In our pelvic-centric age, some would find this unthinkable.
Read on, from The Catholic Sentinel in Portland:
Steve and Shaina Purves don’t consider themselves heroic. They say they simply lived out what the church teaches — and it was fantastic.
For 19 months after Shaina entered the Catholic Church, the civilly-wed couple refrained from sexual contact while church authorities looked over their past marriages to see if they could be declared null. According to church law, a declaration of nullity, or annulment, of those past attempted marriages would be necessary before Steve and Shaina could be considered married. Not wanting to risk serious sin, and wanting to receive the Eucharist, the couple lived a life of abstinence while awaiting word.“God is more important than sex for us,” Shaina says.
It took longer than they hoped, but the period proved a boon to their relationship.
“It helped us realize what is truly important,” Shaina says.
“My mind went crazy sometimes,” admits Steve, who was in “total agreement” with the abstinence plan. “But you’d be amazed the strength God gives you. It was not that bad, and in a way we got to start all over again as a couple. When we came out the other end, we saw that this idea that sex is so important to relationships is a lie.”
The couple continued to hug and kiss, but not in a lingering way.
“We had to find other ways to show affection for each other,” Shaina says. “We would pass in the house and say to each other, ‘Hey, brother!’ and ‘Hello, sister!’”
German Cardinal Walter Kasper this year wrote a proposal suggesting that it may be too much to ask average couples to “live as brother and sister” while a nullity investigation is ongoing. The cardinal said those who do so are performing “a heroic act.”
Being tortured and killed for the faith — that’s heroic, Shaina says.
“What we did seems minuscule in the grand scheme.”