By Manasseh Azure Awuni
I wasn’t surprised at your reaction to my last letter about the day you lost your virginity. I knew it was a moment you dread remembering but which you cannot forget. My intention, though, was not to hurt you. Never! That’s the last thing I’ll ever do to someone so dear to my heart.
You also said you did not understand what hinted I would be talking about in my next letter. I said I would talk about the need for us to suspend sex until we marry. And I meant every word of it, Serwaa. That’s too serious a subject to be joked about.
Do you remember you’ve asked me on several occasions whether I have a sexual problem? You said my “Kofi Manu” takes unusually too long a time to stand again after each bout. Well, I promised telling you the reason. And that reason is why I think we should suspend sex until marriage.
I believe I’m 100% sexually fit. The reason for my seeming incapability is guilt. And you know the source of the guilt, don’t you? Have you realised that for three years now, we’re not able to look at each other in the face anytime we have an affair? This means all is not well. And have you ever asked yourself why the burden of guilt weighs so heavily on us? We are doing what is against the dictates of our conscience and I think we must quit sex until we marry. For now, it is as if we’re stealing, don’t you think so?
Well, we should have considered this at the beginning of our relationship. But I think it’s not too late. According to our wise elders, anytime of the day a man wakes up is his morning. We can make amends. Serwaa, I want us to be secondary virgins, if only such a thing really exists.
From now onwards, I want us to be able to raise our heads in church when the pastor mentions the word fornication. Do you realise it is always as if he’s talking to us? But the pastor’s piercing sermons are not as grave as what the Bible says about fornication. Permit me to preach today, Serwaa. I told you my greatest desire is to be a minister of my church, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. So you’re an “Osofo Maame” in the making. That’s just by the way.
On a more serious note, we cannot downplay the repercussions of sexual immorality even if it is now considered normal in our society. The Holy Bible, which we often push under the bed before locking horns, admonishes us in 1Corinthians 6:18-21 to “shun sexual immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral [and of course woman] sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not of your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
And have you ever thought about why the Bible describes fornication as the only sin that is against one’s own body? Well, I’m yet to hear about someone who committed murder or robbed and got infected with HIV/AIDS or any physical disease. But the Bible means more than that. And the STIs are not the reason for me wanting us to stop this shameful act, Serwaa. It is because of this warning:
“If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him” [and of course her] (1st Corinthians 3:17). This is dreadful and we don’t know when God’s wrath and destruction will strike.
I don’t know what is going through your mind as you read this, but I think as we prepare to take the irrevocable oath, one thing that must be of paramount importance to us is discipline in our sex lives. Apart from invoking God's wrath, sexual immorality has brought many worldly famous achievers onto their knees.
Sex scandals do not always go with punishments in law courts, but sometimes it is better to be convicted by the law than by public opinion. And that’s what sex scandals do. They incite public opinion against you. They have forced World Bank and IMF bosses to resign dishonourably in recent times.
US President Bill Clinton was nearly impeached because of sex. Remember the Lewinsky scandal? On the local front, Mr Richard Anane comes around as one of the finest politicians but his name now connotes something else. And it is not for nothing that Mr Nii Lamptey Mills, the Director of the Great Lamptey Mills Institute, is no longer on our television screens and smiling everywhere on billboards.
Serwaa, I hope you remember Tiger Woods too. I watched the guilt-conscripted star, who is a role model to millions across the world, confess at a press conference that was telecast around the world. He made a lot of sensible revelations.
“I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to,” he noted. “I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them [women].
“I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.”
Morality is highly subjective and is sometimes not illegal. But Tiger Woods emphasized the importance of morality and decency.
“I once heard, and I believe it's true, it's not what you achieve in life that matters; it's what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count,” he concluded.
His career has suffered a great setback after that scandal, which eventually led to divorce between him and his wife.
I’m not a dooms prophet, Serwaa. But we cannot wish such calamity away if we don’t make conscious effort to tame our libidinal drives. Anytime you hear that sex scandal has rocked a well- respected role model, don't think far. They can happen to anybody, and we’re not super human beings. But we can overcome such calamities when we prepare against them.
We should be able to restrain ourselves before marriage. After marriage, a lot more must be done to avoid marital infidelity, but if we behave like Prophet James in Chukwuemeka Ike’s Sunset at Dawn, we cannot escape it. This is what is said of Prophet James in Chapter 12 of the spellbinding novel:
“Every adult in Obodo knew about the prophet's weakness for women. It was a standing joke that any trap set around a woman's waist would catch him hand, foot and all: he could not survive twenty-four hours without having a woman, and he had scattered his seed like the explosive pods of the oil bean tree.”
Serwaa my love, there are people who believe that marriage brings an end to sexual immorality. But I think otherwise. If you cannot restrain yourself before marriage, taming yourself after marriage will be more difficult than single-handedly carrying a man with a broken waist.
Asking that we stop sex until marriage may be an extreme remedy considering how we started this relationship. But my mind is made up on this subject. There is no relationship weaker than one that is built on the foundation of sin.
And what is the sense in towing a trailer of guilt in our daily lives when in a few years we can have unrestricted access to each other?
Think deeply about the content of this letter, Serwaa. But in all things know that I love you. I will do everything possible to sustain our relationship, marriage, family and any other good thing we can achieve together. I love you and will forever be there for you. I feel proud anytime I think that you’re mine.
Letter to My Future Wife is a weekly column that is published in the Weekend Finder newspaper every Saturday.
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org