“Love fact: Couples who cuddle on a nightly basis are more likely to get married sooner, remain faithful and stay longer together”.
I saw this so-called fact while browsing Pinterest one evening. Two things occurred to me when I saw it. The first was sadness that men and women see this type of mindset as correct today. Not that my husband and I kept an always appropriate distance before we were married, but we had a serious heart to heart with God leading up to our marriage after some guidance during our premarital counseling. Our dear friends and mentors encouraged us to remain pure, to ask God for forgiveness, and to set higher standards for our relationship. This simple act brought forth an entirely new understanding of the need for following His model for couples. We each had strayed from the plan at some point previous to our marriage, and whenever this happens there are always more emotions involved, more healing that must occur if we were to move forward as a unit.
The second thought that occurred to me was how easily I would scroll past such an incorrect claim. Not only is it not biblically accurate, but it does not provide an accurate picture of what a premarital relationship should be like. We know the “fact” speaks to couples who are not married, because it cites cuddling all night as a factor that equates to a marriage relationship. It also mentions that cuddling leads to a faithful and longer relationship. Ladies and gentlemen, if you are looking to cuddling to be the magic weapon that keeps your ideal spouse around and focused on you, there are other issues you should
be looking at. A relationship leading into a marriage that hopes to keep their significant other faithful and interested through meager personal contact each night is doomed. If you believe that cuddling will fix a heart issue, you are wrong.
I, a Christian woman working hard to uphold my God in my everyday life, was already scrolling past the post with little more than a thought about these things. But soon my husband and I will welcome our first child into this world. I want to be in the habit of teaching about worldly behavior and how to love the way God calls us to. I want to protect my own heart and mind enough that the difference stands out; this does not mean I judge each person living by worldly standards, but it keeps me in His will. When a Christian becomes too adjusted to the ways of the world, it an become difficult to see where His words start and the world stops. What will I teach my child about the world if I myself am used to its ways? How can I teach that the bible stories truly apply to the world today if I have become numb to the things I see? How will I prepare my children to love this world with His grace and teachings if they never know what things need tender care to handle because they do not come from His will?
Did I take a small, seemingly insignificant post a teenage girl may have created and expound to ridiculous levels on it? Probably. But the realization that the world’s views on such a precious relationship has become this common that I would not feel any real reaction to such a claim is heartbreaking. The model He gave for this relationship may seem more difficult, can feel unnecessary when we “burn with desire” (1 Thessalonians 4:4), and does challenge both parties. But it also creates a bond that, when tended to with the care and effort needed to maintain it, sets the relationship up for a lasting marriage. We experienced how the world could influence our tendencies as a couple early in our relationship. When looking back to those days as we prepared to marry, I see the opportunities we missed and the growth that may have occurred in a different manner. Some pain and frustration could have been avoided if we had already been working to develop our relationship out of prayer and appropriate respect for each other.
It is easy to look back with a list of should-haves and would-haves after we already had the fun times. But I can share the pain endured when it came time to discuss previous relationships before committing to my husband and our counselors. We both cried as details came out, and ultimately gave it all to God to work on our hearts. I did not want to enter into my marriage with old wounds on my heart when it needed to be whole for my husband. Even after our wedding, others have come up in our discussions or details remembered. After our first few months, we learned that it simply became best to share as soon as possible if the information was necessary. A girl that we often see in the town we live in that my husband once had relations with was discussed. These conversations, while uncomfortable and potentially frustrating for a jealous-hearted woman, have protected our marriage.
It is important to protect the image of our marriage as we represent a Christian unity that is sacred. It is also important to share what is laying on our hearts and minds so the enemy does not have room to wreak havoc.
I know my husband will never reach out to another woman. But when he comes to me after a girl he used to know passed him at the grocery with a remark or flirtatious look, I know he is concerned with his own character and needs to discuss it. He is coming to me as his wife, his helper, to work through an uncomfortable situation as a husband and soon to be father. Some men would feel proud that another woman still looks at him, especially one that knew them when they were younger. But he wanted me to know about the encounter to keep our marriage bed pure, and he wanted to discuss who she was (to a point) in case another encounter should occur. This is how we keep ourselves accountable and in the loop. Of course, these issues and occurrences will begin to fade as we are older and our marriage years increase in number. But it is an issue to keep on the heart regardless of the amount of years of marriage you have under your belt. It is amazing how little things that we think are unnecessary or insignificant suddenly become an entire marital concept. We, in our marriage, know these are necessary conversations that are typically a brief passing in our day that keeps us in check and strong. Sin creeps in on the subtlest of opportunity. We are taking as many steps in our marriage to safeguard our hearts and remain in focus on each other.
Our marriage isn’t perfect. We didn’t start into our relationship with perfect purity, and we were unequally yoked in the early days. But we learned together, we repented together, and we discovered a love of serving our God together. This has made all the difference. Our friendship was great early on, and our relationship was full of light and great moments. But nothing could ever beat the pure love we have experienced from welcoming God into our relationship as the peak of our triangle. We married with hearts shining for each other, and united together as a team that functions together as a single element. We are two people with separate personalities (something you will hear me discuss the difficulties and beauties) who have the grace of God over us to complement each other.