How can we as a couple handle the sexual cravings before we get married?

Q: “We are a Christian engaged couple growing in our walk with God. However, we are not virgins and this is the first time both us are actively pursuing abstinence under God’s leadership. We have confessed all of our past histories to each other and are pursuing individual accountability partners. Since we’re engaged is it wrong to look forward to the physical stuff? We are both very much attracted to each other and enjoy looking at each other. Our combined love language is physical touch. We know this will be brilliant when we’re married. But right now, it’s pure torture. We both are aware that we’re living the consequences of our previous sin because we know what sex is like. The pure torture bit is this: Lusting over a man/woman is bad. Lusting over a spouse is excellent. We very much feel stuck in the no-man’s land here. Our wedding is 7 months away and the last thing we want to do is elope because we cracked. We want our testimony to mean something for other people struggling with the no sex thing and most of all we want to honor God. Is there anything else we can do to help us remain pure and keep our testimony?

A: First of all, I want to affirm this couple for being open with each other about their sexual history. That’s an important part of pre-marriage. Second, I want to commend them for committing themselves to sexual abstinence before marriage. That’s the road to the greatest happiness after marriage. I am empathetic with the difficulty of this and it is far more difficult for people who have been sexually active before because they have developed a pattern. But in order to keep sex from becoming an addiction, it’s necessary that you go through withdrawal pains.

God has promised to give us the ability to do what He has instructed us to do. So you look to Him for guidance and for help, you share your honest feelings and honest desires, you tell him how much you anticipate being together sexually after marriage, and you trust Him a day at a time giving you the power and strength to keep yourselves pure with each other. That’s the way the victory is won just like it is over any addictive process. It’s certainly fine to look at each other, appreciate the beauty in each other and even talk about the time when “we” get married and we’ll be together.

The other thing you need to address is, “When will we get married?” I would suggest that, if you know each other well and have had premarital counseling, a short engagement would probably be better than a long engagement.


Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the bestselling 5 Love Languages® series, which has sold more than 8 million worldwide and has been translated into over 40 languages. Dr. Chapman travels the world presenting seminars on marriage, family, and relationships, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Karolyn. For more information visit

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