Engagement Questions

I am a few months engaged to my fiancee, after dating her for over two years, and will be married in another nine months. Her and I are both devout Catholics, and have had a chaste and healthy relationship. Her and I both tend to lean toward the conservative end of things when it comes to our physical relationship, both of us taking our chastity and virginity very seriously. However, in the past few weeks a couple moral questions have arisen in our physical relationship.

The reason, as I understand it, that the Church so wisely teaches that sex must be within the context of marriage is because one of the two purposes of sex is intimate union (the other being procreation). This intimate union must be within a committed, loving, lifelong, monogamous, and faithful relationship, otherwise the unifying sexual act acts hypocritically. Simply put, sex must wait until there is the commitment of marriage. The level of commitment runs parallel to the level of physical intimacy.

This brings me back to my questions. In the context of a committed engagement relationship, what is the proper level of physical intimacy? Is it the same as a dating relationship? Is it more? Is it less? And just for clarification, I am excluding all physical intimacy that is intrinsically immoral for an unmarried couple.

My second question is about cuddling, kissing, etc. Are these acts immoral in an unmarried relationship if the couple does them knowing that they are arousing to their companion and themselves? Is intentional sexual arousal improper in an unmarried relationship if there are no intrinsically immoral acts taking place?

I’m no expert, but it stands to reason that even as an engaged couple, you don’t get to have any more intimacy that you did as just a standard dating. No ceremony = no sex.

As for your second question, I imagine you’ll get a million and one different answers. I guess it’s something you have to decide for yourselves, or failing that, ask your preist.

And congratulations.

No sex, of any kind, until after the marriage vows is a given. I was asking if the proper level of physical intimacy for a committed engaged couple is any different than for a dating couple?

I think you are fine with kissing so long as you don’t get too into it and it leads to a sexual act. The problem is that it can quickly get heated and lead you to places you shouldn’t go. It’s probably best to keep kisses short and sweet.

Touching of any private parts should be avoided as well for the same reason as the above.

Cuddling is a whole different thing. If either of you become aroused by too intimately cuddling then you should avoid it.

No stimulation of private areas is permitted by any means.

IMO, it’s not sinful to touch, cuddle or kiss but among two people that are very attracted to each other things escalate pretty fast. It’s better to just not put yourself in a position that could lead to breaking your chastity.

This varys from couple to couple. Some can cuddle with no problems, others can’t. Some can have rather intense kisses and not become aroused…ect. However, you have to be really careful.

No, it isn’t different.

2350 Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. They should see in this time of testing a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity, and the hope of receiving one another from God. They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love. They will help each other grow in chastity.

Your post brings back memories. Very pleasant memories.

Sex is a wonderful gift God gives to married people. I am pretty sure God wants you to enjoy your sexuality fully when married. But then, as a married couple it is important to enjoy one another when you are not having sex. Seems like that should be obvious, but in many cases it is not true.

I suspect it is difficult for you to hold one another and be close for extended periods of time without feeling like your relationship becomes too physical. A natural, healthy response to being close to the person you love, and intend to marry, is wanting to have sex. If you do not have that desire I would urge you to re-consider your marriage.

So, honor one another by limiting yourselves to behavior you both find acceptable. There are no hard and fast rules, other than to love one another. Trust one another that the expression of your love at this point will not cause you to feel like you are sinning. It is a great sign that you respect each other at this point. But let it be enough that you respect each other because of what you want to do. Don’t do something, or fail to do something, because of what a third party says.

You see, I have observed great sin in marriage because the husband, or wife, insisted that their spouse do, or not do, something based on what was written in the Bible, or taught at Church. Now I am not saying what is written in the Bible is wrong, or what is taught at Church is wrong, but rather that people can twist things to do evil. In marriage you are first called to love your spouse. You must understand that. The Church does not require you do something that will hurt your spouse, or yourself.

By being celibate now you are blessing yourselves. Always trust in one another. God is most present to you in each other.

Try to find a Living in Love seminar near you or just go online and see what they have to say- married 26 yrs and LIL rejuvenated our marriage.

Think of it this way:

Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do in front of her father!

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