in everyday life and relationships. She has been writing for leading Christian books and magazines for over 12 years and holds a BA in English and Master’s in Religion. Samantha and her husband, Jeremiah, have been married for a decade and have four young children. Samantha writes candidly about marriage, motherhood, and faith at

  • I am having a hard time. I’m so glad I read this and it gave me some insight. Ive been praying about this and I have talked to my husband about it as well. I however was sexually impure before we were married. But thanks to God, he forgives. And now I struggle… even though as every day goes by our intimacy becomes greater, more passionate, more loving making than just sex. And every day I fall more in love with my husband than ever. We don’t have children yet, we are just newly weds. But I struggle with having sexual thoughts other than my husband while having sex. And its no one in particular, its just a scene of a fantasy over and over again. Ive had this fantasy for years, even before I met him and now I cant get rid of these thoughts while being intimate with him. Ive talked with him, he knows but he is not offended by it. He just listened sweetly and understood and asked questions. He does not struggle with this at all, he only thinks of me, no other woman or porn or anything of the sort. I am amazed by him every day. I don’t know what to do with this struggle. And another thing I have, is masturbation wrong when having sex with your spouse? Is going to an adult store with your spouse wrong? Is using toys wrong? is exploring wrong? I will only be faithful to him, but sometimes I do not feel faithful with this vision. I do not like it at all. Please help! How do I make our marriage bed better?

    • Thank you for being real with your struggles and it’s healthy that you are open with your husband. Scripture doesn’t say anything directly about masturbation, but Paul does talk about lack of control over your own body. His solution is marriage (1 Cor. 7:8-9).

      In all this discussion about sexuality, we have to remember grace. Christ died for us while we were still sinners and he continues to offer grace to us when we fall short. It’s not about a list of rules or duty but about a relationship because we want to love and honor Him. I am so thankful for His undeserved grace.

      I have a friend who struggles with fantasies/thought-life and she went through the book Every Woman’s Desire and spoke highly of it.

  • Vanessa

    Hi Samantha, I believe in saving for marriage and there is a battle to keep purity, but I stand against this teaching of religiousness where you interpret things like masturbation as unpure as there is not Biblical teaching on this in the Bible, and only human interpretation. Also the part where the woman or the man always should please one another no matter what sounds like Islamic supression of womens view. A person can feel sick and not being havng enough energy to give at all times, saying that this is Godly, is saying that sex is put above the love one another and care for eachother.

    To me you wirting sounds like you are talking out of that you are your husbands sex slave and you better put uo at any time, not by own desire, but by service, so in other words it sounds like arranged marrige- forced sex.

    There is nothing holy or Jesus- like about this as He is the King of selfless love and never demands us to have sex with our spouses if we will not. Sorry you just sound really religous and bound, there is no attractive about what you write. More like a plightful heart keeping duties, but no real heart or love it. The world has had enough of phony religion, but starves fro a freeing Jesus 🙂

    • Vanessa- thank you for your thoughts. There are certainly times where a spouse is sick, tired, and isn’t up for it. There is no duty or drudgery here, just love and mutual submission for one another and desiring to protect one another’s purity.

  • Blanche Washington

    I was wondering if you could e-mail me the article on Sexual Purity is the fight worth it.

    • I can send you the original in Microsoft Word. Would that work?

  • Lindsay

    Excellent post, Samantha!

  • Johanna Legodi

    i like this.

  • Great thoughts, thanks for writing! I’ve heard it said similarly that purity before marriage is keeping yourself from your significant other, while purity in marriage is giving freely of yourself to your spouse, only and all for him or her.

    I also think it’s important, after reading the comments, to note that this selflessness of physical expressions of love in marriage goes both ways for men and women. And even for Paul who wrote about our bodies not being our own centuries ago, he very counter-culturally stated that sexual fulfillment in marriage is intended to be mutual for men and women, as the husband serves his wife and the wife serves her husband.

  • Julia Wells

    Great Article! I think you really clearly articulated the struggle before marriage. What most people don’t realize is that there is still a struggle after marriage but it’s totally different and changes as you and your family change ie) kids 🙂

  • thanks for the encouragement, Paul!

  • JLuxx

    Excellent article Samantha! From what I read it seems that you were pointing out that it is absolutely worth it to fight the battle for purity. It seems that there is debate in the community about what is considered “pure.” Especially in our pornographic culture, it can make it difficult to discern where the line of purity drifts to impurity. Therefore, it is essential to know how to measure that line. What will serve as our measuring stick?

    If we want to live in a way that brings honor to our King, Jesus Christ, then we must find out the “rules of the road,” the precepts for his Kingdom. Jesus said that there will be a day when worshippers will worship him in spirit and in truth (Mk 10). There is grace in the Kingdom, but there are also demands and expectations for those who worship Christ.

    With that said, you have done a great affirming that “Yes, in God’s Kingdom, it is worth it to fight the battle for purity.” Scripture is clear that it is in our best interest for us to keep the wedding bed pure. That purity involves building a foundation of fidelity towards God and your spouse, before and after a covenant of marriage has been established (see. Prov 6-7; Hebrews 13; Luke 16; Deuteronomy 24).

    Scripture is given to us so that we know how to best relate to God and to each other. In fact, Torah means “instruction” or “teaching.” God wants us to have lives that are abundant and full, free from destruction (John 10:10). It is when we leave his path of instruction that we invite chaos and pain into our lives (1 John 1).

    Based on some of the shared life experiences mentioned in the posts on your article, we can all see the difficulties that come when we live off the path he has given us. Life becomes confusing and then there is a debate about what is pure. God gives grace to those who have messed up, but he also calls us into the light where there is no darkness. He says, “Go and sin no more.” But he also calls us to worship in spirit and in truth, which often requires submission, service and much self-denial in marriage.

    From your article, I was encouraged that there may be times when one person in marriage may not feel like having sex but that person, out of an incredible demonstration of selfless love gives his or her body to the other in order to protect the purity of the other. Before I was married, I could have never imagined how difficult it is to maintain that purity. But it is a battle that must be engaged with in marriage. When you get married one question you have to ask, “What can I do to serve my spouse to protect his or her purity/ fidelity?”

    Asking this question can help determine what is appropriate to experience and do as partners and individuals in the marriage covenant before God (i.e. is it ok to masturbate in private or with the other present, is it ok to go to adult stores with or without your spouse, is it ok to view pornography or use certain toys?) The question becomes will this activity make my partner and I unified and faithful to one another? Will it help us live lives of fidelity solely to each other? I hope this helps.

  • Diane

    It was great to read your testimoney. Could you also send me the link for the article sexual purity is it worth it. I have struggled as well. God has been so faithful. He has really shown me so much this week, through the word, through song, through an accountability partner, through renewal, remorse, and repentance.

  • Mandy

    Thanks for writing on such a hot topic Samantha! I’ve been reading on this subject myself lately since I’m going through a divorce, healing from my past, and contemplating future relationships. I’ve been reading “Sex and the Soul of a Woman” by Paula Rinehart. I strongly recommend it to any woman that has failed at sexual purity. Most people think of this struggle as it relates to young adults saving themselves for marriage. I’m sure there are many people like me that have been sexually active for years (before and during marriage) and suddenly have to stop urges we’ve been satisfying for YEARS!! Nobody wants to talk about it, but it’s even harder the second time around to remain pure. Sex before marriage really (no REALLY!!) messes with a girls image of herself and the expectations she sets for men in her life. I am determined to not mess up my life this time around by following selfish desires and giving in to foolish lust. Trust me… God’s plan is better!! I know this because I tried it my way and made a royal mess of what God intended to be a beautiful thing. The awesome thing is God takes away our overwhelming desire when we remove ourselves from temptation as soon as it starts. I’ve been praying that God would make my conviction for purity so strong that I will run from temptation! It’s a beautiful feeling to love without shame and regret and know that it’s only through God working in my life that I can even experience love so pure these days. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Samantha! Love you and I’m so proud of you!!

  • Pat

    It was recommended from a friend for me to read gary chapman’s book “things i wish i knew before i got married” and it sent me to this site. I am not married and not quite engaged but me and my boyfriend are making preparations to get married in the near future. We are truly waiting until God says it is time. We are not sexually active with each other but we have moments of passionate kissing and putting our hands where it probably shouldn’t be. We have been refraining from this for a while but we still struggle and its a continuous battle when we are around each other. I am no longer a virgin but he is. Funny thing is i feel he knows more based on his education through websites and porngraphy. It is something that he refrains from doing now but still struggles with here and there. What is worse is that at points i want to watch porngraphy to become more educated about sex. I want to learn with my husband when that time comes. How would you suggest me talking to him about it? Please pray for me and God bless you.
    On another note I do believe it will be hard to keep a good marriage but the bible does say for a woman to be submissive to their husbands and for husbands to love their wives. It is easy and second nature for women to love but most woman say my body is mine and mine only. That could be the very reason why so many marriages end in divorce due to infidelity. A husband should and will understand to hold their end of the agreemeng and love their wife enough not to force sex if their wife is sick and isn’t up to it that night or morning.

    • Hi Pat, Thanks for your openness. I would first suggest being cautious in talking about sex with your boyfriend. It can seem very innocent at first, but can lead to a lot of temptation. Of course it’s exciting to think about it as you guys prepare for marriage, but be discerning. Save most of those conversations as close to your wedding day as possible!

      WIthin marriage, you will have PLENTY of time to talk, learn, and grow in your sexual life together. And as you already read in the article, you will have to work hard at cultivating it but it is an amazing gift in marriage.

      When it comes to pornography, Jesus had pretty strong words concerning how men/women look at women. See Matthew 5:28. The best education about sex is within the experience with your soulmate in marriage.

      I will certainly pray for you. A few other good resources that were helpful for me before marriage were:

      Intended For Pleasure- Ed Wheat
      Sex & the Supremacy of Christ by John Piper

  • Liz

    Hi Samantha

    Thank you so much for being so real and honest in your sharing. I believe that purity struggling is every couple’s battle. There is no such a holy couple that are not struggling at all. The difference is only whether we win or lose the battle. My fiance and I – both of us are devoted Christian – and we have the same struggle with you. Which starts from passionate kissing and ended up touching parts that are dishonoring God. We have been wandering around how to get out from this ‘habit’.
    After reading this, i told my fiance about your commitment to fast kissing for 40days until you got married. And I am glad when he said that we should have the same commitment for the next 90 days until we get married! Please bring us in your prayers!
    We really want to honor and please God through our wedding and marriage.
    Thanks for being a great inspiration for us! God bless you!

    Actually I wrote an article about this on my blog:

  • Liz, thank you for your comment. That is so awesome to hear and I’m so glad our story inspired you. Our fast helped us sooo much especially as things intensify the closer you get to your wedding day. I will definitely keep you in my prayers and I will check out your blog. God Bless!

  • Marissa

    Hi Samantha; your story was so inspiring. I am 21 and my boyfriend is 26. We plan on getting married. We however have been having sex for a year now. We started having sex 5 months after we started dating and he disvirgined me.

    I so badly want to break free, keep our relationship pure and have God sanction our relationship. It seems so so hard to keep away from it. After it; I am weighed down with guilt and I decide not to go down that path again but i keep relapsing into that sin of fornication.

    I view pornography but with conscious efforts directed at breaking the habit; I have not viewed it in months now. Please I need help

  • You never actually answered the question “is it worth it.” In this day and time, oppressed by the world and its sins, even Christians no longer keep their vows to their future spouses, leaving the loyal ostracized and isolated.

  • Blessing Mhaka

    Whoa, great article samantha

  • val

    When we try to stay away from sin, we fail. Marissa, you sound like me before I got married and even now that I am married. If we don’t deal with sexual sin before we get married, we will have a difficult time in our marriage with being faithful, even with our thoughts. So let God work in you. We fail when we try doing it ourselves. We must know what causes us to sin and learn to stay away from it. If porno is your temptation, go directly to a sexual purity website instead. If thoughts consume you read a book that grabs your attention, particularly one that is Christian based. This is something that I do as a routine and it is working, but unfortunately, when we consume ourselves with porno and then stop, it still stays in our head. One must pray even more and read God’s Word about sin.

  • Blessing RAcheal

    Great Article indeed. So blessed and inspired.

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