When we became more dedicated to our faith, we learned we had to give up sex before marriage.
"Well it's a good thing you guys are getting married — if you weren't you would need to move out of the house." When you hear those words from your pastor, it's kinda like a swift kick in the gut.
Needless to say, although we believed in God we weren't actively living out our faith. She had just begun going to these classes at a church in the area. On one of our first dates we went to church together.
Not long after we started going to this church in Nashville, we moved in together. "It's just easier," we said. "It just seems like we should," we told each other. "Why should we both pay rent?" was our thinking.
Then came a move to Georgia. By that time, we were acting like a married couple and rented a big house on Wilmington Island. Yet, we both sensed something wasn't right.
That year in Georgia was the most difficult we have ever had in our relationship. Even through those difficulties, I proposed to my then-girlfriend, and we made plans to get married.
As we made wedding plans we moved, again. This time it was "Goodbye, Atlantic Ocean!" and "Hello, Gulf Coast!" We rented a house together in New Orleans and expected to be married sometime late summer.
Working in top 40 radio, I didn't hear many commercials that dealt with faith. So when I was working one Sunday morning, the commercial for a local church service's Easter celebration caught my attention.
That Easter, my fiancee and I sat in the Pontchartrain Center, and were overwhelmed by a renewed sense of our faith in God. It was intense. We left that service and nearly skipped to the car, we were so excited.
It was a great feeling to think that we had found a new church home. We quickly became involved in the church and the twentysomethings group.
Then it happened. Both of us felt it. We realized we were messing up. When we started to really read the Bible and live according to our faith, we realized we needed to change how we were living.
This was a big decision. I'm a guy who really enjoyed his (soon-to-be) wife. But I felt like I was supposed to stop having sex with this woman.
My prayers went something like this: "Really God? That's what you want me to do? But we're getting married in just a couple months. What's the big deal about it? Isn't getting married enough? Why do we need to stop having sex?"
I never got up the courage to pray about moving out. I was afraid of what the answer might be.
So when I set up the lunch meeting with our pastor and he told me that it was good we were getting married, or I would need to move out, I was shocked.
I didn't realize that it was important to God and for our faith for us to make a change, right now — not just in the future. And this change was going to make our lives and our future marriage better.
I moved out of the bedroom and took up residence in our spare bedroom.
Honestly, the first couple weeks were tough. I didn't see her in anything less than sweats and a t-shirt. But in those three months we grew together in ways that were much more than physical. We became partners — living a new journey that included this new thing that brought us together.
Not sex, but God.