What's Wrong With Pre-Marital Intimacy?

According to Mariah Wojdacz of LegalZoom.com, a leading online legal service center: "The highest risk factor for divorce may be surprising, they are couples who move in together prior to marriage. How much higher is that risk? Some studies suggest couples who co-habitat before marriage, divorce at a rate as high as 85 percent."


My boyfriend and I are becoming more observant since being together. It is lovely that I am getting so such insight into our religion, and we are slowly starting to observe the Shabbat and more mitzvot. Anyway here is what's bothering me: my boyfriend is now saying that to make our relationship last/work we need to abstain from being intimate with each other until we're married. Part of me understands his position, but I feel that intimacy is an important part of a relationship, and would create a very strong bond between us. I know that I love him and wish to marry him one day, so this is not your average passing relationship. So what's wrong with pre-marital intimacy?


Imagine your favorite coffee mug broke in half, and you want to glue it together. You go to Home Depot and buy the most highly recommended, strongest glue. Then you read the instructions. You clean the surfaces as directed, very carefully make sure that the two halves are perfectly even and matched. Then you apply the glue.

But what would happen if you applied the glue right away? Before reading the instructions, before prepping the surfaces properly, before aligning them perfectly?

Intimacy is the strongest bond that exists between two human beings.

Because the power and the bond created by intimacy is so great, it is vitally important that this "glue" is not applied within a relationship until we have assured that everything else fits perfectly. Is there an intellectual bonding/commitment (respect and liking – a vital and highly underrated component in any marital relationship)? Is there an emotional bonding/commitment (love)? Is there a legal bonding/commitment (legal marriage, ketubah)? A public bonding/commitment (wedding)? A spiritual bonding/commitment (chuppah and kiddushin – Jewish marriage according to the precepts of Torah)? Only when all these other bonding/commitments are in place is it time to apply the final "glue" – the physical bonding.

Intimacy does not strengthen liking, respect, love, or spiritual connection. It creates a bond. This bond may actually obscure the fact that there is something missing in the liking, respect, love, or spiritual connection. It conceals, rather than reveals. And so, during the period of dating, getting to know the other and determining if indeed this is the person with whom we want to spend a lifetime, the person who we want to come home to even when we are old and gray, the person who we want to be the parent of our children – during this time intimacy is a hindrance, rather than a help, in assisting us to make that all important decision.

Once the decisions have been made, and the commitments have been proclaimed to the entire world, then it is time to apply the final glue.

When you keep your hands off, you learn to commune with your minds and your heart. And intimacy is all the more special, then, once you're married….

The Definition of a Royal Jewish Wedding

The latest celebrity engagement to set tongues wagging is that of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

While the media interest in the Royal Family is no surprise, the fixation on engagements and weddings is an interesting one, considering that, these days, fewer and fewer couples are making the decision to walk down the aisle. In fact, a recent study by the Pew Research Center showed that the percentage of American families passing on marriage is steeply rising, so much so that the institution of marriage may be at risk of becoming obsolete.

So what’s all the hoopla about?

Simply put, no one can resist a storybook ending, especially one with a gin-u-wine Prince. People are looking for the high of glitz and glamour, so they can experience, even for a moment, a real-life fairy tale.

While certainly entertaining, the problem with the media’s obsession with engagements and weddings is that people are actually buying the illusion they’re selling. When a couple becomes engaged, the focus automatically shifts to the wedding details—the venue, the honeymoon, and of course, The Dress. This may explain why so many celebrity engagements end in divorce: everyone is so busy planning a fabulous wedding, they forget about what comes after—Marriage.

According to the Talmud, Adam and Eve were one soul, split into two bodies (hence the term “soul mates”). Their reunion represents the Jewish ideal of marriage: two halves coming together to form a complete, unified whole. In Jewish tradition, the wedding is the holiest day of a bride and groom’s lives, a day when all of their previous sins are forgiven and they begin a new life together with a clean slate.

A Jewish wedding, therefore, requires significant preparation, and we’re not talking deejays and place cards. In order to truly prepare for marriage, both bride and groom are encouraged to spend their time of engagement doing mitzvot, learning Torah and praying to G‑d to make them ready for this lifelong commitment. To ensure optimal time for personal reflection, the bride and groom do not see each other or speak directly to each other for the week before the wedding. Even at the wedding itself, the bride and groom receive their guests separately, in different rooms, and do not see each other until right before the ceremony itself.

In the Jewish world, weddings are most definitely a big deal, and can be as beautiful as any you would see in a magazine. Unlike celebrity nuptials, however, a Jewish wedding is the vehicle for two halves of one soul to reunite, where the foundation for a Jewish home is laid.

So for those blessed brides- and grooms-to-be out there who are striving to recreate the “perfect” celebrity nuptials, just remember that the most beautiful wedding pales to nothing compared to the beautiful marriage that comes after after.