There are many things in life I had to learn from experience. I had to learn that driving too fast on a country road with a dirt shoulder could lead to spinning into a fishtail and getting a flat tire. I had to learn that despite how attached you are to one major when you first enter college, you will probably end up doing something completely different with your life.
But something I wish I hadn't learned from experience is the view of sex I have now as compared to my freshman year of college. Learning these things from experience left permanent wounds and led to mistakes that I'll never be able to take back. While your teenage daughter might not respond to scare tactics or take "because I said so" as a reason to save sex for marriage, perhaps these three lessons—which I learned the hard way—might reach her heart.
"Forever" doesn't really mean "forever" until you're married.
It's so easy to believe that you're going to be with a boyfriend forever, and often for good reason. I was given two promise rings and an engagement ring before I even met my current husband, so I know the feeling well. But the truth is, "forever" isn't really forever until your boyfriend has become your husband—a person who has made a legal and spiritual promise to stick with you and love you for the rest of your life, forsaking all others. If you figure it doesn't matter if you have sex before marriage because you're already with the person you're going to marry, consider the possibility that anything could happen between here and the altar.
It hurts to know there have been others.
Consider your future spouse when you're contemplating having sex with someone to whom you're not married. It will probably hurt him—whether or not he admits it—to know that you gave a piece of yourself away to another person before you promised to give your whole self to him. And if the man you are with will eventually get married, you are taking something away from his future spouse, as well. Although it's now commonplace for people to have sex outside of marriage, imagine how much more meaningful it would make your wedding night to know neither of you had ever shared that intimate experience with anyone else.
You may not realize when you are being used—or using someone else.
Although it may not be obvious on the surface, our present society tends to encourage people to use each other. When you think about it, engaging in sexual activity for the sake of "scratching an itch," so to speak, is using another person for your own physical gratification. Having sex to try to get someone to like you, stay with you, or make up with you, is using another person for your own emotional gratification. As hard as it may be to admit, these scenarios are driven by a selfishness that distorts relationships and is often masked by the things people are willing to say and do in order to get what they want. All people deserve to be loved and honored for who they are, rather than what they can do for another.
It's easy for teenage girls to let curiosity get the better of them, get caught up in the moment, or convince themselves that they are making the right decision when deep down they know they're not, but hopefully these lessons will help your daughter start to see that sex is meant to be so much more than what it has become. When it expresses unconditional love through selfless giving of oneself to another, it is fulfilling its true purpose and will be fulfilling for the couple. I pray that with your guidance, your daughter will choose not to sell sex—or herself—short.
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