"To me, abstinence is not only the will of God, but a way to show my love and respect for my future wife," says Marcus Riley, 19, a student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. "It is hard sometimes, especially when in a relationship as I am now, but I just remind myself that while I haven't met my wife yet, she does exist. And no matter how much I love my girlfriend, I love her [my future wife] more," he adds.
Dealing With Others
Choosing abstinence can feel like a lonely choice. Riley, who shares his beliefs with like-minded peers at his school, has an advantage over individuals whose choice raises eyebrows and invites disbelief or even ridicule. The way in which you share this information with friends is also a matter of personal preference. Not everyone is comfortable being a billboard for abstinence.
"Each personality is unique. One person choosing abstinence might say to his or her peers, 'Hey, it's my choice. Respect it. If you don't like it, that's your problem,'" says Tina Antilla, marketing director of the A.C. Green Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Phoenix, AZ. "A less forward personality might show his or her choice of abstinence through his or her actions, for example, by choosing certain friends and activities over others," she says.
Helping your partner accept your decision can be tough, especially if he or she doesn't share the same values or understand why you choose to abstain from sex until marriage. Remember that a person who is willing to end a relationship just because you won't have sex with them probably never loved you in any real, mature way to begin with. This works both ways: just as no one should pressure you to have sex to stay in a relationship, no one should impose abstinence on you. To practice abstinence, you need to make a commitment to yourself. It won't work if the motivation comes from an outside source.