Yes! To all of this.
Beginning a sexual relationship can most certainly complicate the building a friendship aspect of discernment. My new husband and I had a two year courtship. One year of that was friendship building only. No romantic displays. The last year of that was when we declared we were dating and the romantic aspect kicked in but we remained celibate.
Our entire relationship our time was spent talking, communicating on a level other than physical. I feel it really left us in a position where we know each other. One month into marriage and he ALREADY knows me better than I know myself because we had two years of open, honest and uncomplicated communication. And no, living together hasn’t REALLY changed much. We know each other so well that moving in with him held no surprises. I already knew his cleaning habits, his expectations and in general how he lived (didn’t need to live with him to know all those things because he was honest with me).
I will add that while I went into this a virgin he had been intimate with a woman before meeting me. And this caused some significant pain when we finally WERE intimate physically.
Prior to this marriage I was told repeatedly that sex isn’t a big deal and it shouldn’t matter if your partner has had multiple other partners… and blah blah. All these messages society says to remove the value of sex.
It does matter. In fact it HURTS. For me it is a great pain to think that he was intimate physically with another human. I was open and honest with him about that hurt and he is careful with me because of that hurt (in that he doesn’t ever compare us or mention ‘she did this,’ or ‘she did that’). But it’s a hurtle we overcame because ultimately he is still the right person for me.
Things secular people brought to us during our courtship: “What if the sex is bad???”
It was. At first. But we were open and honest with each other and it improved almost immediately because I spoke, he listened and he spoke and I listened. Sex can only be bad if you’re dealing with someone who is selfish and unable to listen.
“What if you move in with him and find out he’s a total slob!”
It didn’t take rocket science to find out he wasn’t. I visited his home. I saw how he kept it. I listened to him. I spoke to him. But even if we had moved in and I discovered he was lazy with housework - so what? He’s the sort that if I told him: Hey, can you please pick up your socks? He would.
Ultimately any concerns brought to us were solved by maturity. If you are immature or if you’re marrying someone who is immature those things might actually be a problem but when you approach marriage with a bit more maturity none of those things are issues.
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