Here comes the Virgin Mary couple,” I heard them snicker as my boyfriend and I walked up to our Year 10 ‘friendship’ group at recess. Pretend you didn’t hear it. Just keep walking, stay cool and act confident, I told my fifteen year old self as we approached the group. This wasn’t an unusual experience for me at school; I was often the brunt of most jokes because I was the only one in that group who apparently hadn’t had sex.
I had made a decision early in my teenage years that I was going to marry as a virgin. I wasn’t hung up on marrying someone who was only a virgin but I wanted to make sure I saved my virginity for marriage. Some people were taken back when they discovered this about me. They automatically put me in a box, a box labelled, “religious freak with no sex drive”. I can understand their shock to some degree, I mean, just about everyone was having sex. TV was promoting it, the latest teen magazines promoted it, the internet promoted it and just about every latest hit song on the radio promoted it. Almost everything in the media had sexual connotations and was promoting sex to teenagers. And from what I witnessed, the teens were buying it! Attending a Christian school didn’t change the fact that my Year 8 peers were boasting about who they “slept” with on the weekend and pornography was discreetly passed around in class.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
So if it was so much fun, easy and the thing to do then why didn’t I just give it a go?
from my minimal life experience i observed the ramifications that came with having sex outside of marriage.
I was sitting by a pond one day, reflecting upon life as I casually threw pebbles into the calm water, one after another. I noticed that as I threw a single pebble into one section of the water, the ripples from the pebble expanded so far beyond the initial place where it had struck the water. I automatically drew a connection between this moment at the pond and what I was witnessing in my world around me. I related the initial pebble that disturbed the water to being like sex outside of marriage, and the ripples were the ramifications that were attached to that one decision. Some girls at my high school had fallen pregnant, which led to more ripples, like having to pull out of high school, carrying guilt and shame, their child being raised without a father, etc. Other girls had chosen to have abortions. As a result they also carried enormous guilt and shame and would have to always live with the regret of wondering, what if? Young people were having countless sexual experiences either “one night stands” or in multiple relationships hoping to fill an emotional void, but not succeeding. This continually left them feeling empty, hurt and frustrated. I saw husbands or wives that were unfaithful to one another by having affairs. This caused marriage breakdowns, leaving their children feeling devastated, betrayed, bitter and broken. I could go on and on, but ultimately, the greater ripple effect of the hurt and the pain attached to following a few selfish moments of pleasure just didn’t seem worth it to me.
I knew that God designed sex to be between a husband and a wife and I could clearly see why. This is not to steal our joy, but rather to protect us (and others) from harm and to give us the best experience possible.
IT'S CRUNCH TIME
My Year 10 relationship didn’t last, it was emotionally hard to end but I realised I just wasn’t ready for that level of commitment. When I finished school, I met a young (and very good-looking) man who eventually “swept me off my feet”. To cut a long story short, we were friends for ten months and hung out (a lot) before we admitted our feelings for each other and decided to date. One of the main things that attracted us to each other (apart from looks and personality) was that we both had the same convictions about life and similar dreams for our future. He too had decided to save his virginity for marriage but it wasn’t until we started dating that we realised just how hard our decision was. This blows the “religious freak with no sex drive” theory out of the water as he and I were just like any other human being…with the “feelings” and “chemistry” there; we automatically wanted to take things to the “next level”.
We knew it was going to be hard to stick to this decision of not having sex before marriage, so thankfully we set an action plan in place. When we started dating, we discussed this with another married couple and asked for their support and accountability. We also agreed on and wrote out a brief list of situations we would avoid, knowing that if we found ourselves in them, they could easily cause us to slip up. Examples of this list were: not being home alone together, no “parking”, door open if hanging out in a bedroom and we created reasonable curfews for our phone calls and dates. Yes, they sound like rules set by our parents…they weren’t.
THEY WERE GUIDELINES THAT WE INTENTIONALLY IMPLEMENTED IN ORDER TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM MAKING A HASTY/REGRETFUL DECISION IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT.
We weren’t legalistic about this list, there were times when we were out later then planned, but we just tried to stick to it as best as possible.
As time progressed and our love for each other deepened, so did our desire to have sex. We dated for two years before we got engaged and were engaged for six months before we got married. Being engaged didn’t change our stance because we knew that engagements could be broken off. We didn’t want regrets and didn’t want to throw away what we had waited so long for. I once heard someone say,
"TRUE LOVE MEANS DOING THE HIGHEST GOOD FOR THE OTHER PERSON".
The fact that he was willing to wait for me, and vice-versa, proved that we valued each other far greater than our own physical desires. It displayed an unwavering commitment to each other; something we knew would be a firm foundation to build our marriage upon.
We made it to our wedding day, yewwwww (insert confetti emojis here)!!!! And we are so glad we had waited for that night. I would like to tell you our first night together was the most romantic “fairy tale” experience. It wasn’t, but we still have no regrets. The saying, “try before you buy” to us is a load of rubbish as we’ve been married six years and things in that department just keep on getting better (insert winking emoji face here). We didn’t enter our marriage with heavy emotional baggage from past sexual relationships, and didn’t wonder if we were being compared to previous partners. This didn’t just bring security to our marriage, but is a testimony we can one-day share with our children and will hopefully encourage them to also not settle for anything other than Gods best.
Now if your story is different to mine, that's okay. It’s not too late to start afresh. I want you to be encouraged to know that it’s actually never too late. Whilst the bad memories and “ripple effects” from the past may be there, God can free you from any guilt, shame, and the emotional consequences of decisions that you (or others) have made. He abounds in grace and specialises in loving and restoring the broken.
If you haven’t decided on what you want to do with your virginity, I pray my story will encourage you to wait and follow God’s great plan for your life. Remember that the choices you make today affect your future one way or another. Don’t limit yourself, don’t settle, and don’t give up. Dream about what you want in life and what you want for your future marriage and family. Make a decision to wait, plan on how you will do it and ask God to help you. I can assure you, you won’t regret it!
By Kimberley Slayter
Kim, along with her husband Caleb are the youth and young Adults pastors at Highway Church on the Gold Coast. Over the years she has worked as a beauty therapist, primary teacher and chaplain and is currently embracing her new journey into motherhood. She is passionate about deepening her knowledge and relationship with God and encouraging others to also discover the full freedom & potential they have in Christ.