When discipling single men, eventually I ask, “Are you faithful to your wife?”
They look quizzically at me and explain, “But, I”m not married.”
“So, it’s okay to be unfaithful to your wife before you meet her?”
“Well, I’m not sleeping around.”
“So, that’s the standard? No sex before marriage? What about all the stuff that makes you feel great just short of the full meal deal . . . studying anatomy using the braille system . . . passionate kissing, porn . . . . that sort of thing?”
The biblical truth is, if you’re doing all or most of the things married couples do with someone who isn’t your wife, you’re being unfaithful to the woman you hope to marry someday. Simple as that.
Of course, from the perspective of the world and many (most?) of those single men who call themselves “Christian”, this kind of thinking is straight from planet Zork. ‘That’s crazy, unrealistic, out of step with the real world, and besides, everyone is doing it,’ so the logic goes.
And that logic has it about right – “Be holy as I am holy in all of your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15) is totally out of step with just about everything. And yet, this is exactly what God has said to His people.
Holiness is the call of God on every married man – and every unmarried man – yet, somehow we’ve bought into the idea that the standard is different (lower) before marriage . . . but, is it?
The Bible says that Jesus Christ loved the Church (His bride) before and after they met. “But God commends (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. Jesus loved us before we even knew Him.
The instruction to love your wife as Christ loves the Church and gave himself for it isn’t just about faithfulness after the wedding. Love your wife today by laying down your life for her, even before you meet her – just like Jesus did for His bride. Your flesh may regret it, but your wife will love you for it and you will be faithful to God’s call on your life.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).