CR spoke with Sarah Teibo about handling sexual feelings as a Christian

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When I talk about someone who's got the same vision in life, it doesn't have to be that you're both going to be missionaries, accountants or doctors. It's that you both have an overall, similar goal or purpose in life.

Sex Interrupted

I know somebody, she has a charity that helps underprivileged children in South Africa and it was co-founded by herself and her husband. If one of them didn't see themselves leaving the UK and going to South Africa there would have been a bit of a struggle in moving and starting that. When they got married it wasn't as though that was the purpose of their marriage, but they had that similar passion for young children. As time went on and they found themselves leaving the UK and going to South Africa, it was something they did together.

In some marriages one of the reasons for divorce is that it gets to the point where it becomes clear they're both going in different directions and they can't carry on. In order to avoid that happening it would be good to set off with a person who's going your way, who's got the same passion as you do for life.

Sarah J: Should people have conversations about this sort of thing when they're dating then, finding out each other's intentions?

Sarah: Absolutely, yes. I'll tell you my testimony. When I was dating my husband, we started dating because he found out that we'd got the same birthday in the same day month and year, which rarely happens. All of a sudden something clicked. One day he called me and said, we've started dating, and I said no we haven't, and he asked why? I said, because you haven't asked me. The truth is, we got really close, but he never actually formally said I'd like to go out with you, or, I'd like to date you. There wasn't any communication; so when he said, do I know we've started dating and I said no because you haven't asked me, he then formally asked me. Then we started to see the same thing.

People can be led along with different perceptions of what's happening so it's key that at the beginning of a relationship you define what you have; people can just see the relationship as being friends and other people can be sensing and interpreting the actions to mean something more intense, something deeper. They are already probably telling their friends, I'm in a relationship; meanwhile the girl or the guy is just passive about it thinking it's just a casual friend.

You have to time that discussion in a way that it doesn't seem like you're desperate, or that you're tense. It could be just a casual question over a cup of tea or watching football. Just throw the question in to understand if both of you are seeing the relationship as the same thing.

As it progresses you need to understand if you're going towards marriage or if you've found out that you're not compatible, then you just have to go your separate ways. Communication is important, otherwise one person will be led along and the other person is going their own way and in the end it ends in heartbreak.

Sarah J: If you're in a relationship and you've got good communication and you're pursuing things together, how can you resist that urge to have sex?

Sarah: With that urge, I would say there are two types of people. There is one type where they both have that resolution not to have sex before marriage. There's another type of relationship where they really don't care, because that's the kind of society we live in.

If you're in a relationship and you don't want to have sex before marriage, you're still going to come to a point where you're together and all of a sudden it feels that you're not thinking with your head anymore, you're just going to be overwhelmed by the feeling. You have to take really practical steps to overcome the temptation. Communication is the key.

When I was dating my husband he told me once not to visit him with skirts on because skirts are really easy to undo; so whenever I went to visit him I wore trousers. That was a good thing, because I didn't want to have sex before marriage. Another thing that happened when I was dating my husband, and this is probably going to be a confession; sometimes we were alone in a room and found ourselves being really vulnerable. Even though we never had sex before marriage, we did find ourselves becoming really intimate and then we would have to quickly stop, because we had that resolution at the back of our minds that we didn't want to have sex before marriage and that was like a driving force for us. We had to tell ourselves that this kind of scene stimulates these feelings, for instance being alone in a room together and knowing nobody's coming. That would allow us that freedom and certain parts of our minds and bodies would take over; so we couldn't allow ourselves to be in that situation. After that we started having meetings in restaurants. We spent a lot on meals I'll tell you, but we tried not to allow ourselves to be in each other's houses alone. If we went to each other's house there'd have to be people there. We realised that we were in love, but it's not like on the wedding night and you suddenly feel like having sex. That feeling can be managed and controlled, especially when you've got the spirit of God in you. We realised that and we started managing the feelings and meeting in public until we got to the point where we could have sex and we enjoyed it and that was in marriage obviously.

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The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.