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Physical intimacy before marriage

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein


Library » Life Cycle » Marriage » Courting | Subscribe | What is RSS?



Jonothan84: I'm dating someone seriously. I plan to get engaged to the girl within 2 months. My problem is that recently we have been acting physically intimate. We both know its wrong, but now it just gets worse and worse. What can I do to prevent this? I know it is wrong, but I have been feeling less guilty to do it?


The last part of your question answers everything!

The very reason why we refrain from even minor acts of physical intimacy is because as we do something wrong we begin to get used to it and feel less guilty about it. First it is just a touch, then a hug, then a kiss etc.

There is an old Jewish saying "if you are close when you should be distant, you will be distant when you should be close".

There is an old Jewish saying "if you are close when you should be distant, you will be distant when you should be close".
Is this just a superstitious threat? I don't think so. I think this is a wise glimpse into the nature of a relationship.

Be wise. Let each stage of the relationship focus on its special quality. The dating and engagement stages of the relationship are about learning to connect on emotional, intellectual and practical levels without the use of physical contact.

Physical touch, as you have already guessed, is very overpowering and dims everything else out of the picture. When it is around, it sort of takes control. If you don't learn how to be strongly in love with your more sensitive (and more authentic) emotional and intellectual faculties before you let physical contact come into the picture, it will be very difficult for that aspect of the relationship to ever fully develop.

Relationships that lack solid emotional and intellectual intimacy, and rely purely on the pleasure of physical touch, don't have good records for longevity.

Relationships that are built on a solid foundation of communication without physical contact, enjoy the benefits of longevity and higher sensitivity to physical contact when it is introduced.

My practical suggestions for you are:

  1. Get engaged and get married! Stop procrastinating.
  2. Until then - see each other less frequently; don't allow the emotions to get too strong at any given time.
  3. When you do see each other, do so only in very public places.

Life is a balance of discipline and pleasure. Rather than have pleasure now and be deprived for the rest of your life; be disciplined now, and have pleasure for the rest of your life.


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