I was 22 years old and I knew everything. I stood on my desk in front of 23 grade 8 students and said one word. Sex. That’s all it took to get their full attention as well as many giggles amidst a prepubescent group of blushing kids. One word that carried so much weight and so many misconceptions. One word that could silence a room or start a heated debate amongst my circle of Christian friends. One, three letter word that I seemed to know everything about while at the same time knew absolutely nothing. One word that would end up looming over me for a very long time.
I signed a contract. You all know the kind. The kind that is written on the back of a bookmark or a track or a pink paper heart that is intended for you to stick inside your Bible to remind you every time you are in the midst of a make-out session in the back seat of a car. You know the kind. A binding agreement between me and God to keep myself pure and honourable and pristine for my future spouse. I can almost guarantee that it wasn’t that contract I signed at the end of some Teen Challenge event that challenged me to make a decision that would impact the next 20 years of relationships. Whatever the reason, I made a decision to save myself for my future husband. It sounded so easy and so righteous at the time. However, I never imagined that God would send me on a journey that would last much longer than I intended or planned.
I realize that sex before marriage is no longer a topic of prevalence with young Christians today. Some may have justified it while others may have made the same decision that I made as a teenager. Whatever the stance, whatever the Biblical perspective, and whatever the convictions, I have never had any regrets. I made my decision to wait for one simple reason: to honour my future husband as God intended.
You see, my future spouse was always real in my mind and in my heart even though he may not have been by my side for the numerous weddings I attended as a single person or even as part of a couple. I longed to honour him with all of my thoughts as well as my actions. This of course did not happen. I messed up and I did things and thought things and acted upon things that were in no way honouring at times. However, something deep within me knew that by offering all of myself in this physical way, I would be offering pieces of my heart along with it. Yes, I wanted my future husband to receive all of me as a gift physically, but more so, I wanted to offer him a full and complete heart.
I met several amazing men on my journey that loved the Lord and honoured me in every way. However, it took over 34 years for me to meet the man that I am married to today. The man that I chose in the midst of my journey. At the ripe age of 18 I never imagined it would take so long to experience this stage of life. In fact, my plans were always so different from my Lord’s. Was it easy to wait? Absolutely not. There were temptations, and failures, and forgiveness, and fears, and even more temptations. However, the longer I waited, the more I wanted to wait. The more I prayed for him and wanted to honour and respect my future husband in this way.
I believe that waiting to share this most intimate and God-honouring gift until marriage is possible. I am proof. I am proof that I made many mistakes over the years and pushed the limit of my convictions more times than I am proud of. I am also proof that waiting for marriage does not make the actual act of sex any better or worse or in between. It will not make you the star of some romantic movie on your honeymoon. In fact, it may make things even more awkward and uncomfortable, yet despite the physical act, I can say that I was proud to have the majority of my heart in tact. I would challenge teenagers and young adults and 40-somethings who have not married yet, to wait. Waiting is not something we like to do with anything in life. We are impatient people. We want what feels good now. We want to impress the opposite sex and be appealing and desirable. However, I challenge you to wait because the rewards will come in the end and those rewards will be plentiful.
I cannot speak for others nor can I claim that sex before marriage is happening more than it ever used to in “my day”. I can make assumptions. I can also challenge others to save themselves as a gift to give their future spouses that no one else can give. Along with giving him or her all of yourself physically, you will give him or her a heart full of life, desire, curiosity, and wholeness.
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Cari is happily married to Kevin who hails all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. She is also the proud mama to their three beautiful children – Avery, Skylar and Camryn. Cari spent most of her twenties as a teacher and then moved onto become a principal. Now she enjoys devoting most of her time to making home for her family and can often be found scheming up creative adventures that she’ll embark on with her three little ones. Cari also spends time mentoring many young women who are struggling with many of the things she’s been through.