We Waited For Marriage

young couple hanging out on a bed with their legs up

How abstinence shaped a couple's marriage.

On my sixteenth birthday my dad gave me an abstinence ring. It was yellow gold that wrapped around my finger into the shape of a small heart. "This is to remind you to stay pure until you get married," he said when I put it on. Secretly, I thought the ring was ugly. 

I grew up in a Baptist home. My siblings and I were home schooled until we reached High School and we weren't allowed to say "gosh" and "darn", because they're too close to "God" and "damn." We weren't allowed to date until 16, which wasn't a problem for me. No one was asking. And sex? Well, let's just put it this way: Until he was 15, my brother still thought you could get pregnant from holding hands. How I Became A Divorced Virgin

My freshman year of High School, I went with the youth group to a rally where a speaker talked to us about the importance of  "saving ourselves" until marriage. The other girls from my church cried and pledged their purity on mail-in cards. Some even walked forward to pray with the prayer warriors up front. I stayed in my seat. I was wary about pledging to give up things I'd never even tried, even if that's what God wanted. The next year, one of the girls from the youth group was pregnant and another was constantly coming home from her boyfriend's house with hickeys. I still hadn't been asked on a date. 

Despite my skepticism and frustration with the pointy heart on my ring, I managed to avoid sex until I met my husband. Despite being in a sorority in college, this wasn't as hard as it sounds. I only dated a handful of guys before I met Dave and none of them induced any clothes-ripping passion. With Wookie impressions and finger puppets who spoke with French accents at Chili's, my dates actually had the opposite effect. I wasn't taking anything off for any of those guys.

Dave was different. He was good at sports. He wasn't socially awkward. He didn't quote every line from Monty Python's Flying Circus on our first date (not that it's a bad thing). But he was committed to being abstinent. He had been raised in with similar values, although he could say "gosh" and watch The Simpsons. And when Dave makes a promise, he keeps it. This is one of the things I love the most about him. But it was also one of the most difficult aspects of our early courtship. When we got married, I chucked off my yellow-gold ring and we had a fabulous honeymoon. Fun Activities To Do On Your Honeymoon

I often feel I was abstinent by accident and then was lucky enough to meet a good man, who takes his commitments seriously. But our mutual lack of a complicated sexual past has given our relationship a solid foundation. I trust my husband implicitly. Just like he took his abstinence pledge seriously, I know he is committed to our marriage.I realize that fidelity and trust and passion exist in a relationships where couples haven't chosen to be abstinent. And relationships where both couples were abstinent, can be marred by regrets, confusion and unhealthy attitudes toward sex. But if I could go back and do things differently, I wouldn't. I love that we share sex with no one but each other. Every new course we chart, we chart together. Abstinence worked for us. The 36-Year-Old Virgin

Are you saving "it" for marriage?