Long engagement (and what to do)

What limits should we set before marriage?
jerem
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Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby jerem » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:10 am

hello ::help

Ive looked through the list and none really answer what to do to remain celibate before marriage,
our wedding is in 12 months and both lovely fiance and I realise a long challange ahead. shorter engagement is not possible for my lovely fiance is studying and working fulltime separately plus being on call 24 hours a day
meaning she could be called out from her own wedding if it were any time sooner :(. she also wants to enjoy our first year as my beautiful wife too.

i would like to know
- what helped those with long engagements, "make the distance" to their wedding night?
- can anyone shed light on ways to manage sexual desire, so it is a healthy commitment to wait for Marriage?
(i really struggle with what can be seen as restraining my sexuality and desire for making love to my future wife, as i see it as potentially having the opposite effect. i generally adopt a mental health approach of "acknowledge, accept and release, knowing that it is what you do with your thoughts that matter)
- how do i practically love my fiance in the intervening time to our wedding?

thanks all!

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby poetess » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:43 am

Well, in my personal opinion, a regret-free marriage bed is worth more than an elaborate wedding. Sure, your wife wants to focus on you (and she should) once you're married, but mentally you are distracted anyway. Do you know who will be doing your marriage counseling? I would ask him for a session or two now, and consider the possibility of having a smaller wedding sooner. Accept the possibility that she might be called away on the first date you choose, but see if it is possible. At least talk over that option.

A fancy wedding is a luxury, not a necessity. The apostle Paul's counsel to those who cannot control themselves is to go ahead and get married, not to look for "methods" of self-control. If your wedding were a month away, I'd be suggesting self-control ideas, but a year down the road I think is too much, if you know that you want to marry and your community agrees this is a good match. (If your parents and/or pastor or close friends are advising caution, that's another matter altogether.)

But I will say this very definitely: "Common sense" today is that couples need to be alone together in order to "get to know each other." I believe quite strongly that our culture is wrong on this. My husband and I got to know each other extremely well, we talked in great detail about our beliefs and our dreams and our shortcomings, all of it, but were never once alone together behind closed doors. We showed quite a bit of careful affection, but we weren't distracted by the affection into letting it become foreplay. We spent time in public places (malls, coffee shops, parks), we talked on the phone or by e-mail, and we communicated inside houses but with at least one other person in the house too (in another room), always. We didn't go into each other's bedrooms (except that since his bedroom was going to become ours, I did go into his with his family to see what it looked like, but not the two of us alone), nor did we kiss and snuggle on the couch (I realized that was too much), nor did we engage in passionate kissing until our wedding day. The details of that don't matter, but the "not being alone together" is, in my opinion, extremely important if you are determined to maintain sexual purity.
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby CandC320 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:08 am

Poetess has given you good suggestions. A 12 month engagement is a long time to wait but it is "doable". Others have remained virgins over that amount of time and I'm sure they will post some of what they did to remain so. Set guidelines for yourselves that you can hold each other to. Often when one is "weak" at a particular time, the other will be "strong", and vice versa. Keep yourselves strong spiritually and stay close to the Lord. Take time to read good books on marriage and talk about your dreams and expectations for marriage. Find an older married couple to "hang" with. A couple with a solid marriage can give you some sound council on what you can look forward too. God bless you! Prayers for you and your fiance. :D

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby Leah » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:50 am

Here are my two cents' worth:

1. Don't look for the boundaries. You know where they are.
2. In weak moments ask yourself if what you want 10 years from now is worth giving up for what you want right now.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby bikebubba » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:37 pm

If the female fiancé is working full time, studying, and is on call 24 hrs/day, there may be bigger issues than the length of the engagement. Specifically, how do the chosen careers of the couple mesh, if they do at all? Will someone with "on call" realities respect someone who does not? Have they talked through how this will work in terms of coming together, children, and the like?

The issue of how to keep pure is simple, as another noted. You stay in the Scriptures, avoid being behind closed doors, etc.. The issue of how one makes things work with one spouse having a fairly demanding occupation is not so simple, especially when the person with the more demanding occupation is the wife.

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby Prayerful » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:54 pm

Provided both of you are on the same page as far as being pure, holding back while engaged should have no negative effect on your future sex life.

We had our firm limits, were engaged for one year, never crossed the line into sex before marriage. We were determined to be pure. Once we were married we went nuts with all that built-up desire!

One great side effect of waiting is that we developed great communication because we were talking and praying instead of focusing on sex.
Last edited by Prayerful on Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby C_Brown » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:41 pm

My SIL and her FH were meeting with their pastor and told him how hard strong the temptation was they faced. He said, `We can fix that`. He got a couple of brothers who were out in the hall and brought them in to be witnesses, and married them right there and then. Problem solved.
So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing -- Yvaine (in the movie Stardust)

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby Prayerful » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:04 am

C_Brown is making a very important point, here. It wasn't as hard for us as some, but if it is hard for you, don't sin, get married. You can still have the fancy celebration afterwards.

If you go into marriage with a guilty conscious it could damage your relationship long term.

For many people a long term engagement is a bad idea. Be creative and think up a solution that will allow you to marry soon. The fear of being on call during your wedding is not worth damaging your relationship over. The wedding is one day, the relationship should be for a lifetime.

One couple I know of had 3 weddings. Her home country fancy wedding, his home country fancy wedding, but before both of these the real marriage!

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby poetess » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:19 am

A quick marriage might indeed "solve" the lust problem, but it doesn't address the issue bikebubba rightly raised. They still have the question of whether either person is ready for marriage beyond the sexual aspect. Sexual desire/satisfaction isn't nearly all there is to marriage! That's part of why I suggested counseling to explore an earlier marriage as an option, rather than directly suggesting an earlier marriage. We don't know why the wife-to-be is temporarily in such a heavy workload, or whether it will continue (to a lesser degree) once the year is up. If the answer to that is "yes," I personally wouldn't advise a quicker marriage, I'd advise no marriage at all. But without knowing the details of the circumstances, suggesting outside counsel sounded best.

I'm NOT saying they should not marry. But my counsel to look at what their community is saying about the match and to get marriage counseling seem to me to be basic. If his wife-to-be is able to quit the full-time job (for example) but has other commitments she cannot get out of right now, or otherwise rearrange her priorities, then getting married right now may be a good option. But if she has commitments she cannot leave (say military) or is not willing to leave, then they need to look at whether marriage is the right choice for her now (if such commitments are really just short term), or maybe the right choice at all (if she will have demanding time commitments long-term).
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby Learning1 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:52 pm

Hi Jerem,

My DH and I feel for what you are going through. We were engaged in June 2013 and been married just shy of one week. You have been given good advice so I just will speak to this question.

jerem wrote:- how do i practically love my fiance in the intervening time to our wedding?

thanks all!


Do you know your FW love languages ? If not I would find out and then that should help you answer that question. Read more about it here http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ Take the free on-line quiz together. Read the book. When we were engaged we took both the single & married person quiz. For married quiz we based our answers off what we thought we might like when we married. We both have physical touch as a primary, so we had to focus on the 2nd & 3rd love language on the list.

At times our 8 month engagement was ::xx torture from a sexual standpoint. Other than a few stolen passionate kisses (not the French kind) we stuck to our boundaries we set. We honored our Biblical beliefs. I do not say that boastfully or pridefully. It was a struggle AND it was worth it !
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby Pandaschatz » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:40 pm

I agree with Poetess and Learning1.

But you also have to be careful with email/texting/phone calls. "Sexting" is just as bad, and regrettably DH and I engaged in this.
Remember that at all times, the Devil is trying to get us to sin in one way or another. We were engaged for 9 months. We had boundaries. But we allowed ourselves to be blinded by sin and desire, so we "creatively" found ways around those boundaries. If you have one small incident of boundary crossing, overreact to it. I mean, set the boundary 50 yards back from where it was. Mark 9:42-50. Things you never thought could arouse you, may all the sudden be very arousing. Kissing not a temptation? Be on alert, it suddenly could be. It's like the devil is saying "Ok, so you are aware of temptation A. Drat! Oooh, I will offer you tempation B, C, D, and E." In other words, be prepared for a battle. If you fail, remember that while sexual desire is good, wonderful, amazing for your spouse, don't blame it on your sexual desire, or make excuses. You are responsible for YOUR actions. I regret the way I assigned blame to my and DH's premarital acts: I'm tired, he's stressed, it's good to desire him, it won't happen again. Don't make excuses. Be alert. Be specific. Be accountable.

More practical tips:
Watch your speech. Don't talk about hoooow looooong it is till you're wedding day, or how you're soooooooo tired of waaaiiiiting. You will wear each other down.
-This is a spiritual discipline, specifically relating to self-control. Believe me when I say, I am not model of self-control by any means. It is one of my great spiritual struggles. That's why I would suggest implementing another discipline, like fasting. You can fast from food, Facebook, a certain tv show that makes you struggle with your thought life. Work on denying yourself something else, and as you are edified in that, (so I understand) your over all self control will grow. Please don't go full monastic on me, but do consider this. :-)
-If you choose to fast, or even if you don't, choose to add something. Gave up Facebook? Spend that time reading your Bible.
-EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE. Or something. Find ways to release those endorphins and energy your body desires from sex. Run, play soccer, rock climb, do yoga, practice karate, play the drums, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity even. Make your body "your slave" as the Bible says. You'll wear yourself out, get some endorphins, add to your self discipline, and hopefully be in good shape for your wedding day.

Above all, remember this. We've all been there. We know it is undeniably hard. And, having been in your position recently, I know that when all of these wise people are telling you to hold on, it can sound frustrating and make you not want to listen. But the reason, the reason we tell you, we implore you, we beg of you to wait, is because we know it's worth it. I wish I had listened better when I came to them with our struggles last year. The bottom line is: No purity book can describe to you, no pastor can preach to you, no Bible verse can be thrown at you that will make you understand why waiting is worth it. That can only be understood the first time you have sex within marriage. There are no adequate words for it. Hopefully, you will have a moment of "OH I GET IT NOW!" on your wedding night. While no one's first time is perfect, it is definitely transformational when it happens within marriage.

I will be praying for you both.
"The basis for getting married that conforms to the way of Christ is a regard for the advancement of the kingdom of God upon the earth."-Richard Foster

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby chachacha » Sun May 04, 2014 5:44 pm

You've gotten great advice! My FH and I will be married in about 3 months, but we've been engaged for 17 months. We did push the date up because we just couldn't wait much longer (we were going to originally get married in November.) We've been able to maintain purity so far. It isn't easy, but we are maintaining, which is good. Here how we've been able to do it. Maybe something here can help you?

1. We set really tight boundaries early on. We figured that we'd set boundaries that would had enough margin that if something happened, we'd be able to bounce back. This included not only physical boundaries, but verbal ones too. Aside from a couple of conversations, we pretty much stayed away from innuendo, sexually suggestive comments or jokes, etc. Now that we are closer, we are talking more about certain sexual aspects, but are still being very careful.

2. He knew where his boundaries lay since he is divorced. I'm not and am a virgin, so I really had no clue. So, very little long hugging and even when I do hug him I angle my body so that there isn't lower body contact. No sitting on his lap or laying with him to watch a movie or anything of that. No french kissing or long kissing. Even so we discover new things. Like, he was massaging my calf muscle the other day, and I couldn't allow him to continue. (I know right? My calves? Who knew?)

3. He had an accountability partner to help him in this area.

4. We don't focus on what we are missing, but rather on what we need to do to prepare. There is so much to do before a wedding. Marriage counseling, financial counseling (Financial Peace University is amazing), discussions about future goals, ministry, and so forth. We talk a lot about ministry and other things and that helps to keep our minds off of sex.

5. We spend time along together, but not a whole lot of time alone together. He comes over sometimes, but rarely late, and never several days in a row. We see each other a lot and talk to each other a lot, but mostly in public settings.

6. We both don't want the consequences of premarital sex. That is incentive enough for us to wait. Even with that, I know that an unguarded moment could bring temptation. Only in Christ can I stand. I don't really trust my flesh. So, we keep things pretty strict to avoid temptation. It has been working for us so far.

I hope this has been helpful in some way.

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby Clean Sheets » Mon May 26, 2014 4:44 pm

We had a 15 month engagement. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But, we made it. IMO, there are no easy answers to this. If moving the date up is not an option, then it's one day at a time of good choices: having plans, having people around you, going in groups, staying in public.

I remember the last night I had to endure all of this before I knew we had made it... I felt like I had won the Superbowl. And in my spiritual life, that's just what that was. We made it to our wedding night as virgins... and not the everything but sex-kind. We waited, and I'm glad.

You can do it, too.

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby pigweed » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:06 am

You can go into marriage without regrets but you need counsel and you got some really good stuff here! Its been awhile since we were where you are but we did not forget how much we looked forward to when we could fully express our love to each other. The guilt free raptor of God Blessed sex in was beyond super good and worth waiting for. Read an article by Gila Mensolson on simpletoremmeber.com This is a orthodox jewish website where she explains very well the Jewish approach to relationships. I am not jewish but think she will give you some useful things for your journey and a bit more of perhaps what God had in mmd when he said Marriage is honorable in all... and that we should not touch a women romantically until then. Very good info. I think moving up the wedding may be a good idea but you can stay pure with no regrets for as long as you really need to but you must the pitfalls and land mines that you may encounter and good counsel and a couple to walk with you is really important. Keep us posted on how it is going and as you are brought to mind I will pray for you!

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby OldBear » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:23 am

jerem, as you read through these posted responses, you'll note the high degree of encouragement with lots of good tips to enjoy and honor each other during your long pre-martial days as you anticipate your marriage and marriage bed. Some posters speak from well-handled experience and fondly recall the joy of getting to know their FS and honoring them well during their pre-marital days.

You can try all sorts of things, establish boundaries (agreements, distractions, and physical boundaries), but most important is your mutual commitment to repect and honor one another. You are about to enter into a covenant of marriage for life; enter into a covenant of pre-marriage purity and commitment now. It sounds simplistic, but 'just don't do it' where the 'it' is crossing the boundaries (as Leah said, 'you know where they are') of pre-martial engagement.

This old guy regreted his behavior as a young man over 45 years ago, and we paid a price for crossing boundaries (I pushed sexual intimacy boundaries with Miss Youngbear) during our long 5 year courtship and 1 year engagement. By God's grace we were virgins on our wedding night, but there was little mystery left because of my selfishness. It took 15 years of marriage before Mrs. Youngbear quit putting up reflexive 'stop signs' in our MB due to my pre-marital inconsiderate and push for increasing intimacy. Now by God's grace that is far in the rear view mirror distance as we enjoy a ridiculously, wonderful relationship and intimacy in our elder years.

In summary, you are being encouraged to enjoy your engagement as you keep it pure with honor and respect, and simply commit to 'do so.'

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby chachacha » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:12 am

I don't know if you are still monitoring this thread ... but we are one week away from the wedding. We waited and I'm so glad that we did. We are so excited about what is to come! I've been enjoying the whole process of preparing for the honeymoon. We've talked about sex more; we have very frank discussions and there is no shame. I'm a virgin, he is not, but I feel so comfortable talking to him about sex. And his touch is just thrilling. We were watching tv last night, he was rubbing my feet a little, and we were talking - and it was so nice! Something simple like dancing together feels so sensual and beautiful. I can't describe this gift; and we will open it and take our time to explore it together.

So, I want to encourage you - the wait is long, but it can be done, and I can already see that it is worth it!

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby jerem » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:16 am

Cha cha yes i have been paying close attention
yes A fancy wedding is a luxury, not a necessity: Yes and was never mentioned..
her study 24hr thing continues for another 6 months then two weeks and nuptials.
things then return to normal nursing roster.

thanks for advice, it is no more than 6 months now. . . .

til next time

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby carl1089 » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:34 pm

If you really want to be together as man and wife, ditch the plans for a big wedding months down the road and just go get married. My wife and I were in the same boat. We went ahead and got married with two witness, we had popcorn afterwards and a wonderful night of bliss. We called her mom the following day and told her we were married. Well, she threw a wedding together very quickly and we were married the next month in our childhood church with all our family and friends. When you are ready you just have to make call it and forget about the big wedding plans and all the crazy reasons to wait. It is all about getting on with your life with the one you love without worrying about all the self-imposed delays. God bless! Go get 'er! :P

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Re: Long engagement (and what to do)

Postby luvmywoman » Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:35 am

It is my understanding that the history of having a best man and a maid of honor was to have someone that was trusted to be an accountibility partner that could stand with you all the way from the engagement night to to altar. Unfortunately in today's world they are the ones who throw the bachelor party and sometimes even hire strippers. It would be great in the long run to have the best man and maid of honor that would value your life and help make right choices.


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