Eight years ago I did something I swore I’d never do. I had sex with someone who wasn’t my wife, and engaged in an act that was intended to found in the holiness of marriage. And although God’s grace is ever-present in my life, purity is something I will always regret not being able to give to my wife on our wedding night. Ever since I was a young child, my parents have always shared with me the importance of saving sex for marriage. Not because sex was a “bad” thing, but because God intended sex to be a beautiful and intimate connection between husband and wife, all under the authority of God (1 Corinthians 7:1-40).

I first learned about sex when I was in second-grade, that is after telling my father a dirty joke I had heard some older kids say at school. It had something to do with a limousine and a garage. Yeah, you get the picture. Once I finished the joke, he looked at me with a half serious/half laughing look and said, “Where did you hear that joke?” As you would imagine, I cried and ran to my room before he could get the answer out of me. Why? Because I knew the joke had an underlining meaning that I knew nothing about even though I chose to tell it. My father and I still laugh about this moment today.

The importance of saving sex for marriage was continuously promoted in our household throughout my teenage years. It was done right, and the words of my parents always pointed back to The Bible, God’s intent, and his desire for sexual purity. I truly valued my parents wisdom. They weren’t overbearing, only informational and friendly in their approach to sharing God’s intent for my life relationally. “Keep your pants where they belong” was always the last phrase I heard from my dad before heading out on a date. He was being silly, but I knew the seriousness behind his comical tone.

My sexual downfall took place while my relationship with God was on the rocks. Funny how that works. I was far from God, depressed, and trying to do life in my own strength while completely ignoring everything I had ever learned about my faith. She wasn’t my wife, but I was treating her like she was. My heart wasn’t focused on the character of God, so my life choices didn’t reflect the holiness and purity he called me to strive after (1 Corinthians 6:18). I had sex because I thought I loved someone, but what I failed to realize is that waiting until marriage would have been the best way to showcase my love for another.

Sex, beautiful and intimate, is intended for the confinement of marriage. We can’t settle by giving our hearts and bodies to someone other than our spouse. Our world has taken what was meant to be holy and instead turned it into a cultural hobby. Sex is not a bad thing, but sex outside the blueprint of God’s Word is a slap in the face to his beautiful design.

For anyone currently engaging in pre-marital sex, I would encourage you to first realize you are covered by the grace of Jesus (Romans 5:8) and then pause to evaluate whether or not this relationship is truly founded on the love God. We all make mistakes, and we have the opportunity to change. This doesn’t mean you have to end your relationship, but this does mean you need to change directions. If someone cannot value your yearning to stay pure before marriage, they aren’t someone worth keeping around anyways.