If you’re single and trying to keep the golden door closed, you may often find yourself grappling for insight on how to stay on track with that goal.

My husband and I dated for over two years and were proud to have made it to the altar without dipping in each other’s cookie jars! It wasn’t easy, but we believed that it was certainly possible.

After having grown tired of being told not to fornicate without any concrete strategies on how to do that, many couples have asked us how we managed to avoid romps in the sheets when we were single, dating, and waiting.

These are the things that worked for us, that may be a solid starting point for you, too.

Commit to the goal

I was already celibate when I met my husband and made it clear (with my words and actions) that there’d be no sex in the champagne room very early on! He respected my position and decided for himself that I was worth the wait. As our courtship evolved and things started to get serious, he recognized that celibacy had to become his goal too; not just my own.

Admit that you want to do it, but don’t have to do it

After making your commitment, it’s time to discuss what abstaining will look like for you as a couple. The first step in that process is to admit and accept the fact that there’s going to be sexual energy between you.

Trying to deny it or pretend that you don’t have those feelings is unrealistic. Being honest with yourselves takes the elephant out of the room and allows you to begin a mature discussion about the fact that just because you have those desires, it doesn’t mean you have to give into them. You simply have to learn how to handle dealing with them.

Permit what you’re comfortable with

Establishing boundaries is a crucial part of the process. You and your mate will have to get clear about what you’re okay with and what you’re not. This is not a pass to do “everything-but-the-act-itself,” mind you! It’s simply a way to create specific action items that will help you avoid any potential slip ups!

Look at it like trying to get out of debt. Being debt free is a great goal to have, but if you fail to create an action plan for HOW you will eliminate your debt, then you’ve got nothing but a dream deferred.

 Some of our boundaries included someone calling time out if things started to get too heated, and/or setting a time limit for late night visits at each other’s homes. These seem simple, but they were effective for us. Maybe cutting back on the french kissing (if that’s a trigger for you), is a good place to start.

Submit  your plans to God and others you can trust

Another key factor in our endeavor was accountability. I had a small group of close friends that I was accountable to during this time and it made a huge difference for me. I often updated them on how things were going and it felt good to have their support.

Sometimes I loathed getting those calls and text messages checking on my late night whereabouts, but it was all done in love! It’s always good to have likeminded people around you that you can trust. Choose wisely!

Finally, we knew we couldn’t do it (literally) without God’s help. We prayed for strength and discipline throughout the entire time. This served as a great building block for a healthy marriage. I feel as though God has smiled upon our union in a very special way as a result of our commitment to Him and to ourselves.

Remember that abstinence is very possible if you want it bad enough!  It’ll take maturity and lots of work, but it IS possible.