By Maria Foreman
I was at a party during the holidays last year talking to my newly-wed cousin. She had just gotten married to her fiancé and so I asked her how married life was going. Her answer broke my heart. She said, “Umm, it’s not that much different”. I thought to myself, “not that different?” How can it be “not that different?” Marriage is supposed to be one of the most radical changes in your life. What made it “not that different” in her case was that she had lived with her fiancé before they got married.
Now, I love this cousin of mine with all of my heart and cherish the times I spend with her. I am not making any judgements on her or anyone. I know loads of people who live together, and that does not change my call to love them. But it hurt my heart to know that she was not experiencing all that she could be when she said, “I do”.
When a man and a woman decide to live together before marriage, they cheat themselves of the excitement and beauty of marriage as it is supposed to be. Their wedding day is not as purely exhilarating as it would be for a couple who waited. It just seems like a party at that point instead of this life-changing ceremony where you boldly promise yourself to one person forever in front of the most important people in your life.
I want my wedding day to be what it is supposed to be in its entirety. I want it to be the beginning of a completely new way of life. I want it to be a day of joy, promise, trustful vulnerability and fulfillment. I want a man who will love me enough to commit to me. Someone who tells me they will live with me but won’t marry me yet is, personally, not someone I can trust. If you really love me, show me. Show me that loving me does not simply mean having sex with me. Loving me means that you want to spend time with me, learn about me, get to know the deepest parts of me, care for me and desire the best for me.
The definition of love is not “to have sex with”. Sex is one way that you show someone you love them, but it is sacred. It is so sacred that it can only be truly appreciated with one person, at the right time. God gave us sex, and he wants us to enjoy it. There is no part of Him that is trying to put us in chains by having us wait for marriage. He just knows that our love for our partner will be so much more satisfactory and appreciated if we know that they are completely ours and we are not burdened with the fear that this bond could be severed at any moment.
Living together before marriage has become such a normal progression of relationships that people do not realize that there is another way of doing things. I am continuously astounded by how I cannot find one show, book, movie or song that celebrates chastity. But that does not mean we cannot change. And it does not mean that those who are living together now cannot decide to end their current living situation and commit to waiting for marriage. That is an absolutely courageous and chaste decision.
I wish this could have been the case for my cousin because I desperately wanted to see her experience the full, true beauty of her wedding day. To go against the way of society and decide to live separately before marriage would be absolutely revolutionary. It is different, it calls for sacrifice, and it is definitely not popular. But from the witnesses of those who have waited until marriage, or decided to change their situation later, it is absolutely worth it to be a revolutionist.