Abstainance and Hasty Marriages


I know some friends who feel that couples who abstain before marriage could rush into marriages so that they could have sex, and therefore put themselves at a higher risk for marrying someone who is wrong for them. My mom also feels that this may have contributed to her failed marriage to my dad.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Do people who abstain before marriage tend to rush into marriages and put themselves at a higher risk for divorce?

I find myself somewhat skeptical of this, since I see a former roommate living with her boyfriend in a completely dead end relationship. Yet, she seems completely incapable of leaving him, even turning down once in a lifetime opportunities to stay with a man who readily admits that he would never marry her. So I see disadvantages the other way as well.


I abstained from all but romantic kissing and hugging for 6 years.


If it’s really that hard to abstain, to the point of pressuring yourself into a marriage just for sexual fulfillment, it’s probably a good excuse to find a therapist.


People make all kinds of stupid choices. Their choices are not the fault of the institutions they violate, nor of the organizations that promote and defend said institutions.

BTW, this is one of the classics among arguments against a strict sexual ethic. We now live in a culture where people regularly “try each other out” before marriage. Is our culture healthier? Marriage more stable and lasting than before? Children better off, seeing healthier marriages and less breakup of their homes?


There’s no doubt that abstaining can be difficult and take a great amount of moral restraint, and I’m sure there are people who hasten their trip to the alter for such reasons, but i don’t see this as being the reason for failed marriages, but that people don’t understand marriage to begin with.

Sex is just one component of marriage. Commitment to the other person, and wanting what is best for that person, which is ultimately heaven, is the most important focus of a union between man and woman. If this is not understood, it doesn’t matter whether a marriage is consummated after just six months, 2 years or 5 years of courtship, the results could be the same, marriage for all the wrong reasons.


Ah, good angle! I didn’t see the implication in the OP where a religion such as Catholicism would seemingly encourage failed marriages due to encouraging abstinence.



Yeah, I never really liked the whole idea of trying each other on, and like I said, I don’t find this argument convincing. Like I said, I’ve seen my former roommate. It just threw me a little bit when my mom said that she partially blamed her failed marriage on this.


I agree. I think that’s a big problem in our society, having a skewed view of marriage, and I know I’ve had to readjust my understanding of marriage. It’s something I’m still working on.


Thanks everyone who posted. Like I said, what my mom said last night kind of threw me for a minute. My friends saying stuff is one thing, but I tend to put a lot of stock in what my mom says. While I do make my own decisions, it is important to me that she thinks that I’m making the right decision.


BTW, this is one of the classics among arguments against a strict sexual ethic. We now live in a culture where people regularly “try each other out” before marriage. Is our culture healthier? Marriage more stable and lasting than before? Children better off, seeing healthier marriages and less breakup of their homes?

Unfortunately, the trying out is evident even in mating customs in Christian commuities. For example, what else is the non-exclusive dating practice at its prime, i.e. people freely entering into several different romantic relationships with several different people at the same time, each hugging and kissing and whatever else (not sex, of course), until at some point the rest is given up and one is chosen?

On the other hand, when exactly did we have healthy mating customs? Asking the bride’s father, was that healthy? Marrying for money, for preservation of family etc?

And again, even if we take marriage “for love”, so far as it comes down to romantic notions, some people would be willing to call that selfish and they would insist that marriage is a more social vocation.

My preference would be to take it with a cool head. Cool isn’t the same degree as cold, which is an important differentiation here. A cool head, a calm approach, somewhat natural flow of events. Then again, maybe I’m wrong as well. It’s hard to be right on this one.

As for abstinence and hasty marriages, lack of abstinence and rushing into marriage for sexual fulfilment generally come from the same root - sexual urges. Obviously, a marriage hastened by a temperament which cannot wait for sex is not the same as a marriage contracted merely for the purpose of having a sexual partner, which might be a void marriage depending on how other aspects are addressed (e.g. if everything else is simulated).


[LEFT]"Now concerning the thing whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. But for fear of fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render the debt to his wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband. **The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband. And in like manner the husband also hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud not one another, except, perhaps, by consent, for a time, that you may give yourselves to prayer; and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency.
But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment. For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt." 1 Corinthians 7:1-9

I think Saint Paul urges a very balanced consideration of the place of sexual relations in marriage. I believe, just as he did, that it is probably best for courting couples with high sex drives to do everything in their power to thoroughly prepare themselves for marriage in a timely manner. I’m glad my wife and I did.

Couples will discover, perhaps even after the first time, that everything that Holy Mother Church teaches us about sex is TRUE. Sex is a profound act, a total gift of self–spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The burning that they felt before their marriage will (with the proper disposition) be transformed into a growing, active love for one another, **a love that does not constantly manifest itself in a sexual manner!

**I suppose it sounds like I’m saying that you have to have sex in order to not have sex. That’s not what I’m getting at. If a couple is open to Him, God will transform those pre-marital sexual urges into a beautiful, flowering relationship. And that most certainly is better than risking giving in to temptation.



The key word in this thread is choice. Man (men and women) live by conscious choice. At least the healthy ones do. Marriage is an everyday choice, it isn’t something that “happens” and then just goes on some form of emotional “cruise control”. Every married couple every day of their lives makes a choice to remain with their partner, whether they realize it or not.

If two people marry for solid reasons based on Christian principles, and they have a desire for a happy, healthy, and active sex life in a mutually exclusive way, chances are they will have a solid and long lasting marriage. On the other hand, if two people marry not knowing what the preferences, desires, hopes, and plan for their respective lives are, it’s a **** shoot.

As to the Catholic Church (and many of the non Catholic denominations), there is much more emphasis on marriage preparation than in the past. I haven’t seen any CC in the last ten years that doesn’t require at least six months notification before the planned wedding, in addition to marriage preparation classes. Especially for younger adults.

Still, people will make mistakes … it’s the nature of being human.

My two cents.


I think that’s ridiculous (The assertions made by the OPs friends, not the posts above me!)

I’ve been abstaining my whole life, and yet here I am, 25, just now getting married, and not to my first boyfriend. Not to mention that we might not even consummate the night of our marriage because we’re still trying to figure out if we can bring children into the marriage right away (we hope so but it depends on where he is with his research).

I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen, but I think the people to whom it happens are people that do not grasp the true beauty and nature of abstinence in the first place and see it as a huge NO, instead of a ‘yes’ to the power and beauty of sex and marriage, and what their purposes/natures are.


Perhaps if you abstain from sex before marriage FOR THE RIGHT REASON, ie because of love for God, then surely the marriage will not fail. Doing it for the wrong reason could probably have led other people to just rush into marriage and eventually be the cause of the failure. Couples, if abstaining from sex before marriage, should carry and love this cross so that at the end, the reward is would be a strong and enduring marriage.


Exactly. My wife and I are currently living several hundred miles apart (just for a few more months, though! The end is near! Yay! :smiley: ), and while I will confess that there *are *moments when I feel a bit flustered about not being able to share in the marital embrace when we have a chance to see each other, the period of abstinence has always yielded good fruit.

Boyfriend, girlfriends, husbands, wives, try to not get flustered when you can’t embrace. Be thankful that you are able to spend time with your beloved. Go for a stroll, go to Mass, do laundry together! When you are able to come together again (or the first time), it’s just marvelous.


After a failed marriage, your mother is probably also trying to re-adjust her understanding of marriage and figure out what went wrong. I bet if your mom abstained until marriage for moral reasons, she also believed that her marriage would last until one of them died. If she and your father abstained through dating, rushed into marriage, then later divorced, there were likely multiple factors involved. Rushing so they wouldn’t have to abstain might have been an indication that one (or both) had not yet developed patience and self-discipline. Abstinance before marriage wouldn’t be the cause of divorce, yet lack of self-discipline and/or maturity often is.

Many enter into marriage wide-eyed innocents, expecting all will be happily ever after. Then life happens. Marriage is not easy. Life is not easy. Those who marry very young may not realize how difficult life can be, and when life gets difficult they may blame their spouse. Resentment can build. Every person has annoying habits and some tendency to sin. No matter how long a couple dates, they will continue to learn new things about each other once they marry-for better or for worse. Marriage lets us *really *know our spouse-the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly reality is, your parents aren’t together for some reason.

I am very sorry for your mom and dad’s break-up. You may not every be privy to the knowledge of what exactly happened between them. But please, as you try to understand marriage while you will no doubt be affected by your parents marriage, look also towards what marriage symbolizes–the relationship between Christ and His Church.


I could see that applying to a very young couple, perhaps…where hormones for a guy are higher than say, if he is in his later twenties. (still high, but not like an 18, 19, 20 yr old) At the height of passion, I can see bad decisions being made…but I wouldn’t say that is a given or the norm.

I know for myself, I was not going to rush into anything–I had been a virgin for a number of reasons…not to ‘give myself’ over to just anyone. So, I can see it going both ways. Maybe for some, it can be a lead in for making bad decisions…but if one is a devout Catholic, going into a marriage for those reasons, would seem unlikely. If a person is heading into a marriage to quench sexual desires, it’s likely that he/she doesn’t fully understand the meaning of marriage and sexuality at that time in his/her life.


Thanks for your advice. My parents divorced about 8 years ago, but I know it was very hard on my mom. She didn’t believe in divorce, but eventually it just became unbearable for everyone. So yeah, there’s a lot of bitterness and wounds on all side. I have my moments myself, but being out of the country for a year really helped me to see my family in a different light. But I do need to keep in mind that my mom still hurts from everything.


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