“The longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you get it, because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for.” – Unknown, The Internet
Today, I sat across from a friend as she excitedly recalled the previous month of her life: a wedding, honeymoon, and international move. It sounded all too familiar to me. We both smiled with pure excitement as to the similarities in our stories. As I listened to her whirlwind romance, she told me how much the story of my and Rocket’s long-distance courtship impacted her life. Rocket and I are both amazed and humbled when people find our love story inspiring.
While my friend didn’t ask me this today, one of the most common questions we get is:
Why did you decide to wait until marriage? And now that you are married, do you think it was the right choice?
I have been hesitant to post about this topic, because it’s private and difficult to discuss. For clarity, I am sharing this from the perspective of why waiting was best for me from a practical perspective. I grew up with a strong Christian foundation, encouraged to wait until marriage to have sex. However, instead of focusing on the biblical reasoning (which is evident through studying scripture) I want to share what I see as the underlying wisdom and benefits (to Christians and non-Christians alike) of celibacy outside of marriage.
As part of my academic education, during health class, the focus was always on protection as if celibacy wasn’t a realistic choice. I wondered if it was better to wait, then why should there be any other option? I wouldn’t need to worry about protecting myself if I waited.
As a teenager, I read The Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn about a young girl who chose to wait to have sex until she was married. That book along with my mother’s advice had a profound impact on my life creating a desire to purchase a purity ring on my 16th birthday, promising God, myself, and my future husband to wait until marriage.
Why did I wait? Besides my faith, safety was a big part of it. I am risk averse, and I never had to worry about contracting STD’s or deal with pregnancy scares. Some friends and peers would suggest that sex was the only way to prove your love for someone or it was too much fun to abstain from, and others (who weren’t abstaining themselves) supported my decision. While single, I really enjoyed listening to a series about Love, Sex, and Dating that my college mentor advised. It explains how relationships affect us in different ways. I highly recommend it for single (non-married) people.
There were some people who didn’t understand and teased me all along the way, ‘what if your future husband doesn’t wait for you’ or ‘what if you aren’t sexually compatible?’ But hearing stories of cheating partners, dating married men, pregnancy scares, nervousness over STD results, and broken hearts from numerous friends helped me stay focused on my promise. Although these were valid reasons to wait, it wasn’t until after marriage that I could appreciate some practical benefits of waiting that I hadn’t considered before.
We also know couples who after having sex with other partners, choose to remain celibate during their courtship. Getting married and sharing that level of intimacy for the first time gave them a greater sense of trust and closeness moving forward.
After having discussions with a few married couples who have waited, practiced celibacy and a few who didn’t, Rocket and I learned some valuable insights that those of you who are single may want to consider.
Our friends shared that waiting to have sex until marriage:
- Builds trust with your partner. If you can abstain while dating and resist temptations, it’s more likely that your partner will be trustworthy in marriage.
- It allows a deeper level of intimacy and trust, knowing that you are experiencing it with one partner instead of being compared to the previous ones.
- Fewer previous intimate relationships, means there are less baggage and issues of past relationships, that could threaten the marriage.
- No matter what your starting point, one of the most rewarding parts of a marriage is learning how to be more compatible.
I’m thankful I waited, because it taught me self control, humility, and how to stand up for something I believed in despite the critics and snarky comments. While there were critics, there were others that supported me just as much along the way.
Whether you agree or not, or have any questions, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us, here.