Research has proven that when a commitment to wait is attached to something beyond ourselves, we are more likely to find success in waiting. We are also more likely to recover well if things don't go as planned.
Many of us have seen the videos of parents putting candy or a cookie in front of their young child. Prior to leaving the child alone with the treat, the parent explains to the child that they can eat the treat once they've returned. "I'll only be gone for a few minutes," a parent may say over their shoulder as they leave the room. As the child sits anxiously anticipating the parent's return, some children stare at the treat while others cover their eyes so they do not have to look at it. When the parent does come back after a few minutes, the child typically grins, swinging their legs in excitement and anticipation!
Many children choose to wait to eat the treat and enjoy it once their parent has returned. For many of the children who waited to eat the treat, the close relationship between parent and child is evident. The child trusted that the parent would return. The child also trusted that they would get to enjoy the candy or cookie as the parent promised.
Much like the child's commitment to wait for their parent is based on something outside themselves, trust and an existing relationship, so is a commitment to wait to enjoy sexual intimacy until marriage. The choice to wait to have sex until marriage is beyond one's own self. For a believer, a decision to wait is based on one's trust in Christ and an appreciation of the marriage covenant.
Does the cookie example perfectly illustrate this point? No. Waiting does not guarantee a future marriage relationship. God calls some to singleness and others are harmed without consent. We are also human and we make mistakes. In these instances, God's love abounds (1 John 1:9). He longs to give rest to the weary (Matthew 11:8) and abundant life to those who put their hope in Him (John 10:10).
When a commitment to wait is attached to something beyond ourselves, like a desire to follow Christ, we are more likely to find success in waiting since the ultimate satisfaction is the joy found in Christ. He is glorified through difficult seasons because they require full reliance on His goodness and grace.