Celibacy is not for everyone. I remember when Isis and I were getting serious. We had a very strong and organic chemistry. We were very intentional about not allowing sex be the foundation of our relationship. I know that we built a solid foundation; but even still, temptation is real. It takes a lot of self discipline and patience. We even purchased a mason jar and made a game out of our attempt to be celibate. We’d each put $20 in the jar for every week that we made it without sex. Our goal was to use that money on our honeymoon. While I can’t say that it was easy, or even that it was always successful, I can say that our efforts made us stronger.
People vow to live a celibate life for several reasons. There are some people who choose this lifestyle for religious reasons, and others who make a conscious decision to focus more on growing the relationship and building intimacy without sex. Cauchy and Joelle will share with us how celibacy has helped to develop a sense of discipline within themselves, and allowed their bond to evolve as they prepare for the next level in their relationship.
What inspired you both to become celibate, and how do you think it will benefit your relationship?
Growing up in the church we were always told that we are suppose to wait until marriage, but that never came with an explanation. The church just assumes that you just know not to do it, and you know why. At some point in our lives we found our own why and we decided to stick to it. As we grew in our relationship with God we realized that honoring God was more than just attending church every sunday and posting inspirational bible verses on social media. We realized that in order to honor God we must be willing to die to our flesh. We didn’t know each other at the time but we both made our own individual vows to God.
What has the journey of celibacy been like for you both individually, and as a couple?
Cauchy: The journey comes with a lot of challenges, and forces you to have a lot of self-control. Being a professional athlete, I am constantly surrounded by temptation which forces me to have a lot more self-discipline. One thing I always try to do is stay busy. I keep my mind off of sex, so by the time that I get home I am tired enough to go to sleep. In this relationship, what keeps me going is knowing that my future wife has been on this journey way before I came into her life. She holds me accountable when times get hard. The key ingredient for me has been fearing God. This is a vow I made to God and I take that seriously. I believe that when we honor God , he honors us. All I can control are my actions, so everyday I pray for self-control. This journey has not only helped me work on my obedience towards God, but it has also helped me to become a better man. I believe that if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. This journey is teaching me that I am in charge of my actions. It’s given me a stronger backbone. To know that I am not controlled by the desires of my flesh, helps me to apply self-control in other areas of my life. I’ve built a strong foundation.
Joelle: I started my journey my sophomore year of high school when I made a purity vow. Now as a first year law student, I can say that this journey has been both rewarding and challenging. When I was single it was so easy, and I felt like no one could break me. I went into this relationship with that exact mindset. I was wrong. I later realized that it gets harder when you are in a relationship because all parts of you want to connect to the person you love. Cauchy and I are in a long-distance relationship, which makes things even harder when we see each other after a long time of being apart. It’s human nature for temptation to take over. There were times when we had to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. I truly believe the only reason we have been able to make it this far is because at the beginning of this relationship we made a decision that we wanted to honor God individually as well as together. Keeping Christ at the center of this relationship has saved us from our flesh.
What has been most rewarding and challenging about this experience?
The most rewarding part about this experience is being able to hold each other accountable. It is good to know that we are strong enough to fight against the desires of the flesh for a greater purpose. Acknowledging that the ultimate goal should be to honor God first, and by doing so, we are able to honor each other. This experience has pushed us to connect in so many other ways. It created a level of discipline in us that has been beneficial in other commitments we’ve made in this relationship. This also helped us to know each other on a spiritual level before getting to know the physical.
The most challenging part about this experience is resisting temptation. We constantly have to remind each other why we are choosing to wait. We have to set boundaries that work for us, especially in a long-distance relationship. We love to travel. Sometimes we have to plan a full day of activities so we can keep our minds off of sex. The wait is challenging. We feel as though time is passing slowly, and we are counting down the days until our wedding night. We can't wait!
You both are human, so how do you keep your mind off of sex, and what activities do you both participate in to stay engaged and focused on your goal when there is temptation?
We keep our minds off of sex by being transparent with each other. When we feel temptation, we are very straightforward. We don’t hide our weaknesses. We also hold each other accountable. We believe that iron sharpens iron. when one is weak the other is there to be strong for the both of us. Prayer has been key during the times where we are both feeling weak. We also read books and blogs, and stay connected to the word of God. We plan bible study together. The word of God has been where we draw our discipline from. When all else fails, we go to purchase chocolate, and continue counting down the days.
Make Sure It’s a Mutual Decision
Your partner can’t choose this journey for you. You have to make the decision for yourself. You can’t love someone into celibacy. Make sure that your partner is not waiting for you, but he or she is waiting with you. The wait can be very hard when both parties don’t feel the same way about the process. Make sure you are honest and have that conversation before the relationship gets serious. Set boundaries together and choose those boundaries based on your relationship and not on everyone else's. The boundaries that work for us may not be the boundaries that work for you. Only the two of you can decide what is best for your relationship. Remember that boundaries are not a "one size fits all". You really have to take the time to get to know your partner and do what works for you. There is no perfect recipe.
Tune Out the World
One of the main things people say when you tell them that you are waiting is, " Don’t buy a car without test driving it". The world’s opinion of why you decided to wait is just that, an opinion. Women are not objects to be test driven, and men are not animals that have no self-control. People will always talk and have opinions on how your relationship should be. While it’s fine to listen to advice, definitely use discernment to know the difference between what is constructive and what is destructive. As we are getting closer to our special day, we are learning that the enemy can and will use anything and anyone to distract you from what really matters. Protect your relationship from the noise of this world. What matters is what is at the core of your relationship. Sometimes you have to let people think they know it all but always remember that all that matters is that you and your partner are on the same page. Don’t expect to be loved by everyone because of the way you choose to express your obedience to God. This is a vow made to God, and that is all that matters in the end.
Don’t Ignore the Struggle
It’s very important that you express to your partner when you are struggling with temptation. They're your accountability partner. Your partner needs to know your triggers so he or she can protect your from them. We are very honest with each other when it comes to temptation and that is how we are able to hold each other accountable. Ladies, don’t be shy, we deal with temptation, too. Temptation doesn’t mean that you are weak , It means you are human.
Commitment to God
The important thing is to remember that you're not doing it for anyone else, but rather this is a commitment to God. We truly believe that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. One question you can always ask yourself is: is it better to give into temptation for instant gratification, or to obey God and have an abundance of blessings for the rest of your life?