"Practice makes perfect," or does it?
For most of life's circumstances, more experience means more knowledge, better skills and improved ideas or solutions. While this is true when it comes to jobs, sports, playing musical instruments, reading, math and even parenting, more experience or practice with multiple partners is actually not a good idea.
Of course dating a lot of different people is good. You need to date around to find someone who is truly compatible with you, has a similar belief system as you and has the same goals in life as you. For sure hold hands, hug and kiss but ... skip the sexually intimate part of the relationship until after you're married.
The Institute for Family Studies (IFS) stated, "We found that having more sexual and cohabiting partners before marriage is associated with lower relationship quality once married."
IFS went on to say, "In particular, having only ever lived with or had sex with one's spouse was associated with higher marital quality."
The not-for-profit institute then explained how their findings are consistent with other studies that show how cohabiting and having sexual relationships with more partners before marriage is associated with a greater likelihood of divorce.
Some people argue you need to make sure you're sexually compatible with your partner before you decide to get married because what if after you say "I do," you find you don't enjoy sex with your spouse?
However, if you follow this line of thinking, you may miss out marrying an incredible person because of the perceived "lack of chemistry." Sex is a "chemistry" that commonly needs to be worked at between two people. This is normal and not necessarily a red flag. Just because intimacy needs to be worked at, doesn't mean your partner isn't right for you or you won't have a fulfilling sex life in the future with him or her.
Additionally, by having multiple sexual partners, you will be tempted to compare each experience to all others you've had. Once you're married, it is severely damaging to your relationship if, while having sex with your spouse, you (or both of you) are thinking about how much better sex was with so-and-so. As this type of thinking festers, you may ultimately end your marriage and/or seek that "greater" fulfillment elsewhere outside of your marriage.
When a couple has sex, each person is giving a part of themselves to the other. It creates a strong bond between husband and wife.
Science even says so.
Speaking of the role oxytocin plays in social bonding, professor of psychiatry at Emory University Larry Young stated, "When you're first becoming intimate, you're releasing lots of dopamine and oxytocin. That's creating that link between the neural systems [of both partners] that are processing your facial cues, your voice and the reward system."
Creating that type of bond with others besides your spouse can complicate your marriage, even causing it to end prematurely.
Additionally, not having enough intimate connection (cuddling, hand-holding, kissing, looking into each other's eyes, sex, etc.) with your spouse can hurt your relationship. So, in this instance, within the bonds of a monogamous marriage, practice does make perfect.
One of the advantages of having no other sexual partners other than your spouse is the two of you get to explore all facets of sex and intimacy together.
You find what works and what doesn't. Your relationship evolves and improves without comparison to previous sexual encounters.
Your marriage is stronger with both of you knowing you've only shared this part of yourselves with each other and no one else.
If you haven't been waiting celibate for "the one," it's not too late. You can change your life starting now.
IFS said, "If you are single and aspire to find long-lasting love in marriage, don't give up, even if you spent some serious time in Vegas. Just stop gambling, now. If you want to change the trajectory of your life, do two things: First, slow down your relationships. There is a lot of evidence that this can help improve one's odds of lasting love. Second, start making decisions; don't let things slide when the choice before you could impact your future options for happiness in marriage."
Even though the odds are better for couples who have not had multiple sexual partners, this doesn't necessarily mean your marriage is doomed. Work together to strengthen your relationship and leave past relationships in the past. Strengthen your marriage through intimacy, communication and working toward the same goal.