Back in January, Sheila at To Love Honor and Vacuum wrote a post regarding the things that concern her about the purity movement. I’ll admit, I was taken back by the things that she has seen taught in the purity culture. In the circles I ran in, these concepts were not taught.
When Paul and Lori Byerly came to visit a few weeks ago, they talked about how the purity movement has wrecked so many marriages. Women are struggling to have sex because of a physical condition they have developed from the things they were taught. Again- what a shock!
I Made a Commitment During a True Love Waits Retreat
I was part of the purity movement and a thing called True Love Waits was a big thing on the scene. I went on a True Love Waits retreat, led by the youth pastor that ended up doing my wedding. He and the other adults took us away for the weekend and had session after session talking with us about sex.
Everything that I learned there was the same concepts that my parents had been telling me at home for years. You see- we didn’t have “the talk”- we had an ongoing conversation my entire life.
During the retreat, we were given the chance to make a commitment to purity in our single lives. This meant that we would abstain from sex until our wedding day.
When we had our report back night, our youth pastor surprised us with a ring ceremony. Rings were given to those that made the commitment. Adults and parents gave them the rings in front of our church so that we could make our commitment public.
Physical Intimacy Is Beneficial in The Right Context
Sex in the right context is wonderful and amazing. However, sex in the wrong context is destructive and damaging.
Think about it like this-
Fire in my fireplace is a good thing, right? I can heat my house with it, light the room with a lovely glow, or roast marshmallows and cook food. Fire in the right context is beneficial and life-giving.
Now let me give you another scenario- what if I took the fire out of my fireplace and put it on my couch? That would not be life-giving, would it? Fire on my couch would destroy my home and possibly take my life.
Sex is the same way. When sex is done inside of marriage the way God intended it is beautiful, bonding, and beneficial. Outside of marriage, it destroys and damages.
Purity Doesn’t End When You Get Married
I was also taught that sexual purity doesn’t end when you get married. Talk about stopping a horny teenager in their tracts. It was explained to us that sexual purity means honoring God with your body and mind. Our charges to be sexually pure don’t go away when we are married.
Temptations Don’t Go Away
Whether you are married or not, you are subject to sexual temptations. Just because you are married and having sex doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself lusting after someone else. It also doesn’t mean that you won’t end up putting yourself in some dangerous situations with someone of the opposite sex.
We Didn’t Kiss Dating Goodbye- But We Stopped Kissing
Of course, Josh Harris’ book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, was a huge seller at the time. Austin and I had been dating for a few years before we read the book. Courtship wasn’t in the realm of possibility for Austin and I since we had been dating for 2 years.
We met a couple that radically challenged us, though. They were our age and had read the book by Josh. They had been sexually active with each other and decided to change their relationship to one of purity. They stopped kissing, going out along, and other things.
Those two were a huge encouragement to us and a big reason that we decided to kissing needed to go. We wanted to keep our commitments to each other to sexual purity.
Instead of Asking- How Far is Too Far- We Changed the Question
Austin and I had been dating for 2 years already and we were crossing our lines of how far was too far. Instead of asking, “how far is too far?”, we changed the question to, “How can we honor God with our relationship?”. That is a question we continue to ask ourselves today.
We dated for another 3 ½ years before we got married and our wedding day was the first time we had kissed in that number of years. It was the best decision we ever made, because it forced us to build good communication skills.
True Love Waited
On our wedding day, we gave one another the rings we wore to signify our commitment to purity in our singleness and put on new rings to signify our commitment to purity in our married life.
If you were to look at the inscription on the inside of our wedding bands, you would find the words, “True Love Waited”. We stopped all of our physical affection so that we had a better chance of staying pure in our single lives. It wasn’t easy, but we waited until we got married to awaken our sexual desires for one another.
Not everyone has this same story, but here’s the thing, sexual purity is never-ending. Every day, you should ask the question, “How can I honor God with my body and mind?”.
If you want to hear me talk about this subject, check out this video I shot.