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Source: (consider it) Thread: (more) sex before marriage
SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
A few years ago, it seemed to be a fad among fundamentalist churches to get their teens to commit to purity, or chastity, until married. As I recall, the results were, well, disappointing. There was in increase in unwanted pregnancies among the teens. They also found that many of the young adults reported sexual dysfunction when they did get married precisely because they had forgone sexual experimentation that seems to be a part becoming sexually mature.


I've heard that purity rings make the girls targets for male attention. Young men want a challenge, and a girl who publicly declares her vow of chastity is an excellent one. Much wiser, and more dignified to keep your choice private, IMO.

But it's apparently also the case that the fundamentalists involved are often relatively poor, and poverty contributes to high teenage birth rates. This author feels that socioeconomic factors are of greater impact that theology or consumer culture, etc.

Moreover, African American teens have an even higher rate of pregnancy. They don't belong to the True Love Waits white Christian youth culture, although they may well have religious sensibilities. Poverty, again, is probably the most significant factor in their early sexual initiation, and in the likelihood of teen parenthood.

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Hilda of Whitby
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

I'm older than middle aged and more of the wait for marriage bent. But even though I'm closer to Dale's more conservative partner's view, I also think Dale is doing the right thing.

Further, and not wishing to make more of a muddle, I'm a bit concerned about Dale's partner's belief that it's important that they both believe the same things, and for the same reasons. This won't be the first time you disagree-- about faith matters, or about whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher. Making unanimity on all matters a goal seems to me a recipe for disaster. Much more important is simply having a partner who is willing to work thru disputes in a respectful and reasonable manner, and even make sacrifices at times out of love and respect for the other. It seems to me Dale is exemplifying this (very marriage-able IMHO) quality here, and that is to be applauded more than focusing on different parsing of what is, at best, inconsistent biblical teaching.


This. Based on the OP, It struck me that DaleMalley's GF seems more than a tad rigid or controlling, and isn't showing him the same respect that he is showing to her.

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Lamb Chopped
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She may just as easily be young and worried--it took me years to get past what I now realize were minor issues.* And differences of faith (which is what she worries might be going on here) are often not minor issues.

If DaleMaily can continue to be kind and forebearing when she worries, I'd say that's an excellent start to marriage. Particularly because there are almost always these kinds of "x thinks it's important/y doesn't" issues on both sides.

*My understanding is that the human brain isn't really mature until 26 or thereabouts. And it takes longer to gain true wisdom and judgement. Most people don't wait till their 30s or 40s to begin a serious relationship.

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opaWim
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Harsh. If I believe in something and my partner doesn't, it isn't simply about respect. Right and wrong is much deeper than that.

And happily refraining from something out of respect (maybe even Love) for the other is less deep than agreeing on a matter of (perceived) divine law?
The older I get, and the more I read about Jesus Christ and the way He interacted with people, the more I tend to heartily disagree with you.

And also, if a Christian relationship would demand a perfect agreement on perceived christian morality, and that is what one of the partners in this case demands, I fear Christianity would have died out almost immediately.
The practical reality is that a living relationship with God is something that changes and grows during our lives. And when somebody does something right, not out of his own conviction (at that particular point in his journey) but out of respect/love, that goes at least as deep as a formal agreement on right and wrong.

[ 14. March 2017, 16:01: Message edited by: opaWim ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by opaWim:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Harsh. If I believe in something and my partner doesn't, it isn't simply about respect. Right and wrong is much deeper than that.

And happily refraining from something out of respect (maybe even Love) for the other is less deep than agreeing on a matter of (perceived) divine law?
I neither said nor intended nor implied that.

Voluntarily renouncing something out of love for your partner is not only the essence of marriage, it is the gospel.

But you seem to want us to cheer you on as you pile up the emotional blackmail on your partner, and I'm not doing that.

If you believe that God is calling you to this relationship, then you need to take up your cross and not get hung up about whether or not your partner should be ditching her sincere beliefs so that you can get your rocks off.

To state the obvious; what God is calling you to is between you and God, and equally what God is calling your partner to (who, I note, is not here to put her point of view) is between her and God.

If you have any future together, then you have to be able to negotiate the disagreements and the sacrifices and the choices you make when one or other of you disagree.

quote:

The older I get, and the more I read about Jesus Christ and the way He interacted with people, the more I tend to heartily disagree with you.

And also, if a Christian relationship would demand a perfect agreement on perceived christian morality, and that is what one of the partners in this case demands, I fear Christianity would have died out almost immediately.
The practical reality is that a living relationship with God is something that changes and grows during our lives. And when somebody does something right, not out of his own conviction (at that particular point in his journey) but out of respect/love, that goes at least as deep as a formal agreement on right and wrong.

Right, now you are arguing with yourself. If you respect your partner, respect her faulty understanding and don't put her in a position where she has an emotional response to breaking her own moral qualms.

If you can't do that, don't come here expecting us all to fawn over you and tell you how terrible she is being.

[ 14. March 2017, 16:25: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
You may not mean to do this, but you make it sound as if the duty of religion is to indulge people whose priority is to find a great job and have fun sex before eventually looking for a spouse! I doubt that St Paul would have approved; he rather than Jesus seems to have been the one to address 'fornication' directly as a problem. (I'm aware that lots of Christians dislike Paul. But in theory, his writings still 'count', for now at least.)

Err, I definitely did not mean to do that. All I was trying to say that having people your age (or younger) who were fortunate enough to meet and marry their spouse very early on lecture you on abstinence and self-control often comes off as insensitive, no matter how virtuous the intention. Dare I say it almost seems like virtue signalling? [Eek!]

On Paul, I do admit I find him difficult to read, with the caveat I haven't read much of the Bible at all - indeed part of the reason for posting this is because I didn't instinctively think "Right, I'm a Christian now, let's go find out what I am now not allowed to do", although I have read some Paul (or "Paul", depending on one's authorship views, not that I really care that much who wrote the epistles...). At times he seems like he still desperately wants to be a Pharisee...


quote:
Interestingly, there are clergymen who accept that long term committed relationships are more or less equivalent to marriages. In that case, when those couples split up, is that equivalent to getting divorced? Dismissing the 'piece of paper' as unimportant or anachronistic doesn't seem to make such questions easier but more complicated....



That is something I've considered, and I think there might be something in that.
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Question, do you love your partner enough to marry her? That solves the problem. If you do not think you can make the commitment, is it time to move on?

Eh? If you read my original post again I stated categorically that I’m fine not having sex before marriage, but I was thinking more about whether (not) doing it out of respect was enough from a spiritual point of view.

(PS Louise, thanks for moving the thread - I just assumed all sex-related discussion was a dead horse)

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
Err, I definitely did not mean to do that. All I was trying to say that having people your age (or younger) who were fortunate enough to meet and marry their spouse very early on lecture you on abstinence and self-control often comes off as insensitive, no matter how virtuous the intention. Dare I say it almost seems like virtue signalling? [Eek!]

Sorry for double posting, but I should clarify that I haven't personally experienced the abovementioned lecturing, and the leaders at my church have never quizzed me about my sexual exploits pre- or post-conversion, but it is something that I have heard occurring anecdotally, and it's always something that's annoyed me with the "gay Christians" issue as some Christians expect gay people to live up to a standard that they don't have to follow themselves (at least in the same way), but that's an issue for a separate dead horse.

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by Hilda of Whitby:


This. Based on the OP, It struck me that DaleMalley's GF seems more than a tad rigid or controlling, and isn't showing him the same respect that he is showing to her.

(TRIPLE POST - SORRY! [Axe murder] )

I know I introduced my partner into the thread (I toyed with not doing it at all but decided it would just be too hypothetical) but as she isn't here to defend herself (and if she were it would be weird... and if you are, Hi [Smile] [Axe murder] ) and I don't want to go into the internal dynamics of our relationship, do you mind if we don't make judgements on her motives and reasoning? (No offence intended.)

quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
She may just as easily be young and worried--it took me years to get past what I now realize were minor issues.* And differences of faith (which is what she worries might be going on here) are often not minor issues.

If DaleMaily can continue to be kind and forebearing when she worries, I'd say that's an excellent start to marriage. Particularly because there are almost always these kinds of "x thinks it's important/y doesn't" issues on both sides.

With the caveat I made above, I can confirm this is closer to the actual situation (worried for her, me and the relationship, and out of love).

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy: (in response to L'Organist)
My goodness, you really are attempting to give marriage preparation lessons via this limited information imparted on a bulletin board.
[Mad]

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy: (replying to opaWim, but apparently addressing DaleMaily)
Right, now you are arguing with yourself. If you respect your partner, respect her faulty understanding and don't put her in a position where she has an emotional response to breaking her own moral qualms.



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DaleMaily
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mr cheesy,

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But you seem to want us to cheer you on as you pile up the emotional blackmail on your partner, and I'm not doing that.

If you believe that God is calling you to this relationship, then you need to take up your cross and not get hung up about whether or not your partner should be ditching her sincere beliefs so that you can get your rocks off.

To state the obvious; what God is calling you to is between you and God, and equally what God is calling your partner to (who, I note, is not here to put her point of view) is between her and God.

If you have any future together, then you have to be able to negotiate the disagreements and the sacrifices and the choices you make when one or other of you disagree.

If you can't do that, don't come here expecting us all to fawn over you and tell you how terrible she is being.

Are these meant for me (serious question)? It's just I didn't make the posts you quoted in your response...

If they are, I never once suggested that my partner should be "ditching" any beliefs. On the contrary, I made it explicit that I'm conflicted on the issue generally, and furthermore I would be concerned if she were to change her views as it would almost certainly be for me and not because she's changed her mind, which I would never want her to do, regardless of whether I'm a Christian. I also never said she was being "terrible", and certainly have no need to be "fawned over". For the record, I don't think she's being anything but sincere and loving.

If they're not, then please unread the above.

[ 14. March 2017, 18:15: Message edited by: DaleMaily ]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
All I was trying to say that having people your age (or younger) who were fortunate enough to meet and marry their spouse very early on lecture you on abstinence and self-control often comes off as insensitive, no matter how virtuous the intention.

The implication here is that in modern times one has to go through several lovers in order to find 'The One'. But this isn't carved in stone; it's merely a cultural assumption. Why is it now suddenly impossible for us to find a decent spouse in our early or mid-twenties, even though we're surrounded by vastly more companions than our ancestors had?

IMO the reason is that this vast increase in choice has made us pickier. There's always the sense that someone better could come along soon. Therefore the young person is wise not too choose too soon; take a temporary partner or three for sex and companionship, but keep looking.

It has a certain logic to it, but it doesn't seem quite Christian to me. It normalises disposability and undermines loyalty. It also seems to create a sort of grey zone, where individuals may not know what their status really is with the other person. Children are routinely conceived by parents under the assumption or mere hope that they have a solid relationship, whereas in reality one or the other partner is still on the lookout, or still in a scenario of probationary feelings. And these practised attitutes risk leaking into any marriage that does occur.

While there may be pressure for churches to become more tolerant of pre-marital serial monogamy my reading and inclination suggest that those groups that reject such a change will ultimately be stronger than those who succumb. People who make a sacrifice for their faith are usually more committed. In an age of declining religious commitment some groups may choose to make few demands; but others would be wise to emphasise what makes them distinctive.


quote:

At times [Paul] seems like he still desperately wants to be a Pharisee...



I think that's a bit unfair.

Paul had very high standards. But if the standards had been lower then the religion probably wouldn't have lasted; those were hard times for Christians. And he wasn't asking other people to do anything that he was unwilling to do himself (assuming, of course, that he wasn't secretly enjoying orgies while urging others to be celibate or to get married).

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
All I was trying to say that having people your age (or younger) who were fortunate enough to meet and marry their spouse very early on lecture you on abstinence and self-control often comes off as insensitive, no matter how virtuous the intention.

The implication here is that in modern times one has to go through several lovers in order to find 'The One'. But this isn't carved in stone; it's merely a cultural assumption. Why is it now suddenly impossible for us to find a decent spouse in our early or mid-twenties, even though we're surrounded by vastly more companions than our ancestors had?
I don't think this is what DaleMaily is trying to say at all. FWIW, I was one of those who was lucky (and yes, I do think it was luck), to meet the person who I eventually ended up marrying, at the age of eighteen. I was twenty-two when I married. I attended church regularly and socialised with church people until I was in my early thirties, and had the opportunity to interact with a variety of people who had still not found a 'decent spouse', as you so blithely put it, at thirty. My memory is that some of them, at least, were in agony about it, and the problem looked very much to be not that they were, or had been 'too picky'. Nor was their issue that they were missing out on all this great sex that everyone else was having. I think the distress often sprang from the fact that it looked like almost everyone around them was paired up, and that the church is very much focused toward this demographic.

It should also be noted that there is a gender imbalance in churches, which means that if you want to take the line that people should not be yoked to unbelievers, leads to a certain proportion of young women inevitably missing out. I don't think that being prepared to take the approach, in their early twenties, of saying 'well, this might be as good an offer as I'll get', would help very much with such a problem. Nor, in my view, is that the sort of attitude you should take into a marriage.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:

If they are, I never once suggested that my partner should be "ditching" any beliefs. On the contrary, I made it explicit that I'm conflicted on the issue generally, and furthermore I would be concerned if she were to change her views as it would almost certainly be for me and not because she's changed her mind, which I would never want her to do, regardless of whether I'm a Christian. I also never said she was being "terrible", and certainly have no need to be "fawned over". For the record, I don't think she's being anything but sincere and loving.

If they're not, then please unread the above.

I'm not sure what you want anyone else to say, then. You and your partner have different views which means one of you has to sacrifice. Yep. That's how relationship works.

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mr cheesy
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Ych, sorry I'm coming down with something and confusing things.

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Stercus Tauri:
Browsing the 16th century records of the Presbytery of Stirling, as one does*, it was instructive to read that back then they didn't get particularly exercised over the issue of cohabitation before marriage. However, it was failure to follow through on a promise to marry that would incur their wrath, and it could be expensive, with public repentance and heavy fines involved.

In one of George MacDonald's novels he says that in nineteenth century Scotland a man's written proposal of marriage, followed by the birth of a child constituted a legal marriage. I don't know whether he was right.

Moo

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Brenda Clough
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Increasing the number of choices in anything (not only spouses) increases indecision and follow-on second thoughts and unhappiness. They've tested this with quite simple things like breakfast cereals. If there are four in the menu you can make a choice and be content. If there are 52 on the menu, you not only take much longer deciding (thus using more energy and causing you more stress) but you are more often plagued by second thoughts ("Shoulda gone with the granola, damn."). Apps like Match.com or Grindr are not actually helping people find mates. (If you do not know what these are, I urge you not to try and find out, it will depress you.)

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ThunderBunk

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The problem in this is the refusal of conservative evangelicals and other anti-incarnational fanatics to accept the body and its pleasures as gifts of God in creation. These gifts terrify such people, and they want them regulated: preferably out of existence, but at very least under the control of both an authoritarian institution - their vision of the church - and of a highly authoritarian reading of scripture.


Until it is freed of these shackles, which have nothing to do with God and everything to do with the psychology of human power, the church and the Christian faith with it, will appeal increasingly powerfully to an ever-smaller number of people with a strong authoritarian bent and terror of their own bodies.

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Lamb Chopped
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Someone asked about the Scriptural backing I found for avoiding premarital sex--

Given that the cultures are so vastly different, it's going to be more in the spirit of the law rather than a spelt-out "Thou shalt not." If you were married off by arrangement not too long after puberty (along with most other people), you'd face a very different set of sexual temptations than the ones we face today.

That said, I find that there is a constant viewpoint running through Scripture that treats sex as something more valuable, more important, than just bumping uglies and sparking nerve cells. The fun and pleasure is definitely there (see Song of Songs) but sex is treated as something--shall I say, not to be wasted? Maybe that's a horrible choice of words. But it's analogous to the kind of wine you'd want to serve at your wedding, not at some weekend booze-up, fun as those might be. Enjoy it, sure--but don't cheapen it. And yes, I know that most people here would consider a non-married but serious relationship good enough. I don't think the Bible does, though.

And that's largely because I think the Bible views sex as performative--it doesn't just belong in marriage, it creates marriage, creates a union we normally refer to as marriage. So the question of premarital sex from that viewpoint becomes "Now that you've done it (like gobbling your food instead of taking more time to enjoy it), why don't you at least fold your napkin neatly" and tie up the legal and social loose ends. And leaving such a sexual partner is akin to divorce, not to a simple breakup. Which raises the question of how many divorces is too many, and what it does to a person to be involved in multiple sexual breakups...

I've probably offended somebody. I'm sorry.

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The implication here is that in modern times one has to go through several lovers in order to find 'The One'. But this isn't carved in stone; it's merely a cultural assumption. Why is it now suddenly impossible for us to find a decent spouse in our early or mid-twenties, even though we're surrounded by vastly more companions than our ancestors had?

That isn’t what I meant, if anything my lesson may well end up being that I went through a few lovers, and then discovered that it was possible find ‘The One’ without that person having to be a lover. It was simply a statement that it’s not easy to take (sincerely meant) advice or instruction from people who don’t seem to realise that they have had a lucky break (anoesis put it better than I did). But like I said in a previous post, that doesn’t make pre-marital sex right or wrong, so I should probably just let that point go.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm not sure what you want anyone else to say, then. You and your partner have different views which means one of you has to sacrifice. Yep. That's how relationship works.

Well, yes, I do have a rough idea of how relationships work, but thanks anyway.
The point of whether we have sex or not is moot, as I said originally, and I wouldn’t even call it a compromise or a sacrifice, and I’m happy with it. The reason why I posted was because, having read the full 19 pages of the Oblivion thread, I was confused as to whether my motives should be based on more than just respect, i.e. if I’m supposed to try to live my life as a person who puts God first, am I putting God first.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
I was confused as to whether my motives should be based on more than just respect, i.e. if I’m supposed to try to live my life as a person who puts God first, am I putting God first.

Yes, you should put God first - but you know that. The open question is what God asks of you. Your girlfriend thinks that it's no sex before marriage. You, it seems, aren't sure, and are a bit on the fence about whether premarital sex is OK.

The answer to the question won't affect what you do - you're not going to be having sex anyway - so does it matter?

Yes, I think so, but not because of the sex. The important thing is that, if we assume that your girlfriend will become your wife, there are going to be future subjects on which you have different ideas about what God's will is. We'll stipulate that you're both faithful Christians trying to do your best, but there are going to be things on which you disagree. How do you handle that?

So I think it doesn't matter so much about how you personally resolve the question of whether it would be wrong for you to have sex, but it matters that you and she talk about it.

From your description, you seem to have somewhat more liberal views than she does. So if she's the strict one, it's likely that there will be other things that you think would be OK, but you're going to avoid because she thinks they're not OK.

Can she be OK with that, or does she need you to think like her?

(For what little it's worth, I tend to side with the people who equate sex and marriage. I'm not concerned with whether you have sex before your formal wedding or not, but I find serial monogamy a bit troubling (and anything more casual is right out.) But this is more a consensus impression than a logically reasoned deduction, so it's a position that I don't hold terribly strongly.)

[ 14. March 2017, 21:51: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Martin60
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@Lamb Chopped. Fuck 'em.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The implication here is that in modern times one has to go through several lovers in order to find 'The One'. But this isn't carved in stone; it's merely a cultural assumption. Why is it now suddenly impossible for us to find a decent spouse in our early or mid-twenties, even though we're surrounded by vastly more companions than our ancestors had?

That isn’t what I meant, if anything my lesson may well end up being that I went through a few lovers, and then discovered that it was possible find ‘The One’ without that person having to be a lover. It was simply a statement that it’s not easy to take (sincerely meant) advice or instruction from people who don’t seem to realise that they have had a lucky break
My point is that it only seems like a 'lucky break' from today's cultural point of view.

Most people in the 1930s, for example, didn't need 'lucky breaks' to find a suitable person to marry, because they didn't have the high expectations that we have today, and didn't live in a heterogeneous community that threw up a load of unsuitable candidates. Most people available in a small town or community would have been suitable, depending on class, denomination, and ideally the ability to hold down a steady job. A non-gambler and a non-alcoholic would be desirable, but some women didn't have much choice. And you didn't have a huge array of people with different lifestyles, hobbies and political opinions to confuse your choice.

Some commentators suggest that the very idea of 'the One' inevitably complicates marriage, because in reality there are probably 1000s of people out there who could make any of us a decent spouse. The concept of 'the One' therefore has a potential dark underbelly of uncertainty; how do you (I mean a general not a personal 'you') know you've really found 'the One'? And if you think you have now, what about after 5 or 25 years of marriage when you're bored and grumpy? Realising that the grass isn't greener elsewhere could be more important for marriages in the long run than the myth of 'the One'. Perhaps. (This isn't very romantic, is it? Sorry about that! I don't mean anything by it.)

I'm wondering what kind of CofE church you attend. If it's not an evangelical church I'm surprised that your fiancee is so concerned about these issues. There are certainly more liberal CofE congregations around. Anyway, it might be helpful for you to discuss this subject with your vicar.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:


It should also be noted that there is a gender imbalance in churches, which means that if you want to take the line that people should not be yoked to unbelievers, leads to a certain proportion of young women inevitably missing out. I don't think that being prepared to take the approach, in their early twenties, of saying 'well, this might be as good an offer as I'll get', would help very much with such a problem. Nor, in my view, is that the sort of attitude you should take into a marriage.

I missed this response earlier.

Your last few lines make me smile. There are always better offers out there - or so it seems! So one could be waiting for ever! Some women do. But I take your point.

As for women marrying out, that's true. I'm a child of one such. It frequently leads to non-believing children, which may be a good thing from your perspective, but not for the future of the church itself, of course. The real problem is how to address the shortage of men, which is a whole different thread.

Otherwise, there are many MOTR or liberal congregations which make no demands on who should marry whom, and which don't try to dominate (lay) members' sex lives, on the whole. So there should be a church for everyone, whether they want a church that keeps well out of the bedroom, or whether they want the guidance of clear cut teachings on sexual morality.

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
The problem in this is the refusal of conservative evangelicals and other anti-incarnational fanatics to accept the body and its pleasures as gifts of God in creation. These gifts terrify such people, and they want them regulated: preferably out of existence, but at very least under the control of both an authoritarian institution - their vision of the church - and of a highly authoritarian reading of scripture.


Until it is freed of these shackles, which have nothing to do with God and everything to do with the psychology of human power, the church and the Christian faith with it, will appeal increasingly powerfully to an ever-smaller number of people with a strong authoritarian bent and terror of their own bodies.

The weird thing is that conservative evangelicals does not seem all that concerned about regulating other forms of bodily pleasures such as eating burgers at the local McD's or listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Amy Frykholm makes this point in her book about Christians and sexuality "See Me Naked". There are many, many things we do as human beings that give us pleasure and delight, but for some reason it is only sexual pleasure that is seen as the big sin against God.

[ 15. March 2017, 00:12: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
The problem in this is the refusal of conservative evangelicals and other anti-incarnational fanatics to accept the body and its pleasures as gifts of God in creation. These gifts terrify such people, and they want them regulated: preferably out of existence, but at very least under the control of both an authoritarian institution - their vision of the church - and of a highly authoritarian reading of scripture.


Until it is freed of these shackles, which have nothing to do with God and everything to do with the psychology of human power, the church and the Christian faith with it, will appeal increasingly powerfully to an ever-smaller number of people with a strong authoritarian bent and terror of their own bodies.

The weird thing is that conservative evangelicals does not seem all that concerned about regulating other forms of bodily pleasures such as eating burgers at the local McD's or listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
Drinking. You forgot drinking.

And then, they don't like you listening to AC/DC so much, far as I recall. Which is one of life's little guilty pleasures. There's a bit less crotch-grabbing in classical music, for sure, but the eroticism is still there, if you ask me.

Also (I am not an historian), but I seem to remember that the original Puritans had a bit of a thing about gluttony.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Eutychus
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quote:
They don’t smoke, but neither do they breathe fresh air really deeply.

They don’t drink wine, but neither do they enjoy lemonade; they don’t swear, but neither do they glory in any magnificent words, neither poetry nor prayer.

They don’t gamble, but neither do they take much chance with God;

They don’t look at women and girls with lust in their hearts, but neither do they roll breathless with love and laughter, naked under the sun of high summer.

It’s all rather pale and round-shouldered, the great Prince lying in prison.

George Target, quoted in “View from a Bouncy Castle”, by Adrian Plass.

Although I must confess to warming up on Sunday mornings with the opening riff of Highway to Hell [Hot and Hormonal]

Why should the devil have all the good music?

[ 15. March 2017, 06:35: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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Highway to Hell is good music ...?!!!?

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Gamaliel
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Coming back to the OP. If you are doing the right thing by your girlfriend by abstaining then that's justification enough.

Why over-think it?

I rather dramatically accosted (not physically) a particular individual after a council planning meeting recently and waved a copy of a document he'd denied existed under his nose.

Afterwards, I worried whether this was a somewhat vainglorious act on my part, an act of vanity or virtue-signalling. Who knows? Whether I was right or wrong he still deserved to have it waved under his nose if only to show him that local residents shouldn't be taken for mugs.

If we're doing the right thing, we're doing the right thing.

Sure, the scribes and the Pharisees practiced their acts of piety in public 'to be seen by men'.

We need to avoid that.

God can discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. If we bob a few quid into a charity box to salve our conscience, look good or to feel better about ourselves, then the motive is wrong but at least the charity benefits.

I wouldn't worry whether your response is 'sufficient' from any theological point of view, MaleDaily, but whether you are doing the right thing by your girlfriend / potential spouse.

That's the issue, not a set of tick boxes or a score-card that measures how 'sound' or spiritual we are supposed to be ...

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opaWim
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I wouldn't worry whether your response is 'sufficient' from any theological point of view, MaleDaily, but whether you are doing the right thing by your girlfriend / potential spouse.

That's the issue, not a set of tick boxes or a score-card that measures how 'sound' or spiritual we are supposed to be ...

Amen!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Highway to Hell is good music ...?!!!?

Better than 90% of the bleepy shite that doninates the airwaves, yes. You got a problem with that?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Yes, you should put God first - but you know that. The open question is what God asks of you. Your girlfriend thinks that it's no sex before marriage. You, it seems, aren't sure, and are a bit on the fence about whether premarital sex is OK.
The answer to the question won't affect what you do - you're not going to be having sex anyway - so does it matter?

That is essentially the question I’ve been asking myself; thank you for putting it better and more succinctly than I did in my muddled way earlier.
quote:
From your description, you seem to have somewhat more liberal views than she does. So if she's the strict one, it's likely that there will be other things that you think would be OK, but you're going to avoid because she thinks they're not OK.
That might be the case, but on many subjects we are either in agreement (my tendency towards a more conservative position on marriage, which I held before becoming a Christian, being one such example) or neither one of us holds “absolute” positions, but this is the first and only one (so far) that has had any tangible effect on our actual relationship in the here and now.
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
The weird thing is that conservative evangelicals does not seem all that concerned about regulating other forms of bodily pleasures such as eating burgers at the local McD's or listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

That last bit made me think of Mme Verdurin in In Search of Lost Time, who when she hears a particular piece of music (I forget which one but I recall it was in F#) had to go lie down for hours at it put her in such a state (not sure if this Marcel meant this to be an erotic state, but I chuckled none the less).
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I wouldn't worry whether your response is 'sufficient' from any theological point of view, MaleDaily, but whether you are doing the right thing by your girlfriend / potential spouse.
That's the issue, not a set of tick boxes or a score-card that measures how 'sound' or spiritual we are supposed to be ...

Thank you. I appreciate that, along with all the other contributions, especially Lamb Chopped re. the "spirit" [pun intended?] of the law. It's going to take a lot of catch-up reading for me to discern what I think it is, but it's helpful to discover that the issue is more nuanced - nuance is staple for us fence sitters.

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
That said, I find that there is a constant viewpoint running through Scripture that treats sex as something more valuable, more important, than just bumping uglies and sparking nerve cells.

That's what I would instinctively think, too, but in actual fact I wonder whether you're not channelling CS Lewis, not the Bible:
quote:
wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured
I don't think that can be as absolutely true as we might imagine it to be. The nearest chapter and verse I can find is Paul's comments in 1 Cor 6:16
quote:
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."

but over and against that you have stories like Esther in which, bluntly put, Mordecai is pimping her for the greater good and honoured for his pains. Not that I recommend this.

[ 15. March 2017, 08:35: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


Why over-think it?

<snip>

I wouldn't worry whether your response is 'sufficient' from any theological point of view, MaleDaily, but whether you are doing the right thing by your girlfriend / potential spouse.

That's the issue, not a set of tick boxes or a score-card that measures how 'sound' or spiritual we are supposed to be ...

Amen! [Overused]

This is worth putting on a large poster and pinning up at Church! (supplementing 'girlfriend' with whatever the latest issue is.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Conservative evangelicals do not seem all that concerned about regulating other forms of bodily pleasures such as eating burgers at the local McD's or listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

[..]For some reason it is only sexual pleasure that is seen as the big sin against God.

You'd have to blame the Bible for that. How often does any biblical character get into trouble for listening to too much harp music? How many of Paul's churches are attended by gluttons?

The basic problem with sex is that it risks creating children, and it's in the interests of monotheistic religions for children to be raised in a stable environment, without sexual jealousy, or questions about paternity.

In the brave new world of the future maybe our scientists will find a way to completely separate the sex act from conception, without the need for individuals to be responsible about contraception. And our religions will gradually divorce themselves from ancient religious texts whose example is deemed to be inapplicable, or irrelevant.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Highway to Hell is good music ...?!!!?

Better than 90% of the bleepy shite that doninates the airwaves, yes. You got a problem with that?
If a turd is better formed than 90% of the others that pass through the U-bend, it doesn't stop it being a turd.

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Gamaliel
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That said, as much as I abhor 'metal' - me-DULL more like ... 'The Ace of Spades' wouldn't be a bad way of kicking things off if one feels the need, as Eutychus evidently does, of riffing oneself into action on a Sunday morning.

Perhaps Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid' might also be a suitable alternative to the bollock-numbingly turgid Highway to Hell.

Highway up their own arses more like ...

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by DaleMaily:


quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
She may just as easily be young and worried--it took me years to get past what I now realize were minor issues.* And differences of faith (which is what she worries might be going on here) are often not minor issues.

If DaleMaily can continue to be kind and forebearing when she worries, I'd say that's an excellent start to marriage. Particularly because there are almost always these kinds of "x thinks it's important/y doesn't" issues on both sides.

With the caveat I made above, I can confirm this is closer to the actual situation (worried for her, me and the relationship, and out of love).
Not knowing you of course, this also struck me as the most likely scenario and sound and compassionate reasoning, as we've come to expect from Lamb.

As someone, again, closer to your partner's position but old enough and married long enough to be past this angst-ridden stage, I can remember feeling very much like this. If you have a more conservative view toward marriage/divorce, it really ramps up the anxiety about "choosing rightly" and, at least for some of us, that leads to lots of 2nd guessing. As Lamb suggests, with time what seemed so vital and potentially deal-breaking in the courting phase turns out to be small potatoes, but at the time the internal pressure can be intense. So your tender and respectful compassion for your partner is well-placed and bodes well.

And, to hopefully encourage you further: to the point made above that "experimentation" may be essential to sexual maturity-- that was, um, very much not my experience. IMHO the reason (some) young couples in the purity culture experienced sexual dysfunction was not lack of experimentation but rather the implicit poor education they rec'd as part of that culture (sex is dirty-- a "deflowered" girl is like a used kleenex), the inherent sexism/patriarchy involved (the daddy issues will make you shudder) and the unrealistic wedding night expectations as a "reward" for your righteousness. It doesn't sound like any of that is a factor here.

In my limited experience (2 marriages/2 partners) "experimentation" had really nothing to do with sexual satisfaction one way or the other. What mattered, rather, was the sort of character that lies behind your sexual relationship and really every aspect of your relationship: good sexual partners are those who are caring, giving and respectful. All sorts of life events from pregnancy to work stress to menopause and prostate cancer are going to effect your sexual relationship, things that no amount of prior "experimentation" will provide any wisdom. What will serve you well in those lifelong ups & downs (tee hee) are the qualities you've already demonstrated-- the ability to have frank, honest conversations about sex with grace and compassion, and the willingness to make sacrifices to serve the other-- things you are, in fact, demonstrating. In my experience, those qualities are the things that will make for a... um.. pleasurable partnership. [Biased] [Axe murder]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Someone asked about the Scriptural backing I found for avoiding premarital sex--

Given that the cultures are so vastly different, it's going to be more in the spirit of the law rather than a spelt-out "Thou shalt not." If you were married off by arrangement not too long after puberty (along with most other people), you'd face a very different set of sexual temptations than the ones we face today.

That said, I find that there is a constant viewpoint running through Scripture that treats sex as something more valuable, more important, than just bumping uglies and sparking nerve cells. The fun and pleasure is definitely there (see Song of Songs) but sex is treated as something--shall I say, not to be wasted? Maybe that's a horrible choice of words. But it's analogous to the kind of wine you'd want to serve at your wedding, not at some weekend booze-up, fun as those might be. Enjoy it, sure--but don't cheapen it. And yes, I know that most people here would consider a non-married but serious relationship good enough. I don't think the Bible does, though.

And that's largely because I think the Bible views sex as performative--it doesn't just belong in marriage, it creates marriage, creates a union we normally refer to as marriage. So the question of premarital sex from that viewpoint becomes "Now that you've done it (like gobbling your food instead of taking more time to enjoy it), why don't you at least fold your napkin neatly" and tie up the legal and social loose ends. And leaving such a sexual partner is akin to divorce, not to a simple breakup. Which raises the question of how many divorces is too many, and what it does to a person to be involved in multiple sexual breakups...

I've probably offended somebody. I'm sorry.

fwiw, I found it quite lovely-- and true.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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lilBuddha
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Apologies, but I disagree. Yes, a shocker, I'm sure. [Biased]
Culture cannot be separated from writings, and this includes works of religion. Intertwined within the bible is the culture of those who wrote it and their attitudes towards sex and marriage. Of which much is decidedly opposed to contemporary Christian teaching.
Culture and its temporal nature is also a factor in this discussion, IMO.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Boogie

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You have a little too much to drink, sleep with someone who - in the cold light of day - you don't feel is even interesting, never mind partner material. And leaving them is akin to divorce??

I think not!

The sex may have been unwise. It may, or may not be regretted. But there is no bond or tie there besides a bit of fun at the time imo.

Yes, this is personal experience a million moons ago at university - I couldn't even name the bloke(s)!

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Gramps49
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Reread your post.

quote:
I'm still not convinced that what I did was sinful. Or is my pride getting in the way?
Frankly, what is did is done. "Sinful" is really hard to quantify. As I said, above some sexual experimentation is healthy, normal. We know that David of OT times experimented. I can also think of other examples in the OT in particular that also suggest there was experimentation outside what would be considered marriage.

To me, when the 10 commandments say: "Do not commit adultery," it simply means, "Once you are hitched (as in married), stay true to your spouse."

Of course, when Jesus says "You have learned, do not commit adultery, but I say to you if you so much as look on another with lust, you have committed adultery," the rule is greatly expanded. We all look, and we all are attracted to other people.

Then there is Paul--he would have wanted everyone to stay chaste, but if the church had it would have died out within 20 years after Paul had written those words.

The question is, where do you go from here? Is your current partner able to forgive you of your past? You have to remember that when she does eventually have sex with you (assuming she will marry you) she is in effect having sex with all your previous partners--which is all the more reason to get tested to make sure you have a clean bill of health. Which goes to my original question: where do you see this relationship going? If she is struggling with your past, I really wonder if it is going to go beyond a platonic relationship. Your past is quite a barrier for her, I take it.

I would hope she can get beyond it.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

Of course, when Jesus says "You have learned, do not commit adultery, but I say to you if you so much as look on another with lust, you have committed adultery," the rule is greatly expanded.

I think this one needs unpacking. ISTM, it isn't about stray thoughts, but a more persistent behaviour.
quote:

Then there is Paul--he would have wanted everyone to stay chaste, but if the church had it would have died out within 20 years after Paul had written those words.

To be fair to Paul, IIRC, he kinda thought the second coming was much sooner than it has turned out to be.
Though, it seems to be a source of the "no fun until after you're dead" Christian variants.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16344 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Apologies, but I disagree. Yes, a shocker, I'm sure. [Biased]
Culture cannot be separated from writings, and this includes works of religion. Intertwined within the bible is the culture of those who wrote it and their attitudes towards sex and marriage. Of which much is decidedly opposed to contemporary Christian teaching.
Culture and its temporal nature is also a factor in this discussion, IMO.

Who exactly are you disagreeing with???

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Apologies, but I disagree. Yes, a shocker, I'm sure. [Biased]
Culture cannot be separated from writings, and this includes works of religion. Intertwined within the bible is the culture of those who wrote it and their attitudes towards sex and marriage. Of which much is decidedly opposed to contemporary Christian teaching.
Culture and its temporal nature is also a factor in this discussion, IMO.

Who exactly are you disagreeing with???
Sex creates marriage and that the bible's writers' view of marriage and sex are necessarily what God wants. Accepting the whole concept for the sake of argument, of course.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Reread your post.

quote:
I'm still not convinced that what I did was sinful. Or is my pride getting in the way?
Frankly, what is did is done. "Sinful" is really hard to quantify.
I would go further than this, and say that things you may or may not have done, in a past life, when you were not living your life according to the, broad, general, set of beliefs we might all agree to call Christian, are just completely beside the point. They do. not. matter. any. more. And, (this is just my opinion, of course), if they don't matter, then it's wasted effort either wondering how you should feel about them, or trying to feel differently about them.

This is how I interpret Romans 6:1-14. Verse 4 in particular. It is the new life that matters, not the old.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Gramps49
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Boy, I need to learn to proofread my texts before I post them.

I have been thinking more about this all day.

Your partner has a lot to unpack. As I said, the only forgiveness you need is from your partner. I am also thinking that your partner may also have two other concerns. One is that she may be concerned that she can perform as well as your previous partners, but you know no one person can match any other person's performance. You have much more experience than she apparently has, and that can be threatening to her. Two, given your experience, can she be assured you will stay committed to her should you do marry?

Like I said, you have presented several obstacles for her. Are you willing to give her the time to work through them?

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anoesis
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Yeah, but.

When you love someone, you love them for who they are. And their past is part of who they are. That's just how it is. I don't think any special pleading is needed here.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Virginity is something to unpack from this. Your daddy doesn't marry off daughters as owner of their virginity any more as in bible times.

I'd like to unload the eternal virginity of Mary as well. An anachronism.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Virginity is something to unpack from this.

Agh. Let's not. Especially if we're only going to focus on the female sort.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Virginity is something to unpack from this.

Agh. Let's not. Especially if we're only going to focus on the female sort.
Penises are magic. They remove all such notions as virginity and accountability from their owners.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16344 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged



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