By Kristi Woods, Crosswalk.com
It’s easy to be lulled into complacency concerning premarital sex, casting aside the effects and consequences of premarital sex on marriage. The glorification of it surrounds us, and the warnings are often muffled and chalked up as old fashioned. Ever wonder if that’s deception at work? We may not always realize it or notice the effects until later, but we’re wise to take notice of the consequences from premarital sex. Let’s investigate further.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Chein Pham
What Does the Bible Say about Premarital Sex?
The Bible doesn’t specifically mention ‘premarital sex’—not in that exact term. Some translations mention the word ‘fornication,’ but there’s controversy concerning whether ‘fornicate’ is an appropriate term. Whether it is or isn’t, we find several verses that spin around an axis of sexual morality and help us navigate this question. They often center on the heart and the spirit. So yes, the Bible does indeed have much to say about the concept of premarital sex.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
In this verse, God opens a glimpse into sexual relations. A man is instructed to leave his father and mother, unite with his wife, then become one with her. This includes three distinct steps in a specific order: leave, unite, then become one.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
When hormones rage, corralling sexual desire isn’t always easy or wanted, especially not in the heat of the moment. Some of us have stepped into this arena more than once. In this spiritual battleground, however, we’re called to guard our heart with righteousness, not follow it with selfish desire. We serve a God who equips and loves us well, and He knows the impact our actions and those of others can have on the heart. He even offers forgiveness when we’ve trailed off after the heart instead of guarding it well.
These two Bible verses give glimpse of a life led with Holy Spirit wisdom. Self-control sits on this list, a topic often in the center of the sexual battlefield. Living by and following the Spirit leads us to a life bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—not idolatry, jealousy, selfish ambition, or sexual immorality.
For more Bible verses about marriage click here.
9 Effects & Consequences of Premarital sex on Marriage
When hormones rage and unchecked emotions sit in the driver’s seat, we risk a ride we never anticipated. The body and heart can be injured—but not only ours. Partners, future spouses, family, children, and friends stand at risk. What if we consider these nine effects and consequences of premarital sex on marriage before we jump in for the journey?
1. You May Be Putting Something or Someone Else before God
Sometimes pleasing people or ourselves becomes more important than honoring God. Worshiping something or someone—including premarital sex, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or our lusts—over our Father equates to creating our own god. We place their importance or ours higher than that of God Almighty. Could this indicate an authority issue? It’s possible. When we hold God in the highest esteem, we trust Him and obey His commands. When we take the reins, creating our own god, we cast honor of God to the side. Putting anything before God will only lead us to heartache and disappointment because only God can truly satisfy us, and He is the only one who will never disappoint us because He can be trusted in all circumstances to be holy, sovereign, and good.
2. Premarital Sex Can Indicate a Trust Issue
Throughout the Old Testament, the Almighty leads His people with love and promise. Time and again, they stray (read Exodus and Numbers). Straying often indicates a trust issue. We, too, can struggle to place trust in God, running ahead with premarital sex versus finding contentment and waiting until after marriage. Misplaced trust will often take us there. Let’s be men and women who lean on Him versus our own understanding, who trust Him with our whole heart, like Proverbs 3:5-6 indicates.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
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3. Additional Sin Can Barge In
When we jump into the waters of premarital sex, other sins often jump into those waters, too. One sin invites another. Lies—whether to parents, a future spouse, friends, or others—and deception are two sins that often tag along for the ride with sex outside of marriage. We may be able to lie to others, but God knows our hearts and He asks us to trust Him completely. We’re wise to be alert and cling to God’s righteousness versus walking into the domino chain effect of sin.
4. Premarital Sex Can Lead to Physical Consequences
Often, we don’t anticipate or consider the physical consequences of premarital sex. We simply want to feel good. But that fleeting moment fulfilled can bring with it a lifetime of concern, change, or challenge for us, a future spouse, family members, and children yet to be born. Here are two very real physical consequences to consider.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease
Both of these physical consequences have effects on multiple people. Pregnancy takes into account another life, and sexually transmitted disease is something a future spouse would need to know about. But in addition to physical consequences, there are emotional ones as well.
5. Lasting Emotional Bond Are Created
For women especially, a sexual encounter can leave a trail of emotions lingering for days or years. This can even trickle into marriage, whether or not the spouse was the premarital sex partner. Those lasting emotional bonds are related to the familiar heart-guarding issue. Women are wise to guard their hearts. So are men. But each is also wise to consider and guard the potential partner’s as well. The encounter isn’t simply about one person. Emotional bonds happen. We’re wise to “love” (in God’s terms) our neighbor well, and God even more so. For women or men that may be experiencing emotional effects from premarital sex, counseling would be beneficial to consider and partake in.
6. Premarital Sex Builds Communication Hurdles
Communication isn’t always easy in marriage. Add on to that conversations about previous sexual encounters or relationships, and the difficulty often deepens. We’ll avoid those hurdles altogether—at least the ones pertaining to previous sexual activity—if we refuse premarital sex. If you are married and you or your partner engaged in premarital sex, but you haven’t discussed it, you may find yourself in a rut of the next three consequences. If you are engaged to someone and either of you has engaged in premarital sex, this is something helpful to bring up for discussion in marriage counseling. If this is an issue in your relationship, it’s much better to be open with each other, to glean biblical counseling together, and to offer forgiveness than to simply refuse to discuss it.
7. It Brings Rise to Comparison
Comparison often gains power in our marriage when we’ve inched open the door with premarital sex. We’re likely to be tempted to compare one partner to another, the encounters, feelings, and more. It can be detrimental. When we refuse sex outside of marriage, however, the comparison thief doesn’t stand a chance. Just as with emotional bonds, comparison is an emotional response that can rear its ugly head time and time again. Discussing this with your partner, before marriage and after marriage, will help to settle a run-away thought life. Discussion and forgiveness are central to the healing process.
8. Premarital Sex Sets a Shaky Foundation
Strong marriages build on a solid foundation. Christ, of course, is the basis for any good and faith-filled beginning, but as we build together with love, good communication, trust, and other attributes, we’ll likely find a solid marriage. Premarital experiences can chip away at a good marriage, however. Maybe it’s a disease or unexpected pregnancy causing friction, an old flame that has somehow re-entered the picture, experiences remain hidden, or those hard conversations that are truly rocky.
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9. It Requires Forgiveness
One thing remains certain when it comes to sin, including sexual immorality. Jesus forgives. For those of us who’ve been tempted in this area, we find relief in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Whether we’ve barely experimented with premarital sex or have a long history—or our spouse does—Jesus freely grants His grace and forgiveness. Our action step is to simply ask Him. It’s not too late. Then we are to extend that same grace and forgiveness toward our partner out of humility and gratitude, as we have been forgiven ourselves and are given grace daily.
3 Bible Verses Concerning Sexual Immorality
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
In the Bible, we read, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;” (1 Thess. 4:3-5, WEB).
Find more Bible verses about sex here.
As we read the Scriptures and study the potential dangers, we learn that the effects and consequences of premarital sex on marriage are so much more than a quick, satisfying desire. There are dangerous spiritual roots—heart issues—created and deepened when we step outside of God’s perfect will. But He strengthens us to withstand the winds of temptation. He also offers forgiveness to make our way back. Stand firm, friend. God leads well.