I was single until I was 21. I never had a boyfriend, and never kissed a boy. I had been on dates, but that’s it. I felt so old to have never have had any actual experience with a guy! I had heard at youth that dating and sex were things to be handled with care, so I decided I didn’t want to get into a relationship until I was pretty sure it would be with the guy I’d want to marry. I set really high standards for that guy. Number one; he had to be good looking, but more than that he just had to be crazy about God more than he was into me. There were so many boys who weren’t even close to the bar I had set that at times I thought this guy didn’t even exist. I got some really fun girl friends that had high standards too, and then I was too busy having fun with them to get tied up with a boy.

When I was 21, I met Dave. He was tall, handsome, and had an incredible heart for God. I was super into him! We got to know each other over a few months and he became my best friend. He took me out one morning, and I was so nervous. We had hung out heaps before but I could tell something was coming this time. He told me that he wouldn’t get into a relationship unless it was going to lead to marriage and he asked me to be his girlfriend! It was a pretty serious line to slip in there while he was asking me out, but I loved that he took dating me seriously! On the drive home, he told me we needed boundaries in our relationship (yes, on the drive home from asking me out, we had that talk!) We had both decided some things were better kept for marriage. Looking back, I really respect that he had the guts to have that convo then.

He had never had a girlfriend either so we got to start on a blank page. It made things really easy for us. We were dating for about 6 months then we decided we’d stop kissing until we got married. It was getting too heated and we didn’t want to cross any of the boundaries we had set. It turned out to be a really good idea. Our dates seemed even better, we were getting to know each other better and our friendship just went a whole new level.

The entire time we were dating, even while we were engaged, Dave treated me with so much respect. He never tried any moves on me, his hands never wandered, and he never did anything that he wouldn’t be comfortable doing in front of my parents.

We got married on the 12/12/12. It was the best! We moved in together after that and I realised marriage is like a slumber party every night!

i set high standards and he was so worth the wait! we are so in love, and feel like because we did our dating stage the way god intended, it set us up for the best life long relationship.

Gods way really is the best way! So young man or woman, don't lower your standards because everybody else is. Set them high and let God empower you to live them out. And if you've fallen short along the way, that's ok. You can start from right now. You are not less of a person because of your past choices, just know that when it comes to relationships God really loves you and He really does have your best interests at heart.  

words by ailen edgar

Ailen and her husband Dave are the Youth Pastors of Faith Christian Church in Melbourne. She got saved in that youth group over a decade ago and has been serving there ever since. Ailen, a videographer, is passionate about telling people's stories through video and travels around the globe to capture those stories. She definitely has her dream job, and loves encouraging young people to step out and live the dreams God has put in their hearts. Check out her latest venture LIKE HER creating weekly YouTube vids for girls.