I thought I was going to write one long post about this, but as I began to type, I realized I had too much to say for one post – so this will be a 2 (or 3) part series. This first part will be about why I made the decision to wait and the next post will outline some of my struggles with it. This is probably one of my least favorite topics to discuss because it’s always harder to talk about something while you’re still in it than it is once you’ve overcome it. But honestly I’ve been struggling the past few months and it was placed in my spirit to write about it; so here I am. Hopefully this frees or encourages someone (myself included lol).
I’ve been celibate for almost 3 years now. I didn’t grow up in an environment where it was forced on me or anything like that. This was more of a personal decision rooted in my spiritual foundation and strengthened through experiences. I remember in middle school, a classmate asked me when I might lose my virginity and back then, I thought it would be when I was 17 years old. Well when 17 came, I was presented with the opportunity for the first time and while I wanted to, I just couldn’t do it. There was this hesitation I felt. I knew I’d feel guilty if I did. I didn’t want to regret it or form that sort of attachment to someone I knew I probably wouldn’t be with long term. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the hesitation I felt at 17 was what I now know as spiritual conviction.
Many of us already know what the Bible says about waiting until marriage, but it’s so easy to disregard and justify. We say the Bible is outdated, it’s impossible to wait, sex is a natural part of life, and everyone else is doing it. When I did begin to test the waters, I would also try to rationalize my behavior with God. “Well I didn’t go all the way so technically I’m good”. But even then, I knew what I was doing and often felt disappointed in myself. The nights were meaningless with people who didn’t truly care about me or my feelings. I felt empty and insecure. Eventually I had played with fire enough that I grew desensitized to it all and decided to just give in. See what all the hype was about. I guess I was tired of feeling like I was missing out. The crazy part is that the guy I was with stopped, said his stomach was hurting, and asked me why I did it…
Though I never followed up about it, I think he knew me well enough to know that it was uncharacteristically me. He knew I wanted to wait and could probably feel my spirit in that moment. I think he could feel my conviction and I wouldn’t be surprised if he felt a sense of guilt. Luckily I didn’t form any sorts of attachments and I can honestly say I was pretty indifferent. That wasn’t the reason I cried my whole way home. Instead, it was his question that stayed with me. Why did I do it? Why did I give away apart of myself that I was proud of and that I held so near to my heart? Why did I do all that I had been doing even when I knew I wasn’t getting what I really wanted (love & commitment)? Not knowing the “why” was the part that hurt the most. I asked myself that question for weeks. I did so much self-reflection after that and finally discovered many of the answers I was looking for. I needed to heal from past hurts and find true contentment in God alone. I had to really internalize the fact that a man/woman cannot complete you; only God can do that. I had to learn what it means to be still. Stop chasing, pursuing, and laying down with guys who don’t want me and wait for the man who really does. That man will put forth the effort and be clear about his intentions. I won’t have to guess and I won’t have to beg. I definitely won’t have to give away my body in hopes of his love. I decided that I just am not made for casual lustful encounters. I only want to be with my husband.
My convictions about waiting for marriage are very real and always have been, but that is just one of the reasons I’ve committed to celibacy. The more important reason is because when you love someone, you do things that please them and try to refrain from things that hurt them. God is literally my best friend. I love Him so much and as our relationship gets stronger, my desire to please him does, too. They say sin separates us from Him, and it’s true, but not because He stops loving us or holds grudges. Instead, it separates us from Him because we tend to carry that guilt and shame with us. We struggle more to forgive ourselves more than God ever will. When we knowingly live in sin, it just makes us want to run from Him. We think He doesn’t want to be bothered with us or we feel hypocritical. We are all imperfect, but it is really difficult to draw nearer to Him and blatantly live wrong at the same time. So yes, I try to honor my convictions, but I also want to get closer to Him, not further from Him.
I also realized that His instruction to wait for marriage is for our protection, not for our punishment. From my own experiences and from witnessing it happen to women all around me, I know that we save ourselves so much pain by waiting. I’m not waiting as a form of manipulation to get what I want, but it does save me the heartache that comes from guys who don’t want anything more than my body. They don’t stick around long when they find out your not giving it up (or you’ll get friend zoned pretty quickly lol). But I’ll take that over having my time and energy wasted or getting my feelings hurt. Plus, if a person can exercise the discipline required to wait until marriage, then you’ll know they can have that same self control during marriage. Also, eliminating sex from a relationship allows you to get to know a person on a deeper level. You get to know their heart, their spirit, and their mind. It also allows you to recognize if a person is actually a good fit for your life or not. This isn’t to say that you can’t get those things if you are active, but it allows for that sort of deeper exploration without clouded judgement. I’ve been getting to know a guy for a few years now and I’m always so amazed by how deep we’ve grown in love without being physically intimate. & knowing a man who believes I am worth the wait has given me a renewed hope that good men are still out there.
Another pretty basic reason for this choice is that I don’t want to have kids with a man I’m not going to marry. Someone once said to me “ask yourself if you can see yourself having a kid with him before you lay down with him”, and that hit deep. Think back on the people you have been with. Now imagine what your life might be like if you had kids with him/her. This is not a fun activity, but it does help to put things into perspective. Kids are a blessing and I’m excited to have a few, but I only want to have my husband’s kids. And for those of you who already have kids, I am a real believer in happy, healthy blended families. I know every situation is different and not always easy, but it’s life. I believe your partner in crime is coming and I pray you find someone who loves you AND your kid(s) with their whole heart. It’s not too late.
On a similar note, how awesome will it be to tell my husband I waited for him? For him to know I haven’t been intimate with every guy I’ve ever dated. I don’t have a totally clean slate, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally I’ve been cleansed. No soul ties, trust issues, or bitter ex’s haunting me, and I don’t have to worry about any of that going forward either. I’m not putting myself in those situations anymore. And honestly, no matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve gone, you can be freed from your past and start fresh, too! So if this is something you’ve been thinking about or maybe going back and forth with, I encourage you to try. Even if you try and slip, progress is still progress. Try again. It will be worth it. I can’t say it was easy getting to this point and it definitely required some refining, but God delivered me from what I called my Egypt, and there is no going back.
Once I did enter my “new chapter”, I thought everything would be sunshine and rainbows overnight. But I soon realized that having a fresh start didn’t mean that the past disappeared. That’s when I wrote the post A Blank Slate back in 2016. Feel free to check that post out here.
But even with all of the added benefits that come with waiting, I can probably come up with just as many reasons it’s been a struggle. I’ll be back soon with part 2 where I’ll discuss my struggles with waiting more in detail. Stay tuned!