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  • Writer's pictureBeverly H.

Abstinent Guy IRL- The Pact (Part 2 of 2)

Updated: Nov 17, 2021


Post Title: Abstinent Guy IRL- The Pact (Part 2 of 2)


The First Vow

Jackson realized making out was all or nothing for him. If he so much as kissed a woman, he could tell he would absolutely go all the way. He was also burdened by pornography, sexual confusion, suicidal thoughts, and depression. We left off in part 1 as he panicked and was about to make an unusual pact with God. Let’s get to it.


The Pact

ME: What pact did you make with God?

JACKSON: I ended up making a strong pact with God and I said, “I’m done. You know, this is too slippery a slope. I’m just going to have to wait. I won’t kiss before my wedding day. No more. Because it’s too slippery of a slope for me.” I stuck to that. Nobody really understood why, and for me it was a very personal reason.

ME: My hope is that you can help other people to gain from your experience, to learn from it, and maybe follow God’s will differently or better than they would have otherwise.

JACKSON: Oh absolutely, and I know [chuckles] that it is not the same for everyone. Not everyone approaches their significant other and says, “Will you marry me but let’s not kiss.” Haha! There is so much to that. I recognize that it’s a special thing between me and Emma. It’s part of our testimony now that the first time I ever kissed my wife was on the altar at our wedding when we were officially married. Not everyone can say that, and I don’t know that that’s a bad thing.


ME: Like my Anatomy Rule, your no kissing boundary goes beyond what the Bible calls for.

JACKSON: Mine was very, very much for me. These boundaries are different for everyone and they need to find out where the slippery slope is. They need to set up their own protections to keep them from going down that slippery slope. And for me, the best protection I had was to say I’m not going to kiss until my wedding day.

[See my post on the dangerous reality of The Slippery Slope.]


Dating- without kissing?

Frustrated with dating, depression, and escape through pornography, Jackson handed dating over to God.

JACKSON: I eventually said, “Just show me the right person; I’m tired of looking and struggling with this. I’m just not going to kiss until my wedding day.” And then, lo and behold, a couple months later, God introduces me to Emma and it’s like, “Ugh! Why? Why did I make that commitment?!”


ME: What was dating like after you made the vow not to kiss until your wedding day?

JACKSON: I’ll be honest, Emma wasn’t necessarily on board with the no kissing thing. A number of people weren’t. In fact, in the [church] college group I heard someone had said they were just going to run over and kiss me just to show me that it wasn’t a big deal. But when they actually asked me about it and I told them why, they started to understand where I was coming from. I didn’t want to compromise my promise to God and my testimony.

ME: [laughing] Yes, I know she did NOT care for the no kissing thing. She did respect you though, especially because she also is a Christian.

Even so, Jackson really struggled not to kiss Emma as they were falling in love.

ME: How did your vow affect your path to marriage with Emma?

JACKSON: We had to express our love in different ways. We held hands a lot. Kissing is one way to show passion, and you can’t really show it many other ways. You can only get so far with an intimate hug, you know? [He laughs.] It’s still a hug. It opened us up to be more in depth in our conversation. There wasn’t any kissing, so you could almost send mixed signals.


Once, they had a disagreement while driving. They were frustrated with each other, and Emma said, “I’m afraid you’re going to hit me.”

JACKSON: I broke down. I said, “I can’t believe that you would think that I would ever want to hit you. I can’t put into words how much I truly love you and care for you.” It was a very intense, emotional moment in the car where both of us were crying because we couldn’t express passion through kissing. I told her, “I want to kiss you so badly, but I want to hold up to what I promised God.” That was a struggle for me, and she helped me, and we saw it through.

Screw It

Fed up, Jackson decided to seize a romantic moment and break the pact.

JACKSON: I said, “You know what, screw it.” We were coming back from West Virginia. The sun was beginning to set…We were in the North Carolina mountains. I said to myself, “I’m going to drive up to the top of Pilot Mountain and I’m going to kiss her at sunset. We drive up the mountain. We get out. We get to the top. I turn to Emma and I say, “What’s wrong?” She says, “I am so carsick.” She was ready to hurl! It was God’s saving grace, so to speak, for protecting that. I was like, “Well this is a sign from God. I’m gonna wait.”


But you know, it all played out. And eventually, even for her, it came down to something to look forward to on our wedding day. The first kiss that we had was at the altar.

Finally

ME: I was there for that moment. As the pastor said, “You may kiss the bride,” I was giddy for you two and literally on the edge of my seat. What was that like for you?

JACKSON: It was different, because there were a lot of people there! Shortly after, and not many people know about this, we were taking pictures. We got into the elevator, and the first thing Emma did was turn around and kiss me. She was so excited and waiting for it. It was like, okay this is great. And it was completely new. It was something to explore.


Advice for You

ME: What advice do you have for Christian singles? Is there anything you want them to know?

JACKSON: For single individuals, the important thing at least in my mind is there is so much value in waiting to share that moment with The One. And I know that sounds corny and cheesy, you know, but what I’ve learned in all of this is that marriage is a lot more than sex.

And it should be. It’s a part of it, but marriage is so much more than being able to kiss. That’s something that we take for granted. We take for granted that we have functionality throughout our whole bodies, but that may not always be the case. I mean, what happens if you become paralyzed in your face? Does your relationship die? Does it end? It shouldn’t. But in many cases it does, but it’s because their marriage is built on something that just can’t stand the test of time.


ME: What is the foundation to a good marriage?

JACKSON: [He shared a ton of great stuff, so I made bullet points]

  • A lot of reliance on God. Aside from God, open communication with complete forgiveness. Christ has to be the center because you have to be able to forgive so many different things. You have to seek forgiveness for yourself for so many things and seek repentance and build off of it.

  • My wife is a daughter of Christ. She deserves all of the love, all of the respect. And if I can’t show her what a sacrificial life is and serve her like I serve the Lord, then I’m living a farce. That’s probably the only way I can put it.

  • We learned early on that our marriage is not built off of pleasing ourselves. We had to be supportive of each other. We haven’t always understood each other’s struggles, but we still support each other.

  • Don’t ever stop being fascinated with how your spouse or potential spouse is designed. That was one of the things I struggled with early on. I don’t want to force her to change, but I can help her to change and get there. Just recognizing how that person is designed and growing together is one of the most important things you can do early on.


YOU CAN DO THIS. Jackson’s strategy for abstinence may not work for you. The Anatomy Rule might not either. But you do need to figure out your own strategy… like yesterday. Decide what boundaries you need to put in place to make sure you are successful.


I’d love to see more churches become comfortable discussing these things. Acknowledging social pressure, real temptation, and different sexual pitfalls is so important. Teaching people how to work through them is even more so. I am so grateful to Jackson for being open about difficult and vulnerable taboo topics in the hope that his story will support you in a way he never was.


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