If a dating relationship was a full-time job, it would still be complicated. But it’s not; it’s on top of school, work, other commitments and family responsibilities.
You are probably seriously attracted to your girlfriend, and it’s probably quite difficult to abstain from being intimate - but be careful! The world is throwing a lot at you. The media has helped dramatize this, showing intimate relationships on TV and in movies. It certainly doesn’t encourage abstinence by portraying sexual relationships regardless of a commitment to marriage.
The truth is that many couples choose to abstain from sex in their relationships. They find freedom in their decision to wait until marriage to engage in sex. Abstinence is a great example of practicing self-control, which comes in handy in an already complicated relationship. By practicing self-control in this way, you’re preparing yourself for the rest of your life - potentially with your wife, and years of self-control will come in handy. Think about all the ways in which self-control can better parts of your relationship: using self-control in arguments, finances, shopping habits, attractions to other people, the list goes on.
Sexual abstinence in a dating relationship helps you and your significant other spend more time together doing other things like talking and learning more about each other. Many couples find that after engaging in sex before marriage, they began to drift apart. They spend so much time being physically active that they’ve forgotten about each other. They’ve stopped learning about each other’s lives and instead are just focusing on a physical relationship. Spend time talking and learning together about yourselves and your relationship.
Respect your girlfriend enough to want her to have a pure relationship with you not based on sex and respect your future wife by abstaining from sex until your marriage to her. My hope is that you will find true freedom in a relationship free of sex—so that you can truly give yourself to your future wife on your wedding day and experience a beautiful self-giving relationship together.
P.S. I asked a friend of mine what freedom meant in his relationship and this was his answer;
“… My girlfriend and I spend more time with our families and less just me and her. We have found that when we are alone together, we are more tempted to be intimate. I think it’s important to spend some time alone, so we go to dinner, or for a walk, or to watch a game together. We go to public places where we aren’t tempted to kiss or touch each other. We spend a lot of time talking together that way. It’s fun getting to know her family, they are so different than my own—and she likes spending time with mine too. I’m glad that she is getting to know my family—she’s helping me get to know them better and hopefully, some day—they’ll be her family too.” -Colin