My DH and I waited for a while but then we both knew that it was something neither of us was interested in waiting long term. This was a change for me… I have had many a conversation with some of my close friends. We also broke the mold and moved in together before we were married. I caught a lot of grief about this from many of my more conservative and more judgmental christian friends. However, my family and DH’s family were completely supportive!
Here are some things I have learned from this experience and friends who waited or did not:
1) I’ve seen far too many friends get married quickly (i.e. dating, engaged and married in less than 6-12 months) because they didn’t want to wait to have sex but did not want to be in sin. While I can respect this, many of them are now struggling in their marriages for a variety of reasons but the main one being that they did not take the time to really get to know each other and each others goals/dreams before getting married. Some did rush into marriage to ‘have sex’ and are now looking at divorce.
2) Do not make this decision lightly. This is a decision you can’t turn back. However, be honest with yourself and your partner about your concerns and why you are making this decision.
3) This is a decision between you, your partner and God. There will be people that will judge you and disagree with you. Frankly we are all unique individuals and God leads us in different directs. My belief is that God gave us the ability to reason and make decisions, lets use it! The same set of prescriptive practices do not work for every individual and couple.
4) Be honest with your close friends. Even if they don’t agree with your decision, your true friends will accept that it was your decision. Find another christian friend you can actually be honest and forthright about being with your FI without being judged.
5) Educate yourself about birth control options and your sexual health.
6) Communication. No matter your decision, keep building a friendship with your partner and communication about your hopes, dreams, fears and decisions.
In reality, some of my views are very strong, and others won’t/don’t agree with them. I tend to make waves in the christian community in general because I’m fairly liberal in other areas as well (i.e. gay marriage, gay clergy, relationships, social justice, etc). However, I am really at peace with my relationship with God, my faith, my family, and DH. In the end, this experience has really strengthened my faith and given me an understanding of the christian community that best suites me.