Back | Home
The Case for Abstinence
Zig Ziglar is a famous motivational speaker. He is also a devout Christian who has several books on how to build a happy, God-centered marriage and family such as Courtship After Marriage. His book Dear Family is a collection of letters by him and his family that deal with many issues confronting families. The following letter is the best short statement against pre-marital sex that I have seen. In the letter he mentions Josh McDowell. He has written a good book on sexual purity called Why Wait. Here's Zig Ziglar's excellent brief statement for abstinence:
Dear Tom (and all other courting teenagers),
Well, that was quite a weekend we had, wasn't it, Son? It was great to get off, just the two of us. We had a chance to play a lot of golf and I really enjoyed that. Most of all, though, I enjoyed being with you and having those long talks. The purpose of this letter is to rehash and evaluate what was said and the reason for the trip. I want to put this in writing to keep things in perspective, because some very significant areas were discussed, which could have an impact on your life.
To begin with, the idea came from reading Christian psychologist Dr. James Dobson's books. He suggests that fathers should take off on long weekends with their sons and really talk to them about life, but mostly about their relationships with members of the opposite sex. Fortunately, Son, you and I have talked all of your life and have spent a lot of time together, so the subject matter was easy to cover and I felt comfortable in the conversation. Apparently you did too. I felt that as you approached your seventeenth birthday it would be an ideal time because you had started dating a mighty pretty little girl. Your relationship with her was getting beyond the casual stage, so I wanted to touch some bases and cover some ground that had, in one form or another, been covered earlier.
As you know, I do not believe in the "double standard" and am appalled at the thought that some parents are of the opinion that it's permissible for their sons to get involved in premarital sex but not right for their daughters. Of course, the Bible says that marriage is the only condition where sex is permitted.
As you might recall, I pointed out that it was definitely best for you and for the girl to be very careful in your relationship. I specifically shared with you the belief that premarital sex was not in the best interests of either of you. There are many reasons for this besides the fact that God says "no." There are practical reasons, Son, like the possibility of pregnancy, venereal disease, getting caught and embarrassed, and the destruction of your moral values. But it goes considerably beyond that. The physical drive and attraction between teenagers is enormously strong. Some say it is the strongest at ages sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen.
I pointed out, Son, that if you refrain from sex at this time in your life, when your physiological desires are at their height, you will have demonstrated discipline, restraint, trust, and respect, all of which are critical to a successful marriage. Here's why: In marriage you and your wife will normally see each other almost every day, but there are still those periods when you will be apart. You may be on a business trip, or one of you may be physically ill, or your wife might be carrying your child. If you have refrained from an immoral act during your youth, you will have undergone the best training and discipline for restraining yourself from immoral acts during your marriage.
I say "immoral" because premarital sex is immoral, regardless of what the current thinking might be. Being in love constitutes no grounds and is certainly no condition for premarital sex. The only condition for a sexual relationship is marriage. A sexual relationship other than with your husband or wife is either perversion, adultery, or fornication -- all sins -- period.
As you know, Son, one of the most important factors in a successful marriage is mutual trust. I know you've heard me say this many times, but it's very comforting to know that when I leave home I never have to worry about your mother being anything less than 100 percent loyal to me. Of course, she has the same assurance that I'm going to be 100 percent loyal to her. That's awfully nice, Son, because it gives each of us a tremendous feeling of security, knowing there is that one who loves and trusts us above all others.
As strange as it might sound initially, one of the best reasons for refraining from premarital sex is that it eliminates any chance you have of really getting to know the girl you are courting. Once you start a sexual relationship, that is all you and the girl will think about or plan for. You will plot, scheme, maneuver, manipulate, and otherwise move heaven and earth to find the time and place for a sexual rendezvous.
It effectively ends 90 percent of the serious discussions between you. You won't cover the thousand-and-one little things and the dozens of big things that will make or break a marriage. I mean things like these: "Do we have children, and if so, how many? Which set of parents do we spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother's Day, and Father's Day with, or do we stay home? Will the wife work and if so, for how long? If "yes," will she continue to work after a family has been started? What is the relative spending-saving philosophy? What about church -- will you attend his, hers, or neither?" There are many other such questions, Son, but I hope you are getting the idea that these questions should have mutually acceptable answers before the wedding bells ring.
Another practical reason for no premarital sex and for not living
together before marriage is that the divorce rate for those who do so
is higher than for those who play it straight before marriage. Oh, I
know that some of the shallow, tongue-in-cheek philosophers of the
modern set would argue that they wouldn't "buy a car without trying
it out," so they don't want a mate they haven't "tried out." What
they don't realize is that cars have no moral values or
consciences. Besides, it
is a fact that when you drive that car out of the showroom its value
drops substantially. It's also true, Son, that if you "try out" a
girl before marriage, her value -- to herself and to you --
will go down. It's equally true that your value to yourself
and to her will also go down. How
There's yet another reason, Son. If you get involved in premarital sex and later discover that you really are not meant for each other, it will be more difficult to part company. On the other hand, if there are no guilt-strings attached because of a sexual relationship, it will be much easier for both of you to walk away with a clear conscience and with your heads held high.
In addition, there is the fact that if you truly love the girl, get involved with her sexually, and later marry her, you will have set yourself up for future problems. My friends who counsel married people tell me that the two things they deal with the most are, first, wives who desperately wish their husbands would assume their position as the spiritual leader in the home and, second, men and women who indulged in premarital sex and are consumed with guilt because of it. This leads to a higher percentage of frigidity or impotence among those who indulged in premarital sex than among those who refrained and saved God's special gift for the marriage bed.
There is yet another real danger, and that's the fact that you might develop a satisfactory, even exciting, sexual relationship with a girl, but for many reasons you do not marry her. Later, you might find and marry the girl God has chosen for you. Now suppose this special girl has every single quality important in a wife but the two of you are not as sexually compatible as you were with the girl you did not marry. This could create a problem, Son, which you would never have had if you had simply waited in obedience to God's command to indulge in no sexual activity until after you are married.
Many young people
today are getting married to someone they neither love nor respect.
When I was growing up back in the late 1930s and 1940s, we called
them "shotgun weddings" because the father of the bride did put
enormous pressure on the boy who got his daughter in "trouble."
Today some people laugh about this and see nothing really wrong with
premarital sex which often leads to unwanted children who, in turn,
often become abused children.
As it developed, Son, you are no longer dating that girl because, for whatever reason, the two of you did not hit it off over the long haul. It's really nice to know that neither of you were put in a position where there was any guilt involved. This makes it possible for you to be friends and to be able to visit and converse without those emotional guilt-strings tearing you apart. That relationship undoubtedly was a good one because it helped both of you to learn how to deal with members of the opposite sex while giving you a chance to grow and mature.
As you and I discussed, Son, there are some steps you can take to keep from falling into the trap of sexual involvement during these difficult times when you are seriously dating the one you sincerely feel you want to marry. I believe Josh McDowell expressed it best when he said that when you emotionally arouse an appetite you cannot Scripturally satisfy, you are guilty of fraud. To court under that restraint will require wisdom, faith, enormous restraint, and careful planning.
Plan to double-date as much as possible and spend time together in group activities. Plan to avoid watching movies or television programs that have passion as their theme and the "pleasure" of immorality as their message.
Start every date with prayer and end it with prayer. As you will recall, when your sister Julie had prayer with her date before and after their time together, his conduct on the date was substantially different.
Stay in God's Word. Dr. Paige Patterson, president of The Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, says the only way to protect yourself from sexual sin, whether you are a preacher or layman, is to stay in God's Word. On a daily basis build a wall of strength based on God's Word around yourself. This is the way to protect yourself from Satan's fiery darts.
Avoid the temptation to park in some dark spot. Not only is it dangerous, but things have a tendency to get out of hand under those circumstances. Never go into either her house or yours unless other family members are present. No young man who truly loves his girlfriend and is using his head would put her in a position that makes her vulnerable -- either to the criticism that could result from such indiscreet behavior or the temptation that will result from this behavior. Read Love Must Be Tough, by Dr. James Dobson, and you will understand why it's important to be tough on yourself before marriage. Yes, love and marriage to the right person is one of God's greatest blessings.
As you probably remember, Son, you thrilled me no end on that trip when you told me about your idea of heaven on earth. You said that it occurred when you saw your mother and me get aboard an airplane every November 26 for the three days we always set aside just for each other to celebrate our wedding anniversary. To tell you the truth, Son, that's my idea of heaven on earth, too! You know I am very much in love with your mother.
It always saddens me to hear people say they don't really enjoy spending that much time with their mates. To be completely honest, when your mother is out of my sight and then comes back, old Dad's heart still skips a beat. I find your mother to be the most fascinating and excitingly beautiful woman I've ever known.
Yes, that was quite a weekend you and I had, Son. We covered a lot of territory, and I was especially pleased when you suggested that we make it a tradition.