Waiting Until Marriage to Kiss and Be Intimate

Today’s post is by Lisa Johnson, a young lady I have had the privilege of knowing for many years.  She and her husband Jeshua were married in March 2008.  

Lisa wanted to share why they decided to wait until marriage to exchange their first kiss and to be sexually intimate. 

Lisa is now transitioning from teaching full time into being a stay at home mom as on July 23, 2014, Lisa and Jesh welcomed their precious daughter, Adelyn Sofia, into the world.

Jeshua and Lisa Johnson2

Why we saved our first kiss and sexual intimacy for our wedding day.

“First of all, we want you to know that we are nothing special because of the choices we made. We had past mistakes in relationships and screwed up like many teens and college kids do. We have fallen short of His glory. But it is because of God’s great grace and love for us that we have been forgiven and redeemed. And it is because of His kindness and mercy on our lives that led us to decide to forgo all physical intimacy until our wedding night. Yeah, people thought we were weird. Family members didn’t believe our moms when they shared our choices with them. But that’s okay. This is something that the Lord called us to, and we embraced it, and were blessed with so much freedom to just enjoy each other during our time of dating and engagement. There was no pressure to be physically intimate because we both knew that would come later. We just got to hangout and deepen our friendship and it was awesome! It doesn’t mean there weren’t times when both of us were tempted, but because of our commitment to the Lord and one another, it was never an issue. God gave us freedom to enjoy each other and enjoy Him!

How did we get to that place? Unfortunately we both made mistakes in past relationships. In our minds both of us would say that we went “too far.” Regardless of details, by the time we came into each other’s lives, we were tired of making those mistakes. I found out early in our relationship that Jesh decided in college that the next girl he kissed would be his wife on his wedding day. I appreciated so much that he was bold enough to tell me his commitment without reservation. He was strong in his commitment to the Lord and to me, and I was so thankful for that. When he told me about his decision, it was so early on in our relationship that we hadn’t even dug into our pasts yet. Jesh didn’t even know that I struggled so much with making out all the time in relationships, and that it was something I wasn’t proud of nor wanted to do anymore. How cool is the Lord to bring a man into my life whose commitment was so strong that it would provide protection for me in our relationship? When I met Jesh, neither of us had dated for almost 2 years. I had already decided that I didn’t want to kiss until at least engagement. I got what I wanted, and it was all in God’s timing and His sovereignty.

I want to mention a couple of things:

First of all, every young man and young lady is worthy of someone who will honor a commitment that they’ve made to save physical intimacy until marriage. Every single one. If you’re with someone right now and they think an idea like that is crazy and they’d break up with you over it, then you’re better off without them. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. And truth is the only thing that matters. Truth from God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-11). So just know that you are worthy. You are worthy because you are God’s child, if you know Him as your Savior and you’ve been redeemed by His blood. You are His first and foremost before you ever belong to your spouse. Your identity in Christ should define your worth (Galatians 2:20). Don’t sell yourself short or think you’re weird because you want to be wise.

The second thing I want to mention is that when it comes to living for the Lord and making decisions, you cannot mix the “wisdom” of the world with the wisdom from the Word. There’s no blending (James 3:13-17). If you’re trying to make a decision in your relationship based on what the world tells you, you’re going to get some mixed reviews and some real jacked up “advice.” You’ll hear things like this: (These are ALL lies! Do not be deceived!)

  1. You need to know each other sexually, so you can see if you’re compatible or not.
  2. Kissing and touching aren’t wrong, because that’s not sex.
  3. You have to “put out” or your boyfriend/girlfriend will break up with you
  4. If you just hangout and never get physical you’ll get bored (Trust me, marriage is not having sex all the time. Nor is life in general!).

**The list could go on and on. The important thing to remember is what you’ve been called to: holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16). Because of our sinful nature we will never be completely holy until heaven, but at least here on Earth we have a chance to strive for holiness. Verses like Hebrews 12:1-2 talk about “throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Trust me, when it comes to physical intimacy, that is sin that is easily entangling. And it’s interacting with the opposite sex in ways that were designed to get you ready for sex. You’re interacting in ways that make it very hard to stop. They are ways that promote “oneness.” Becoming one should only be reserved for marriage. (Genesis 2:24)

I cannot tell you the number of friends I’ve talked to who didn’t set boundaries in their dating and engagement, and ended up doing things they weren’t planning on. Things reserved for the marriage bed. If sin is so easily entangling, be wise about your interactions. If you have a line, don’t do things that make you get right up next to the line, but interact in a way where you can be comfortably behind that line. Remember, God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. And He will provide a way out so you can STAND! (I Cor. 10:13) I can confidently say that Jesh and I spent our 9 month relationship comfortably behind the line, and it was a blessing to be able to enjoy a completely new part of our relationship on our wedding day, free from guilt or shame. And all glory be to God because it’s by His grace alone.

If we had the decision to make all over again, hands down we would do that again. This is a story we will share with our kids someday when they get into their teen years. We will definitely encourage them to do the same.

Last thing: Think of intimacy as a gift that you have to offer your future spouse. And I’m not just talking about sex. I’m talking about kissing and everything else. If you’re not sure you’re going to marry this person (and most relationships in high school do not end up in marriage), then why would you want someone to start opening that gift? Do you want someone to open that gift multiple times? Or do you want to give that gift to someone who’s equally committed to the Lord and to you; someone you’ve exchanged your vows with in front of the Lord and your family, and someone who you’ve now committed your life to? I’m telling you, it’s so worth waiting for!



There’s No Place Like Home, But Where Is Home?

PicMonkey Collage Homes

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

God has a plan and purpose for our lives. It may not be our plan, but His plans are always for our benefit and His glory. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord in Isaiah 55:8. Recently, I got upset when a monkey wrench was thrown into our smoothly running life and I found myself asking “Why God?” But no matter how the events take place, God will always use them to work em for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)

The beginning of May marked the longest stint we have lived in the same location. It’s exhausting and crazy to consider that we have moved over 10 times during our thirty years together.  In 2002 we sold our dream home to finance Jon’s company. What we anticipated being two years of renting extended into a seven-year period of no home ownership.  From August 2008 – May 2009 we move three times, in less than a year! So it was with excitement and gratitude that we celebrated the five years at our current residence.  My life was orderly and planned out for 2014-2015.

On Memorial Day (May 26th), Jon received a call from his new manager as the company was going through some changes that affected his team. Just when we finally had our feet under us a curveball was thrown.  This new manager thought highly of Jon’s innovative spirit and wanted him to open an office in San Francisco and for us to move there.  Back in 2009, 2011 and 2012 we had said no to moving to Portland because of various health issues I struggled with and we had experienced too many changes such as our eldest daughters flying the coop, loss of a parent, recent moves, etc.  So while I was excited about this job opportunity for Jon and his career, God’s timing confused me and sent me on a questioning spree. Why God would you allow us to finally feel settled?

It had taken years of pouring into the lives of others and finally we were seeing the fruit; marriages were growing, couples were getting help, and moms were connecting. I was able to use my gifts of hospitality and encouragement as I ministered to women in our home.  Jon and I are leading a couples’ group plus continuing to do premarital counseling in our home. We have incredible mentors pouring into Cayley’s life and the fruit is evident.  All of this is what we envisioned when we purchased our home in this part of town.  Why now God, as after three years of searching and finally saying yes to a church home and community?  Why now God, as I had Cayley’s 8th grade school year planned out and she has such sweet friends?  I asked these questions more in disbelief than seeking an answer. I’ve heard it said “If you ever want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  Well He must be laughing.

While lying in bed on my birthday (May 30), I began pondering the prospect of moving to San Francisco.  I sensed God gently say, “Cherie, Austin is not your home, and, for that matter, neither is San Francisco.  Your home is in Heaven, with Me.” This truth is seen in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 and Philippians 3:20.  At that moment I surrendered and chose to trust God.  I have since been overwhelmed with peace by living in the present.  I am deeply grateful for the past five years we’ve had to make memories, be hospitable, and enjoy one place. I am also open to the adventure God has for us.

When faced with major decisions RELEASE control and let God be God.

  • Recall God’s past faithfulness. We keep track of major milestones that only God could have accomplished. Lamentations 3:21-23
  • Examine God’s Word as it is the lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalms 119:105)
  • List pros and cons.  Jon began investigating, evaluating and gathering practical and spiritual information.  He made a spreadsheet so when HR came to him with their first offer he was quickly able to give feedback with facts he had gathered.
  • Enlist wise counsel.  Jon spoke to several men he admired and who were further along in the journey.  He took advantage of their counsel and mistakes.  All agreed that while this opportunity would be disruptive for our family it would excel his career to position him for what he would want to do in the future. Proverbs 12:15; 11:14; 13:10; 19:20.
  • Agreement and unification on our part was necessary.  We had to examine how this decision would affect Jon’s career, our marriage, our children and our spiritual walk. We both felt peace saying yes but there were BIG hurdles that the company would need to meet to make this move possible proving God’s hand was in it.
  • Seek Him – Spending time in prayer and in His Word will help keep you grounded and prepared for any situation. Matthew 7:7-11
  • Exercise faith, make the decision (Hebrew 11:6).While we made a decision to trust God and relocate, there are still a myriad of details to be surfaced that will require continued faith.

As I write this we are in limbo not knowing if we are moving or staying but we trust God has what is best for us.

How will you respond when things don’t go the way that you would like or your plans fall apart?  Are you able to go with the flow and flex or are you completely thrown off when the plans that you laid out take a wrong turn?

Where do you consider home?



Opposites DO Attract – 10 Ways To Not Attack

Photo by Cherie Werner

Photo by Cherie Werner

For better or worse…. That’s what we agreed to.  I had no idea that many of Jon’s endearing and quirky differences I once appreciated while we were dating would become the same things that drive me crazy.  I’m sure he feels the same about me 😉

Recently in preparation for the couples group we lead, Jon and I sat down to discuss and listed out some of the ways we are different.  Too often, differences can tear a marriage apart but sometimes they can actually bring couples closer together!  We’ve come to realize that while frustrating at time our differences are the very thing that keeps our marriage exciting and well balanced.

JON CHERIE
Optimistic Pessimist
Idealist Realist
Carefree Organized & Structured
Adventurous Cautious
Night Owl Early to bed
Lives to eat Eats to live
Avoids conflict More direct
OK not doing anything Looks for what needs to be done
Views movies as an escape & relaxation Movies are a waste of time
Get things done when they need to be done List maker and multi-tasker
Record keeping not as important Record keeping very important
Shops for what he likes = higher end items usually. Shops for bargains
Enjoys the snow & skiing. Not a big fan of sand. Enjoys the beach, sun & water sports. Not a fan of the cold.
Humorous & light hearted Much more serious
Reads for entertainment Reads to grow
He’s an ENFP – “An Inspirer” She’s an ESFJ – “A Caregiver”
Physical touch is his #1 primary love language. Physical touch is her lowest love language.
Appreciates nice, fast cars Appreciates safe, mom mini-vans
Risk taker Cautious

Etc…..

We are all probably familiar with the old concept and expression “opposites attract.” Research by Columbia University says, “couples who agree with each other all the time may find they are actually too close for comfort.”

After being together for almost thirty years we’ve come to realize that most marriages tend to go through stages in regards to differences.  Starting with the first date, then through engagement and being newly married, couples tend to be enchanted with one another.  However, after several years of togetherness, those same differences that were once admired in each other often became irritants that annoy.  Therefore, we must allow God to change us so we can see and appreciate the valuable traits we each bring to the marriage relationship.

If we see our differences as gifts verses hindrances, we are drawn towards greater acceptance of each other. As I reflected on many past upsets, I realized I was often judging Jon’s behavior as annoying, ridiculous, or a waste of time rather that trying to understand his perspective. I also know it’s not my job to change my husband; I’ve tried without much success.  I can only change myself and how I choose to view these annoying behaviors.  We’ve learned that it’s best to communicate annoyances so they don’t escalate.

So if you and your spouse are struggling because of annoying differences, here are 10 suggestions to stay on the same team:

  1. Focus on the irritating behavior and not your spouse as you can’t change people.
  2. Find time to communicate about the problem calmly rather than getting upset and stonewalling.  Change can’t take place without both of you sharing and listening.
  3. Carefully choose the best time to share.  I have learned that it’s best not to share in the moment especially if you are upset.  Once words are spoken they can’t be taken back.  Also consider what your spouse has going on.
  4. Sandwich your concerns by first finding something positive to share about your spouse. Then calmly explain the issue. Finish up on a positive note.
  5. Don’t use the words “always” or “never” as your spouse will probably feel attacked and get defensive and discount what you are sharing because of the one time your statement wasn’t true.
  6. Discuss ways to bring about change or share benefits of changing.
  7. Acknowledge any growth and cheer your spouse on.
  8. Be patient as change takes time.
  9. Find 2-3 positive traits to balance out each negative one.  Consider memorizing Philippians 4:8 then practice it.
  10. Pray for your spouse and ask God to give you grace to be more accepting.

Back in the 90’s Focus on the Family’s published the insightful video, Vive La Difference. Actors Paul and Nicole Johnson present a humorous yet poignant skit that illustrates a couple going through the metamorphosis of recognizing their differences. As you watch the video clip identify the various differences that annoy them.  Notice how she tries to get her husbands attention when she wants to talk. Notice how he chooses the wrong time to communicate.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER after watching the video.

  1. What are some of the differences that first attracted you to your spouse?  Why do you feel you were attracted to those qualities?
  2. How do you view these differences today? Are they still attractive or do many of them drive you crazy? Is you perspective helping or harming you relationship?
  3. The couple struggle in four areas: in-laws, finances, flexibility, and communication.  Which of these areas do you tend to struggle the most with?  Maybe there is another area of contention between you. If so, what is it?  How can you work through these issues?
  4. When there is a disagreement about an issue (family, finances, work) that each of you views as important, how do you find a compromise?
  5. As a couple, how do you handle conflicts when it comes to your differences?  Do you discuss them calmly, argue about them or ignore them? Which method do you think is the healthiest emotionally? Why?
  6. Read 1 Corinthians 12  What does the passage tell us? Do you think the same applies to our marriage relationships? We should work together; emphasizing the various gifts that each of has to contribute to the good of the marriage.  Has your goal as a couple been to find sameness or oneness?  How can you work to find oneness by allowing your differences to complement your relationship rather than destroy it?
  7. How about you?  Have you learned to allow God to change you by helping you to see and appreciate the valuable traits your spouse brings to the marriage?

Blessings