Consequences of actions and their impact on marriage

How much do the physical, emotional, mental, and other consequences of actions affect marriage and sanctification? Obviously, the answer varies depending on the severity of the actions involved: some, to a little, to a lot.

One of the oft quoted statistics on this blog is number of sexual partners before marriage and divorce rate. Women with more sexual partners before marriage have a higher divorce rate than virgins.

A woman who has repented of her past and is a true Christian following God and believes in the permanence of marriage can definitely be in the percentage of women who have had sexual partners before marriage but not divorce.

However, it’s also true that the consequences of her past actions can have repercussions on her future marriage if she is prone to comparing her previous partners to her husband and not fleeing from temptations such as these. The past can bring up barriers and temptations to intimacy and make things more difficult in the future.

The difficulty for a man in this position is assessing this risk. This is also true of a man with prior sin in his life as a woman is assessing him for marriage. Since we can’t view the hearts of the individuals (and individuals are prone to change over time), the only thing we have to look at is current patterns of behavior and how much they align with the gospel and Christian walk.

However, our God is amazing, and I think all early consequences of sin can be overcome if one is dead set on following Christ and taking off all of the old. Paul himself is an excellent example of this: full repentance that leads to him working even harder than many of Jesus’ disciples for the gospel and extreme humility for his role in persecuting other Christians before he was converted.

Paul’s example are the few indicators I would look for if I was going to marry a non-virgin or looked at any other sins in a person’s past for evaluating them for marriage. It’s very difficult to fake true humility and a passion for Christ that leads to large scale evangelism or service to the body of Christ.

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12 Responses to Consequences of actions and their impact on marriage

  1. orthros says:

    Unfortunately, 2 unpleasant facts interfere with this optimism:

    1) The widespread acceptance of divorce in the American Christian community
    2) The difference in ability to pair bond once sex has occurred between men and women

    Statistically speaking, a man with a dozen pre-marital partners is a much, much lower divorce risk than a woman with even one such partner.

    Women imprint on their lovers. Men do not, or at least not for most sexual relationships.

  2. @ orthros

    Yes, biologically women/wives have a much more difficult time overcoming consequences to pre-marital sex. Not to say it can’t be done, but it is more difficult. It requires great humility for a woman/wife to address this and fight against the urges to compare and/or disrespect or withhold sex. A single man should be very stringent about evaluating this if he is considering a non-virgin for marriage.

    The culture and churchianity definitely contribute to this. Catholics and Orthodox definitely are better than this than Protestants with their harder line stance on divorce.

  3. donalgraeme says:

    One important thing to keep in mind is that divorce risk doesn’t necessarily translate into a binary equation. By that I mean the two options are: Divorce/Happy Marriage.

    So even if a woman is not necessarily a divorce risk it doesn’t meant the marriage will be great. That applies to women with all N counts from 0 to a million. However, its pretty safe to say that the count does affect the chances of that “happy” marriage as well. So yes, she might stay faithful even if N>0, but it doesn’t mean it will be a good marriage. She might really be affected by her past actions, and it would negatively impact the marriage, despite her willingness to stick it out. Lets not forget that St. Paul had his thorn too….

  4. Bruce says:

    “The culture and churchianity definitely contribute to this. Catholics and Orthodox definitely are better than this than Protestants with their harder line stance on divorce.”

    Not really. Catholics get a declaration of nullity (which the marriage tribunal usually grants). Of course, many Catholics probably aren’t sacramentally married since they don’t even understand what marriage is (Zippy used to make this point).

    The Orthodox let you divorce and remarry up to 2 times and call it “pastoral mercy” or something like that – you can remarry and live in a state of perpetual penance for the adultery you are committing.

    The Catholic and Orthodox are better on paper. I think this will start to change as the heretics inevitably leave the Church and the boomer-Catholics die.

  5. Bruce says:

    “So even if a woman is not necessarily a divorce risk it doesn’t meant the marriage will be great.”

    Yes, a common outcome is the sexless or sex-deficient marriage. My guess is this is the number one cause of divorce (directly or indirectly) among otherwise decent Christians seeing as men express love and feel loved and bonding through sex.

  6. @ donal

    Also true.

    I’ve seen that the most with cultural Christians cause they act like the world even though they call themselves Christians.

    Most of the marriages I’ve seen where the wife is truly committed to following Christ they’re definitely more godly and happy (irrespective if the wife had premarital sex), but there are exceptions as well.

    In the end, I think every man has to evaluate his own risk tolerance and do his due diligence digging into his potential wife’s past to see if she’s been transformed by Christ in those areas or not.

    Same with himself and his own family upbringing and past. I can say for a fact that digging into my own past to evaluate churchian, cultural, family and friends impact on my life and my sins and taking them to the cross definitely helped prepare me better for marriage.

  7. @ Bruce

    Not really. Catholics get a declaration of nullity (which the marriage tribunal usually grants). Of course, many Catholics probably aren’t sacramentally married since they don’t even understand what marriage is (Zippy used to make this point).

    It seems that America is the exception. I think the annulments given in America by the Catholic Church are more than the combined annulments of the rest of the world. So American Catholics have to be careful.

    The Catholic and Orthodox are better on paper. I think this will start to change as the heretics inevitably leave the Church and the boomer-Catholics die.

    On the stats too, at least where divorce is concerned.

    Part of it could also be better community and family support.

  8. Sharkly says:

    orthos says: Women imprint on their lovers. Men do not, or at least not for most sexual relationships.

    LOL I just wrote a personal testimony to the contrary, a few days before this post came out:
    https://laf443259520.wordpress.com/2020/03/01/virgin-imprinting/

  9. @ Sharkly

    Yeah, I don’t think anyone would deny there are such things as wife goggles and preferences for the wife with marriage. That is certainly imprinting.

    Women will pine away for their “alpha” that pumped and dumped them, and some men will also kill themselves if their girlfriend or wife leaves them. Also a form of imprinting, albeit in bad ways usually.

    I do kinda get ortho’s point in that men don’t have the same divorce rate as women do if they had prior partners. That is also a true statement. Women’s imprinting seems to be stronger in a sense that it probably tempers their expectations in negative ways for future relationships. Also probably why the Bible is so stringent on a woman’s virginity in the OT.

  10. Pingback: Second Sunday in Lent: 8 March 2020 - Dark Brightness

  11. Sharkly says:

    My theory is that men are just better, stronger vessels. Men are more rational and naturally better able to compartmentalize prior sex and not pine for past sex partners, idealizing them, after they have joined with a new mate.

  12. Anonymous Reader says:

    @Sharkly
    My theory is that men are just better, stronger vessels.

    In some ways. In other ways, not so much.

    Men are more rational and naturally better able to compartmentalize prior sex and not pine for past sex partners, idealizing them, after they have joined with a new mate.

    I think you are projecting.

    Look, sexual intercourse “happens” differently for men than for women, both psychologically and biologically. The “alpha widow” phenomenon exists, but so does the “war bride” phenom. Both are features of female psychology.

    Tangentially: The current trend in churches seems to be “unlimited forgiveness” because “God is Love”. So a woman can do literally anything in her 20’s, but when she gets to be 29 and suddenly decides to return to the beta land churches all she needs to do is cry some real tears and all of her past isn’t just forgiven, it is supposed to be forgotten. Even if she has a child or two from men she didn’t quite get around to marrying, her past is supposed to never be mentioned, and she becomes a “great catch”, one of the “wonderful, wonderful women” that 30-something men are supposed to wife up. Any man in a church like that needs to just walk away IMO.

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