35 responses

  1. Ngina Otiende
    May 7, 2014

    Darby, thank you for being so open and vulnerable in this post. I completely agree concerning accountability and mentoring. My husband and I had very strong mentors, right from non-courtship (singlehood) days, through courtship, engagement and marriage. Two couples who were not afraid to step all over our toes, get on our faces, encourage and impart, exercise very tough love. And teach us what real love and commitment was all about. It wasn’t always fun but it was such an anchor, God’s way of taking care of us. It’s so great to know that you are not alone, that protection brings peace.

    I mentor courting couples, write a lot on purity, boundaries in courtship and like you’ve said, not everyone wants to hear about it or accept accountability or mentoring. I feel so strongly about it because I know what it did for us, why it’s important and I wish every couple was willing to be that accountable. Of course there’s a deep need for good mentors as well, but I believe that God supplies needs; if a courting couple sincerely asks God for a mentor, and begins to look for one, God will provide for them.

    Thankful for your sharing today. I know it will help many! I’ll be sharing it.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…Beyond the Wedding Night – 7 Tips for a Healthy Sex Life in MarriageMy Profile

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Thank you, Ngina! I felt God’s prompting to write this post about six months ago, and let me tell you I didn’t want to write it. :) So, my prayer is that is will benefit people in their different seasons of life: encouraging those single to remain pure and encouraging those in the season ahead of them to ask the hard questions).

      As I have reflected back, I do think one person asked us how we were doing, but that was long before purity struggles so the answer was honest and caused no need for alarm. After that, as much as I wish someone would have asked, I also had a responsibility to speak up. I didn’t have a regular mentor, but did have older, women friends that I could have approached. Sadly, as usual, my pride got in the way.

      I am so thankful that you write so boldly on boundaries and purity. Keep it up! And thank you, again, for commenting. I appreciate your encouragement.
      Darby Dugger recently posted…Ban BossyMy Profile

  2. Greg
    May 7, 2014

    Darby, thanks so much for sharing this! This definitely gets added to waitingforintimacy.com. Many thanks for speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) on this challenging subject for so many of us.

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Thank you, Greg! My prayer is that God will use these words and that they will reach those who need to read them. With that said, I appreciate your sharing of this post and your encouragement.
      Darby Dugger recently posted…Ban BossyMy Profile

  3. Cassie
    May 7, 2014

    Thank you Darby for your post today! I know the struggles that I had on this same subject. And now with our first baby on the way I sometimes think about how to teach her and mold her into making the right choices. This is one of those that I think about. Thank you for talking openly and bringing reality into focus!
    Cassie recently posted…Giving Thanks through It AllMy Profile

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Thank you, Cassie! Yes, I too am looking for ways to encourage and equip my children to make better choices than I did! I will be praying for your wisdom in the matter when I pray for myself in that area. Thank you for your kind and encouraging comment!
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  4. Roger C
    May 7, 2014

    I appreciate your sharing your experience. I also want to ask you, however, about a different perspective. Are we making chastity too hard? I ask that from this perspective. What did it mean in the 1st century to be chaste? It probably meant that a girl/boy who reached puberty around 14 (later back then because they had less nutrition) would have to be chaste until about 16 or 17. The period of chastity was about 2-3 years, maybe even less for girls.

    I agree with all of your points about promoting chastity as parents but my experience was similar to yours and I don’t really know if any amount of encouragement would have been enough to remain chaste for 4 years in college. I met my future wife when she was a freshman in college (I was 3 years older) and we married the summer after she graduated. I knew that I was going to propose to her about 9 months after we met. In our case, I think that to remain chaste we needed to marry earlier.

    That may sound like a cop out to many Christians but I do think that emotion and physical desire will often take over given enough time. Is asking chastity over more than a couple of years for people in their late teens and early twenties too high a bar? We can help young adults to meet that high bar but we can also work on lowering it. I really think that part of the solution is being more open to our children marrying younger.

    I think it’s also important to stress chastity over virginity (I am sure you agree). A couple should still be motivated to refrain from sex even when “they have done it before”. “Purity” in some people’s minds can be associated with virginity in which case a single act makes someone permanently impure.

    • Sheila
      May 7, 2014

      Excellent thoughts, Roger. Thank you. I’ve often wondered about the marrying young thing, too. I believe we should be raising our kids to be mature enough to marry younger, but it’s also hard when they’re not financially independent yet, because I think marrying when parents are still paying the bills also sets up a negative dynamic. I guess the long and the short of it is that we should be raising kids from 14 on to make their own money and be as independent as possible so that more is possible when they’re younger.

    • Greg
      May 7, 2014

      Jennifer Vaughn adds poignant thoughts on this as well:

      http://delesmuses.blogspot.com/2011/10/thoughts-on-1-corinthians.html

    • Mark
      May 7, 2014

      The key to saying pure before marriage is to be realistic about the strong desire for sex which God created in us. Dating to find someone should definitely not be hurried, but once a couple has committed to getting married the wedding engagement period should be relatively short.

      My wife and I got married and continued to finish college together as a married couple. Mainly because of our supportive parents and church pastor who did not agree with the societies trending ideology where young men and women are pushed to get their college degree and career going before they marry. There was no way my wife and I would have gotten all the way through all those college years with staying pure, geez wiz we did not even make it all the way through our year and a half engagement without messing up.

      She was 18 and I was 22 when we got married and now we are approaching our 19th wedding anniversary with a blessed marriage. Plus even with being married at a young age our careers turn turned out better than we ever planned for ourselves. I am currently a Software Engineer, and she is a Preschool Director.

      Also to help our boys we are teaching them the same priorities that we put God and family first and that education and careers are to be supported of having a family not a priority that overrides them. And as the opportunities present themselves discussing God’s version of the birds and bees with them so when they are at the point of strong desire they are equipped to try their best at waiting until they are married.

    • Alchemist
      May 8, 2014

      I think you are falling in the expecting kids to fail trap. God knew all times when the Bible was written. He is unchanging and so is his word.

      I agree with Sheila about marrying young. But there is absolutely no reason that you can’t have your college kids just get married. Why should you wait for some arbitrary milestone (graduation)? You’re supporting them anyway. Why not continue your support and help them honour God in the process. It needn’t be weird. Presumably you give your kid a set stipend for rent and food and stuff. Just keep doing it.

      I’m 27. By boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years and we’re doing pretty well. We don’t really do anything but quick peck kisses and hugs. It’s not easy. But we do have very clear boundaries and accountability. I live with my sister and he lives with a friend. So there’s no hanging out alone in an apartment for hours. We actually spend very little time alone together in a private place. Most of our time is at work or with friends and family. Our alone time is outside, on bikes, walking, going on coffee date, rock climbing ect. Pretty hard to get physical when your in a public place all the time. We also have strict time boundaries. Mostly since both of us work 12 hours a day 6 days a week. But still.
      Our lives are deliberately organized that it would be pretty difficult for us to sneak off and have sex even if we wanted to.

      So, yes it’s hard. But for the love of God; Talk to your kids. All the time. Sex/ purity/ abstinence/ guarding your heart talks shouldn’t be once off when the kid turns 11. It should be an ongoing conversation from 4 years to adulthood. It should be as natural as any other topic in your house. Don’t send your kid to school without knowing where babies come from. Give your teen good books to read about dating/ courtship/ purity ect. Tell your kids they will really, really, really want to have sex. This is normal and good. But they can’t rely on willpower or holy spirit power or whatever. They need to draw boundaries before they even begin dating and be willing to defend them.

  5. Sarah @ Little Bus on the Prairie
    May 7, 2014

    I love this post! My husband and I also had sex before we were married, which resulted in me getting pregnant my very first time out the gate. It was a deeply shameful time for me at the time, especially having been involved in a leadership position in my church.

    Fortunately for me, in some ways, I was unable to hide my sin and do had to face it head on. It took years for me to really get over the lie that God couldn’t use me because of my sin and what really helped was volunteering for a crisis pregnancy clinic in my area promoting alternatives to abortion (because that thought definitely entered my mind the day I found out).

    Today we have been married over six years and are expecting our fourth child. God has definitely used my experience to be able to speak with other girls in similar situations and had continued to bless our family, despite the many mistakes we have made on our journey
    Sarah @ Little Bus on the Prairie recently posted…3 Things We DON’T Miss About Living in a HouseMy Profile

    • Sheila
      May 7, 2014

      I love how God ultimately uses everything–even our mistakes–for good!

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Oh, Sarah! Thanks for sharing!!! Yes, Satan fed me that same lie that God could never use me which is why I buried the secret so deep! What a beautiful story God is writing in your life… and yes, using even our mistakes to bring Himself glory. Thank you, again!
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  6. Amanda
    May 7, 2014

    Thank you for this post! This was an encouragement to me to encourage someone I know to stay pure. They’re getting married soon & they came to mind.

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Thanks for commenting, Amanda! I thank God that it was helpful to you! I will be praying for you as you talk with your engaged friends!
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  7. Leigh Sullivan
    May 7, 2014

    STOP STOP STOP saying “sexually pure until marriage”. We are not automatically sexually impure once we marry. Talk, especially to our young people, about staying sexually pure. Period. While single, once married, if widowed – whatever stage and situation of life one is in.

    Marriage is not a free license to go sexually wild – well, it sort of is, I suppose, but it’s a limited license, limited to the one you marry. Could we prevent divorces if we spoke more of lifetime sexual purity?

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Hey Leigh! I don’t think saying, “Staying pure until marriage” is implying that we are impure once we marry. Not at all. And, my second point in the post above discusses the challenges of staying sexually pure within the context of marriage because, of course, that is of the same vital importance. I think we agree, but just use different words to express our point. Thanks for commenting.
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  8. Jamie
    May 7, 2014

    Such a brave post! Sex is an issue that should be talked about more in the church today. Not just about what should NOT be done, but also what SHOULD be done. I love the fact that you brought up staying honest and accountable with others that we feel safe sharing our personal lives with. That would help so many couples who are also trying to stay pure. My husband and I didn’t have sex, but we definitely crossed the line several times and felt awful every time it happened. It would have helped to have someone there to talk to about it.
    Jamie recently posted…To Those Who Have Ever Been Hurt by the ChurchMy Profile

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Thanks, Jamie! I appreciate your grace and kind comment. I totally agree that sex should be talked about more (which is why I LOVE Sheila’s blog)! Yes, vulnerability is vital to marriage’s health – not only between man and wife, but with other believers who will help hold the couple accountable. Thanks, again!
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  9. Denise Porter
    May 7, 2014

    Interesting read. I waited till 30 then fell off the wagon…

    I think it would help if there was strong teaching on this topic. Also parents that weren’t scared to talk about it. My Mum’s sex talk consisted of handing me an encyclopedia with a bookmark in it at the Sex article. So it wasn’t something talked about.
    I have always thought it would have been easier if someone was there to say what is right and what is wrong and if kids weren’t wondering how far they could go before crossing the line. Legalistic — this is okay but this in not — kind of thinking. You think you can “handle it” but end up playing with fire. I ended up marrying the fellow I lost my virginity to and am sure that if we hadn’t been physically involved we would not have wed. 13.5 years, two children and a divorce later, I have regrets ….

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Hi Denise! Oh, I agree about there needing to be strong teaching on this topic. Not only what we should avoid, but the WHY behind it. Granted, that is hard to explain without experience marital intimacy, but to teach about the blessings that come with waiting. And, yes, involved parents is a must. I am sorry for your personal regrets, but just remember there is no pain the Lord can’t redeem! Thanks for commenting.
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  10. Patricia
    May 7, 2014

    Thank you Darby for sharing your heart and being so open with us on this sensitive topic! I am just so encouraged by you and by Sheila’s continued transparency on this topic!

    My husband and I met in church after our college years, and had both engaged in premarital sex before meeting each other. Once we knew we were on track for marriage we began planning a quick wedding (6 month turn-around from the time we were engaged), but that still wasn’t fast enough (the battle with the flesh is so real!!). After much prayer and overcoming issues I had stemming from pride, we decided to get married before our wedding date. It wasn’t easy and our decision was not well received by many of our loved ones, but we set out to honor God! Though we knew it wouldn’t erase the mistakes of our past, we refused to be bound by our transgressions. We did seek counsel and I’m so glad that we humbled ourselves enough to recognize the weakness of our flesh, and begin our union in the way the Lord intended.

    I encourage anyone reading this who may be caught up in lustful temptation to repent, seek WISE counsel, and remember that there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ! It’s not too late to make the choice to honor Him!!

    Blessings to you all, and btw, the hubby and I celebrate 4 years tomorrow! :)

    I share more of our story here: http://lifeofaministermom.com/2013/05/08/first-came-marriage-happy-3rd-anniversary-babe/

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Yes, what a beautiful story and timely reminder that there is no condemnation in Christ! Congrats on your anniversary tomorrow and thank you for your encouragement!!!
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  11. Shola
    May 7, 2014

    Thıs ıs a very touchıng and realıstıc story. Our mıstakes are there to help others. Am really askıng God for the grace to be sexually pure wıth my fıancee, we try not to see to avoıd such. We are battlıng wıth romance. We have been prayıng but sometımes ıt feel beıng apart ıs the only way out. We should be gettıng marrıed next year. I dont want the romance to contınue. It makes me feel far away from God. We are both tryıng and prayıng. Any advıce?

    • Darby Dugger
      May 7, 2014

      Thanks for being vulnerable, Shola. Yes, I would encourage you to continue to pray and strive together for abstinence until your wedding night! Talk to someone at your church or a close friend who can help you in this journey. Don’t attempt it on your own! You won’t regret choosing to abstain, I promise! I will be praying for you.
      Darby Dugger recently posted…My Greatest RegretMy Profile

  12. Teresa
    May 10, 2014

    It sounds like everything worked out fine for you. Your life sounds fine. There were no negative consequences to your lack of purity.

    I notice when people grow older, they want to control the actions of others. Unfortunately, trying control someone’s sexuality is like trying to stop the tide. That is why the rate of teen pregnancy for evangelical Christians is far higher than for other groups. When people try to control teens’ behavior (even via guilt or religious admonitions) it makes the teens act out. Trying to build a wall around your teen will likely have the opposite effect of what you wish.

    You had your fun. You made your mistakes. Do not try to stop your teens from making their own choices, or you may be unhappily surprised at the result.

    An Older Mom

    • Sheila
      May 10, 2014

      I just want to point out that that stat is incorrect. It’s wrong for two reasons: it bases the definition of evangelical on people’s self-report, rather than on actual markers of being an evangelical (so if you call yourself a Baptist, you’re an evangelical, even if you only go to church on Easter); and it doesn’t take into account the fact that those who do self-report as religious are far more likely to carry a pregnancy to term than those who don’t. They simply have far fewer abortions.

      I also think you’re coming at this from the position that “what’s good for you is good for you.” That’s not something that I agree with. The only standard we have that’s real is God’s code, and He’s very clear about sex. So this isn’t about being mean to the younger generation; this is about teaching them truth and helping them avoid some mistakes they’ll regret later!

    • Darby Dugger
      May 10, 2014

      There were actually lots of consequences… I discuss some of those in the article above. And I hope I didn’t portray my premarital sex as fun, but rather, confessing how I strayed from God’s perfect will for my life. Yes, He has offered me grace, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big deal that I sinned. I love my children too much to “assume” they will make the right choices. I am not going to allow them to spend the night at their boyfriend’s house and “hope” they don’t cross the line physically. I can’t say for sure how I will handle their teenage years, but I’m learning as much as I can from older women (Sheila is certainly one of those) in how to talk to my children about sex, and other temptations, and I want them to know I am there to help them in this journey. I want them to stay pure until they are married because God is clear about His design for sex and I know the consequences that comes from disobeying. I want better for my children so I must partner with them!
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