C. S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, says: "Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is, 'Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.'" (p.95) (he later says forgiveness may be even less popular)
My version of the top 24 reasons for waiting until the wedding night and remaining faithful ever thereafter:
8 NEGATIVE REASONS (i.e. BAD things about NOT waiting)
- It is throwing away the most personal, unique and beautiful wedding gift you could offer on your wedding night. You can't get back your virginity to give to a second person or more.
- It's stealing to take someone's purity who doesn't belong to you (i.e. it's wrong). You'd be taking what belongs to your partner's future spouse (and giving away what belongs to your future spouse).
- If you argue that you're planning to marry the person: you don't know for sure who you will marry until you've exchanged vows & rings (we know people whose engagements have been broken, or perhaps even more tragically, whose fiancés have died).
- Pairing up with another human being in this physical way is a very deep kind of union, and then to separate and go different ways and pair up with someone else is a serious kind of tearing apart, no matter how well you try to disguise or deny it; it's a part of you being ripped out and sewn up elsewhere. Multiple doses of this damages a core part of your psyche which otherwise could be healthier. To quote C. S. Lewis again, "The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union." (pp. 104-105)
- STDs. Abstinence is the only foolproof way of avoiding an STD (of which there are at least 10 nasty ones easily identified with 10 seconds of research). These diseases will not only affect you, but your future spouse and quite possibly children. Foolproof avoidance of something like that sounds like a good plan to me.
- Possible pregnancy; again, only the foolproof method is abstinence. This point covers both the worry about the possibility of unwed pregnancy, and the "problem" of deciding what to do with the new life in the case of pregnancy; all three lives involved will be forcibly changed forever in a difficult way no matter which direction you go with this.
- It can cause jealousy/arguments later over previous partners.
- It makes relationships awkward; can "ruin" things for one or both sides. Not giving in can be a sort of bargaining chip for the female - once given up, no more leverage, and a loss of respect, even causing disdain or boredom.
15 POSITIVE REASONS (i.e. GOOD things about waiting)
- It shows whether you are considered worth the wait by your partner. If not, you may want to rethink this relationship. Are they really interested in all of you, or just one part?
- Leaves you nothing in your past to regret in this domain.
- It exercises and develops self-control (something we need in many others areas in life). You both demonstrate patience, perseverance; it's a test of character.
- It's actually safe (better safe than sorry in huge life-changing matters like this).
- No need to lie about or hide anything.
- It shows honor, regard, value and respect not only for your potential partner but also for their future spouse and children (should it not end up being you). It shows concern for their future, health, and happiness.
- No gynecological exams needed until activity begins (!)
- Just to have the satisfaction of proving all the ads, movies, posters, magazines, and common rumors wrong, because it is possible.
- There's no trouble figuring out when it's the right time to begin.
- It makes your wedding night super duper special and something incredible to look forward to; it makes being married fundamentally different from your previous life - a true seal of the beginning of the new kind of relationship.
- It's keeping a special shared secret between you and your spouse, that only the two of you will ever know for life - what you're fully like (cf. Steven Curtis Chapman's song where he sings to his wife, "I will be the only one to really know you... and all your glory." This may not be what he was referring to, but it makes me think of it)
- You won't have the trouble of comparing your spouse with others, rather the joy of reveling in each other as a unique, designed-for-each-other pair.
- There's really plenty of time to experiment for the rest of your life with your spouse starting on the wedding night; contrary to how it feels, there's really no rush before that.
- You become one flesh (one person) only with the one person to whom you are devoting all your energy and commitment in working towards trust, love, and faithfulness, resulting in security, freedom and assurance (as opposed to becoming one flesh with someone to whom you have promised nothing and with whom there are no guarantees).
- Marriage partners become specialists in each other, learning about each other, fully devoted to pleasing each other, with no substitutes, no identity confusion, and getting better each year.
And the one most compelling reason for me:
- God says it's best. He knows what He's doing and how and why we function best. His rules are there to PROVIDE (good stuff) and PROTECT (from bad stuff)- they're not random, rather they are very well-thought out, by the best brain there is (far greater than mine or any other human's). See my post with supporting Biblical references here.