"Casey, can I ask you something?"
"Would it be alright if I kissed you sometime in the near future?
"Yes! But I'm nervous... I've never kissed anyone before..."
"Really? Me neither. I for sure thought that you had already!"
"Ya, I thought you had to."
Welcome to a memory of our fifth month of dating. SuperDan and I had been taking our relationship super slow (like... turtle slow) on purpose. He didn't even hold my hand until we'd been dating a month because he wanted to make sure he'd met my dad and had a formal discussion about dating me on a breakfast date first.
At first I was a little annoyed that he wasn't holding my hand yet. I mean, come ON! I was 21 and he was 23. It's not like we were in junior high. But at the same time, I felt like a princess. Like I was a prized treasure to be treated with utmost respect. I felt honored that he cared about my heart and personality more than anything physical.
I'll never forget the day he asked to hold my hand for the first time. Our goal was to walk around as many lakes as possible in Minneapolis where we lived on each date. We had just arrived at a new lake on a beautiful sunny day. I was wearing a long white flowing skirt and a purple shirt. As we walked together and gazed upon the clear blue water he asked the question I'd been waiting for.
"Would it be alright if I held your hand now?"
My heart jumped for joy as I nodded my head and he slipped his strong fingers around mine and melted my heart. He picked a flower and put it in my hair. Swoon. He then set a timer on his camera and took a picture of us together so we could remember our special moment.
It sounds corny, and I'm sure you are rolling your eyes because of the sappiness. But when you've been waiting over a month for something so simple and so sweet, it takes your breath away.
Fast forward a few months and you come to the conversation that started this post. I had been wondering for months if SuperDan wanted to kiss me or not. We had been dating for long enough to know that we were most likely getting married in the near future. He hadn't proposed yet, but we'd talked about the future enough to know that's where it was headed. (We didn't say the "M" word for a long time because we didn't want to put pressure on the relationship if it wasn't meant to be.)
I had made a vow when I was a teenager that I would not kiss anyone until my wedding day. I firmly held fast to that with boys I liked in my past and I'm so grateful they honored my request. But with SuperDan it was different. I WANTED to kiss him before we were married. I was so crazy in love with him. I felt a peace about it and realized that by keeping my vow all these years, I still had saved my first kiss for my future husband. Just not on my wedding day ;)
We were so head over heels in love, it was crazy. Like seriously crazy. So when he asked if he could kiss me, and I admitted I had virgin lips, we both laughed together realizing we were in the same boat!
I talked to a mentor from college about it later that week and confessed, "I'm SO nervous to kiss him! What if I'm a bad kisser? I have NO clue what' I'm doing!"
So I waited. When would the big day be? How would he kiss me? Would he take me somewhere special? The anticipation was killing me!
On New Year's Eve SuperDan took me to watch fireworks over a beautiful bridge in downtown Minneapolis. We stood along the edge watching the brilliant show among other wide-eyed spectators ooing and aaahing. We wrapped a blanket around ourselves (because it was New Year's Eve in freezing Minnesota for goodness sake!) and huddled together looking up at the night sky. The second the last firework disappeared into the air my boyfriend suddenly turned towards me and kissed me for the first time. I was stunned! I wasn't ready! What just happened?
I giggled and blurted out, "Can we do that again, please? I think I messed up!" We both laughed nervously and then we kissed again. It was the most magical, romantic, memorable moment of my life. He had planned it all perfectly so that it would be a night for both of us to remember. It was just like the movies. There were people everywhere walking past, minding their own business, laughing and talking in the midnight cold. No one had any idea they were witnessing a couple's first kiss ever! We asked someone walking by to take our picture and I still get goosebumps when I look at it to this day. Our faces have the biggest smiles plastered all over them ;)
A few months later we were engaged and began planning our wedding. We were knee deep in wedding details on top of working full time jobs and were extremely involved in our church. Now that we were kissing we realized it was going to get even harder to protect our purity. We were falling even more in love every single passing day and keeping our hands off each other was getting extremely hard. We sat down and set up some house rules about how far our physical relationship would go. We wouldn't touch each other in private places and we would pull back if we felt we were ever going too far. Once in a while we had to talk about how things were going and agree to pull back if we felt things were getting too heated. We knew we were going to save our virginity for marriage but we also wanted to make sure we were staying as far away from crossing that line as possible.
We purposely kept ourselves busy with life and made sure to spend time with friends a lot to keep ourselves occupied. Our favorite activities were rock climbing, going to fun places with friends, and taking walks. My hubby was the volunteer youth pastor at church and I helped him lead it on Wednesday nights. I was also on the Sunday and Wednesday night worship team at church. We built a connection with our church family and our pastor and his wife. We started pre-marital counseling together and read books like crazy about marriage.
Was I nervous about sex? Yes, of course! What girl isn't? But I knew that everything would work out fine because I was marrying my best friend. I trusted him completely and felt we could be completely honest about our thoughts and fears. We read really amazing Christian books about it that gave awesome Godly advice and helped answer our questions (the kind you are too nervous to ask anyone else!)
Was it worth it? YES! A million times YES!
What I think is special about our relationship is we both had no sexual history with other people before we were married. We have no memories or flashbacks to deal with. We have grown together in our relationship and I am so thankful that we can share that special bond together and with no one else.
Was it easy to be a virgin growing up as a teenager and young adult? Not always. Most of the time it was absolutely no big deal at all. But at times I felt humiliated and made fun of by others when they found out.
I wore a purity ring on my left ring finger as a symbol of my virginity. I liked telling other people about it when they asked and shared my heart on the matter if they were interested.
Many people would say, "Oh wow, I wish I could go back in time and save myself for marriage too."
But then there were others who thought I was totally ignorant and stupid. I remember sitting next to a single guy on a flight to Utah when I was a teenager visiting my relatives. I was trying to share my faith with him and ended up explaining my purity ring. He laughed. Then he got angry.
He furrowed his brow and said condescendingly, "That is the stupidist thing I've ever heard. How in the world are you going to know you are sexually compatible with someone if you don't try it out before marriage?"
To be honest, I had never even thought that. It sounded like hogwash to me! I responded that I wasn't worried about that and I was sure my husband and I would figure everything out in time and it would be great. He didn't buy it. I really bothered him, that's for sure.
I remember standing in a group of friends once and everyone was talking about how they'd already slept with people. I never want to make people feel condemned for their choices, but I was proud of myself that I was still a virgin. They laughed and said, "Casey, you are the only one standing here now that hasn't had sex!" I felt humiliated. But I didn't let it get me down.
I also felt humiliated when I went to the doctor as a teenager with some health concerns. She was checking off a bunch of boxes and filling out forms while we chatted. Then she asked me about my sexual history. I told her I was still a virgin. She paused, slowly looked up from her clipboard, darted her eyes over to my mom sitting next to me, then brought her gaze back to me. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that she didn't believe me. I knew she was thinking I was lying because my mom was there. She sighed, put her pen down, then stated that I needed to be honest even if it was difficult because they couldn't help me otherwise. I felt hot tears well up behind my eyes as I clenched my fists. Why was it so hard to believe that a 16 year old girl could still be a virgin? What had happened to our society that this was so far-fetched? The fact that she didn't believe me angered me. With a deep breath I proceeded to explain to the doctor why I was still a virgin and that I was a strong Christian who loved Jesus and followed His words. I will never forget that day. Instead of congratulating me and encouraging me for my decision to remain a virgin, the doctor belittled me and made me feel like an alien who wasn't a true human teenager. I've forgiven her, of course, but it was a horrible feeling to be looked at that way.
Fast forward to a month before my wedding and I was sitting in another doctor's office. She came in with a smile on her face and bounce in her step. She obviously loved her job and I was glad I had picked her off the list from the internet (don't you hate blindly picking a doctor like that?) She proceeded to begin the evaluation and asked the dreaded question about my sexual history. All of a sudden a wave of flashbacks returned and my countenance fell as I realized that this doctor would probably not believe me as well.
Thankfully, she believed me. But she was shocked. Shocked beyond all shocked. She couldn't fathom that a 21 year old woman was saving herself for marriage. She looked at me with wide eyes and her big smile turned into a crooked line. She stood up and notified me that she would be consulting with her colleagues in the hallway about how to proceed. I was mortified yet once again. Great! Now everyone in the clinic was going to know about me and who knows if they would laugh or mock me. But I didn't let it get me down. I gazed out the window to regain my composure while she was gone and reminded myself that it was worth it. When she came back in I determined to use the opportunity to share my faith and explain my love for Jesus as the propelling force behind my virginity.
Why have I told you all this? Doesn't it seem like a bit TMI for me to share these intimate memories from my past? I am writing this post because I am passionate about Jesus and following His ways and I hope to be an encouragement to anyone out there struggling with this. The Bible tells us to keep sex within the boundaries of marriage. I don't think God did this to be mean and cruel and heartless. I deeply and truly believe He knows what is best for us. Saving sex for marriage is amazing and beautiful and I am glad to say I wouldn't have had it any other way. Because my husband and I practiced self-control when we were dating, I feel that He values me and considers me a prized jewel. I am so thankful that our relationship was build upon trust, friendship, and service to God before sex. And because we practiced self-control before marriage, I feel it prepared us to practice self-control during marriage. What do I mean by that? It means that we can trust each other not to cheat or commit adultery with someone else by God's grace. I know that he can control himself and he knows I can control myself. I am so proud of my husband for saving himself for me all those years and he is proud of me for saving myself as well. We trust each other and believe the best about each other.
I would never want anyone to feel condemned by reading my post if they did not save sex for marriage. I know we all have gone through our own journey and God is so gracious and compassionate towards us and forgives our past. Our God is a loving God who longs to bless us and lead us with grace and mercy. You are not a failure. You are not used. You are not forgotten. You are a beautiful jewel deserving of the highest and utmost respect and love! My hope for you would be that you would decide today to start fresh and turn over a new leaf. If you aren't married then decide today to save sex for your future spouse. Today is a new day, a clean slate. Pray for your future spouse, whoever they may be, that God would give them strength to live for Him and stay pure for you too.
And for anyone who has been molested, sexually abused, or raped, I want you to know that it was NOT your fault! You did not deserve to be treated that way. You did nothing wrong. Something was taken from you without your consent. That breaks the heart of God (and my heart). Do not see yourself as a used piece of trash. You are more valuable than gold or silver and someone someday will come into your life and treat you the way you deserve to be treated! Please know that you are deeply loved and wanted.
When I would feel lonely or frustrated with my boyfriendless life, I would use that energy to pray for my future husband. I would beg God to give him strength and guidance in his life, to encourage him and direct him. I prayed that he would flee temptation and keep his heart and body pure for me :) I loved listening to the song by Rebecca St. James called Wait for Me when I was a teenager. She wrote it before she met her husband, which I think is so beautiful! You can watch the music video here and also an intimate discussion of how she met her husband in the second video.
My prayer is that this generation will see the value in saving sex for marriage. It is not stupid, it is not silly, it is not ridiculous, it is not impossible. When we take that time to pray for our future spouse, when we harness that energy and use it to love Jesus and serve our hurting world, we are not wasting a moment. We are building our self-control, our self-worth, and preparing an amazing foundation for our future marriage.
Save sex for marriage. It's totally worth it ;)