When I was in high school it seemed that everywhere I turned someone was addressing the issue of purity. We went to conferences where people talked to us about being pure, we read books, we talked about it with our friends. Every time we turned around someone was telling us the importance of purity. But then we graduated high school and nearly all conversations stopped. After college the conversations diminished even more. By the time I was 27 and still single, NO ONE was talking about purity.
Is purity not important after high school? Is it irrelevant in college? What about years after college?
I believe that people stop talking about purity after high school and college because “they” think we are all married by that time. However, according to the 2008 US Census the new median age for first time marriages is 28 for men and 26 for women. This means half of us are over the age of 26 before we get married. We are no longer moving out of the dorms and into a home with our spouse. We are having to figure out how to be independent women who live on our own for years. We also have to decide if what we were taught in high school about sexual purity still holds true when you are 30 and single.
When I was engaged many people were shocked to find out that Carl and I weren't living together. They were even more shocked when they found out that we had made a decision to wait to have sex until we were married. And they truly fell on their face when they found out I was still a virgin at 30. When I went to the doctor to get on birth control before the wedding I mentioned that I was still a virgin and the nurse sympathetically said, “It's ok. It'll happen sometime.” As if I was somehow unfortunate to still have my virginity.
But the truth is, being a virgin on my wedding night wasn't an accident, it didn't happen because I never had the opportunity. It happened very much on purpose. So why did I wait? Was it easy? Was it worth it?
Why did I wait? Honestly, because I am actually scared of the wrath of God. God is clear in His Word that all sex outside of marriage is wrong. But it was more than just about being scared. I was fortunate enough that someone told me along my journey that sex was actually a great thing and that saving it for marriage would be worth it. And I believed it. I knew it wouldn't be easy and there were times I considered giving in to temptation. There were times when I thought “no one will find out if it just happens once.” But, I knew that I wasn't abstaining so that no one would find out. I was abstaining because that was what God told me to do, and I wanted to honor Him and my future husband. In my mind I thought, if I can't live within the sexual boundaries God sets before I get married, why would I think I could do it after I get married? I find it hard to believe that if someone convinces herself that “it's just sex” and it's okay before marriage, that she won't believe the same thing once she is married, leaving her very susceptible to an affair. So why did I wait? Because I wanted to honor God in EVERY area of my life…not just the easy ones.
Was it easy? HECK NO! It was definitely not easy. I will admit in high school I wasn't really tempted that much in regards to my sexual purity. I dated guys and even fell in love with my high school sweetheart. But we both wanted to honor God and each other so we set boundaries and stuck by them. It wasn't until I was about 25 that sex really became a temptation. I tell you this because during the first 25 years it wasn't difficult for me to say “no,” so I was very judgemental of others who struggled with it. When the struggle for purity finally became real to me, I grew in my respect for others who were choosing purity. I realized that is was more that just a decision to stay pure. I realized it was more that just wearing a purity ring. It was about staying focused on the WHY! Reminding myself day in and day out exactly why I had chosen this road.
And when Carl and I got engaged, the struggle grew even more. Now I knew my husband. I knew we were going to get married and it took everything in my 30-year-old being to resist his cute face for those LONG 35 days of engagement.
Was it worth it? Waiting for our wedding night was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Knowing that we made the decision to honor God in our marriage and in our sexuality made our wedding night something indescribable. It wasn't so much getting what I wanted after resisting for so long. But rather, it was about knowing that we did it the right way. That we started our marriage out the way God intended. We didn't have anything to be ashamed of that night. Or the next night, or the next night. For those you who are unmarried, whether you are 14 or 40, I promise you that honoring God is something you will NEVER regret.
Keep in mind that chosing purity isn't so much about saving yourself for your husband, but rather it is about choosing to be obedient to what God asks of you.
Some of you may say, “That's great Faith, but I've already cashed in my V-card, so is my marriage doomed?” Absolutely not! I am Carl's second wife. So clearly he wasn't a virgin when we got married. But to me our sexual relationship is so special because we chose to honor God in our relationship. Because we chose to honor God, I believe God chose to honor us.
Forgiveness is readily available. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS!” (emphasis added)
The blood Jesus shed on the cross is more than capable of forgiving your past and providing a new future. It all starts with a choice. Will you choose to honor God in this choice? It won't be an easy road, but oh, is it ever worth it!
I know each of us has our own story, so I'd love to hear yours. If you are married, I would encourage you to comment today and give a little encouragement in regards to purity to the single readers today.
If you are single, I'd love to hear your stance on purity, even if you completely disagree. And I'd love to hear how you arrived at that stance.
Photo By: Exsodus / FreeDigitalPhotos.net