Today, on Wifey Wednesday, we welcome guest poster Darby Dugger, who is talking about staying pure before marriage. And remember: every Wednesday, you can link up your own marriage posts in the linky below!
“We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.”
Verse 9 from the Expanded Bible says this,
If she is a wall [chaste],
we will put silver towers on her [support and honor her].
If she is a door [ promiscuous],
we will protect [enclose] her with cedar boards [put a stop to her sexual activity].
~Song of Solomon 8:8-9
I love the sense of community responsibility in this passage. Of course, personal responsibility is a must, but so is accountability… especially in the area of sex. For example, as a parent, I take these words to heart realizing that as my children enter into the dating scene (years from now, they are only babies today), I want to build a wall around them. I cannot leave them to practice self-control and abstinence on their own and, truthfully, it would be unloving for me to do so. Without the help of Bible believing Christians, they will fail.
I know this because I failed to stay pure.
I was always a good girl. In high school and college I made wise choices, I did not party, drink, cuss, or even flirt. My faith was what I was best known for, and it made perfect sense that I met my amazing husband volunteering at our church. We both held leadership positions within the different ministries in which we were involved. What attracted us most to each other was how we served the Lord in our individual lives. When we first began our courtship, in order to avoid sexual temptation, we made the choice not to kiss very often.
However, I did not guard my heart.
As I began, steadily, giving my heart away to my boyfriend… compromise began to set in. It entered subtly with our time boundaries: We began to spend more alone time together and, occasionally, I would even stay the night in his apartment. I rationalized that because we were not engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior it was okay. I enjoyed sleeping on his couch because I loved being around him, but I didn’t pause to think about the appearance of sin (1 Thess. 5:22 – KJV) we were portraying to his neighbors or the temptation that was to follow.
Not guarding my heart led to a compromise of alone-time boundaries which, eventually, blurred into physical temptation. About a year after our relationship began, we began to stumble in the area of purity. We both knew it was wrong, we would repent, and strive for purity again, but we were going about it alone.
We deeply desired to do things correctly, but we were trusting in our own flesh not to make the same mistakes we had already made.
Throughout our entire year and half dating relationship, no one that we were close with stopped to ask us how we were doing with staying pure until marriage. I am sure one of the reasons for this silence was people assumed we were doing things God’s way. But we weren’t. Don’t get me wrong, we tried to please God, but we failed. And for us, one failure led to another and another. Satan began to whisper to me that it was too late to strive for purity in our relationship and, as I believed his lies, I was filled with shame.
It was only during premarital counseling that our minister asked us point blank if we had had sex. Our silence was his answer. Ironically, it was his loving, but firm, response that gave us the motivation to choose differently in our relationship.
It became easier to practice abstinence for the duration of our engagement because we had someone come along side us and encourage us towards the Biblical standard of purity.
After that awkward, but impactful, meeting… my then fiancé and I made the choice to abstain until our wedding night. A choice we had tried to make earlier, but now, with the help of someone else, it seemed possible.
I believed the lie from Satan that because we had made a mistake, God could never redeem it. Discouragement has plagued my heart from the first time we crossed the line physically until today. In fact, writing this post, over ten years later, is part of my healing process. Even since our marriage, I have lied to people and told them we were pure on our wedding night. In doing so, I missed so many opportunities for God to use our mistakes to help other people. The purpose of this post, however, is not merely to disclose a buried secret, but rather to share the wisdom I have gained through my mistakes.
1. I learned that staying pure before marriage is incredibly difficult without the help of others.
Truly, I was the last person I thought would give up her virginity before marriage and yet, because of my pride, I never confessed my struggle to another believer. If I had confided in a trust-worthy friend when the first temptations came, I bet our relationship choices would have taken a different direction. Now, as a married adult, I love to come alongside dating couples as they strive for purity. I don’t avoid asking them the hard questions rather than assuming they are making the right choices. Some are more receptive to my probing than others… some have made fewer mistakes than others, but either way, I am offering myself as a partner on their journey to help them remain pure until their wedding night. Premarital sex is a detour from the Divine plan for physical intimacy, and it is never in God’s will for a couple.
2. I learned that remaining sexually pure is equally as hard within marriage as it is before marriage.
Accountability must be brought in. I once heard a DJ on the radio say that if you have premarital sex it is telling your future spouse that you believe in sex outside of the wedding vows and that mindset can lead to higher chances of adultery. I personally don’t know if I agree with this completely, neither my husband or I believed in sleeping around or living together, and we didn’t make a habit of having (or justifying) premarital sex. Purity was simply a struggle at which we failed. However, that does make us more aware of how easily our flesh can lead us astray and how innocently physical temptations can begin. Thankfully, my husband and I have matured in this area and we both have people in our lives who we meet with regularly who help us remain faithful to each other in our thoughts and actions. We have in place many boundaries, which begin by guarding our emotional intimacy, in order to help us “affair-proof” our marriage. We willingly choose to confess our struggles to each other and to other believers. In fact, it is the people who ask us the hard questions who have become our closest friends and allies because it communicates their love.
3. I learned, first hand, that premarital sex has consequences one cannot escape.
Even though my husband and I did strive for purity until marriage for the majority of our dating relationship, the mistakes we made had consequences that lingered long after the wedding night. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. My husband and I missed out on more than we could ask or imagine by straying from God’s plan for us. However, along with the consequences, God has also offered us incredible grace. My husband and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this year and, while, for many years sex was a source of contention for us; it is now an incredible and beautiful part of our relationship. God truly can bring beauty from ashes and He has certainly done that for our physical relationship (which brings me to my knees before Him all the more!).
My advice to married readers: Don’t rely on your own strength to keep your marriage bed pure! Invite accountability into your thought life, your internet history, and you physical boundaries with other! Also, invest in those around you who have yet to make it to the altar. Stand with them, encourage them, pray for them, and don’t be afraid to step on their toes. Oh, how my husband and I wish someone had stepped on ours!
My advice to single readers: Don’t compromise sexually and stay pure. Take it from someone who has walked down a road I will always wish I had not: make wise choices about guarding your heart, avoiding the mere appearance of sin, and certainly abstaining from sexual intimacy before marriage. If you have already made mistakes, I urge you to start a fresh beginning today! It is never too late to hit the reset button. God wants to bless you more than you can ask or imagine. Don’t miss out.
And for all of you: let’s heed Darby’s advice and hold others accountable around us! Let’s ask the hard questions, as she says. Need a starting point? Here’s a post on 10 questions to ask a friend before she gets married.
Darby is a wife, mother, speaker, blogger, and author of the devotional, For the Love of Our Husbands. Her greatest passions are promoting healthy marriages and encouraging women to pray fervently for their husbands. Darby believes strongly in sharing her own weaknesses… trusting that God will redeem her sin struggles for His glory. You can connect with Darby via her website www.darbydugger.com.
Now, what advice do you have for us today? Link up your own marriage post in the linky below!