40 days, there’s something significant about the 40 days before a change. The number 40 is used throughout the Bible to indicate a period of probation or trial. The Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deut. 8:2-5). Moses was on the mount for 40 days (Exodus 24:18); 40 days of Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3:4). Jesus was tempted for 40 days (Matt. 4:2).
Nowadays, we remember Christ’s resurrection with Lent – a 40 day period of fasting and preparation before Easter. In following with the tradition to fast during Lent so that we can further focus on our Lord, Ngoc and I have chosen to fast from making out. While there is nothing wrong with making out, we’ve chosen this because we believe that it honors God and each other and is in alignment with the parameters which God had directed (see 1 Corinthians 7:5).
Additionally, while talking to a friend, mentor, and pastor, Pete Bullette, he provided a perspective that flies in the face of the sexual/intimate temptations couples face even more so as they get closer to their marriage. He gave the simple analogy of a bank account. Each time that we want to be physically/sexually intimate before marriage we have a choice – are we going to make a deposit into our marriage “bank account” by abstaining or are we going to draw against whatever is in the “bank account” and go into debt before we’re married? Personally, I think this analogy is very powerful for me because I can grasp the perils of debt and the freedom of compound interest.
So, as Ngoc and I enter the final 40 days before our wedding day, we are excited to continue to make deposits into our marriage “bank account” that we’re hoping lead to many healthy, fun, fulfilling, and God-honoring both sexual and non-sexual experiences through our marriage. Through this final period of 40-days, I will specifically practice various ways to love well – to love Ngoc well.
It’s not easy to love well (at least for me). How do I put aside my own interests for her? How do I regard her perspective above my own (see Philippians 2:3-4)? How do I forgive her again (see Matthew 18:21-35)? How do I have compassion and care for her even when I’m tired, frustrated, or have my own needs (see Matthew 14:13-14)? How do I lead her into who Christ calls her to be – since God will ultimately hold me accountable for her (see Ephesians 5:23-24)?
What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage)