Chastity Before Marriage Fosters Chastity In Marriage

Chastity in marriage? Wait. What?

Let’s back up and clear up some misconceptions about chastity…

The word “chastity” isn’t synonymous with the word “abstinence”:

Within this context, abstinence is defined as refraining from sexual intercourse. Abstinence is an aspect of pre-marital chastity but isn’t the endgame. Chastity runs much deeper by giving us a deep reverence and respect for both our eternal souls and the heart of God. Loving someone never means sinning with them. Whether you are single, married or ordained you too are called to honor God through your body.

Therefore, the word “chastity” isn’t synonymous with the word “no”:

When I told my husband I would marry him, my “yes” to him was an implied “no” to every other man on the planet. This was a reality, but wasn’t at the forefront of my decision to spend my life with him. Similarly, chastity, at its very core, isn’t a “no”, but a “yes”.  Chastity is a virtue; in other words it is a good habit that unites us with the Lord. Virtues propel us to what we truly want- God’s plan and Will in our lives! Clearly this means that chastity is a resounding and passionate YES! This “yes” has different applications and meanings at every stage of our life and is essential in every vocation.

Because of this, we can’t escape the c-word, and we would never want to! Chastity is the key to a successful marriage because it allows us to keep the Lord primary and our physical desires secondary. Married persons are still called to respect one another’s bodies and souls—which means never using your spouse for purely selfish fulfillment.

So how does chastity before marriage foster chaste marriages?

1. Fidelity insurance:

When you have sex with someone outside of marriage, you learn that they are willing to have sex with someone they aren’t married to. Chastity in dating conditions us to avoid tempting situations not just in the moment but in the future as well. This is one reason why a man who is married as a virgin, has a divorce rate that is 63 percent lower than a non-virgin. For women, it’s 76 percent lower.[1]

2. It makes it easier to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP):

Natural Family Planning is an amazing practice that helps couples use women’s God-given cycle to determine windows of fertility. If, through prayer and discussion, a couple determines they should avoid pregnancy, NFP helps them to know when to abstain from intercourse.  Chastity before marriage conditions a couple to work with God after marriage in order to make decisions about when to engage in or abstain from sexual relations.

3. Virtue breeds virtue:

A person who practices chastity learns temperance and moderation. It seems obvious that this would produce self-control in communication, finances, parenting and life decisions in marriage. Chastity has a positive ripple effect and when started early on, the ripple will be even wider!

4. Chastity helps us carry Christ from our dating relationship to our marriage:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it clear that all who are baptized are called to chastity at every stage of life. It goes on to say that the Christian has “put on Christ” who is our perfect model for chastity. A marriage takes three people: a man, a woman and the Lord. Having a Christ-centered dating relationship is great, but having a Christ centered marriage is sacramental. When Jesus is present prior to marriage He is able to bring about His full plan for his presence from the first day of matrimony on into Happily Ever After.

Let’s remember that just because a relationship is chaste, this doesn’t make it bullet-proof. All relationships are subject to temptation, which is why practicing chastity early on helps us build strength.  Imagine your soul as a spiritual weight-lifter. The more you condition your spiritual muscles to grow, the more you will be equipped to handle heavier burdens in the future. When we say yes to God through chastity, in every stage of life, we find that He is never outdone in generosity.

katieKatie Hartfiel is an author and speaker dedicated to sharing the intense love of God. She graduated Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she received a degree in Theology. She served as a youth minister for seven years in Houston, where she now resides with her husband, Mark, and two daughters. In 2012, Katie released her first book, Woman in Love (available at This work coaches young women as they strive for purity through praying for and journaling to their future spouse. She has been blessed to watch hearts come alive with the realization that our faithful God hungers to exceed our deepest desires.



  1. I wanted to share something my friend wrote over the weekend. I thought it was really beautiful… he has allowed me to share this in hopes to give men strength and women pause to reflect.

    Please read especially if you’re a girl: After my week of exploring the superficial meat-market world, I have never felt more guilty as a man for ‘my kind’ to have convinced you that the surefire way to get noticed by guys is to take your clothes off. I wondered if many of the girls looked at their pictures and thought, “Yeah, I respect me.” I’m here to say, as a guy, it breaks my heart to see many women seemingly unconvinced, at least in practice, that they’re worth much more than their bodies. It’s personal to me because most of my friends have been girls, especially in college where USD was 70% female (mine being the only male dorm on my floor soph. yr). I’m very ashamed to admit that both my romantic relationships and hook-ups have been too many to count, but I bare my sin to you hoping it adds credibility for having “been there” and reformed. Through all of this, I realize that I’ve NEVER felt closer to girls than with my amazing and beautiful “friend-girls” (that’s a word now). I’ve felt MUCH closer to these girls, just by being their friend, than ANY girlfriend I’ve EVER had. The level of intimacy I’ve shared with these BEAUTIFUL women “merely” as friends exceeds ANY physical and false sense of intimacy I erroneously thought was better. To share in their dreams, be their support, or even hold them as they cry is TRUE nakedness. To touch a woman’s soul and see her personality in her eyes is far more intimate than what our pop culture pretends to offer through sex. It’s tragic how mocked the “Friendzone” is because in it I’ve never felt happier or closer to my incredible and gorgeous friend-girls. “Settling” for friendship is NOT settling. Dont ever let a guy convince you differently. Take it from me, a guy who’s deeply cherished all the wonderful girls that have blessed me with their friendship, especially now as I reflect on these amazing women. Your friendship is TRULY enough. You don’t need to do ANY of “that” for a full and joyous experience of TRUE love. Period. If a guy challenges you on that, I’m here to say he’s wrong.

    “Nothing beautiful ever hurries.” ~ E.E. Cummings. Happy Sunday

    By Mikaela Greeven | 7 years ago Reply
    • Thanks so much for sharing that! What your friend wrote is truly beautiful and encouraging. Definitely needed to read that!

      By Ivana | 7 years ago Reply
  2. It’s so good to hear that this man has developed as he has. I truly believe men need to value themselves as much as women should.
    I hope this young lady is very proud of her friend. He reminds me of my husband and we are very happy respecting each other on a daily basis and we are 56 and 51.
    Love really does change everything and help us blossom, thank you for sharing. Kindest regards.

    By Dorothy Moss | 7 years ago Reply
  3. There are definitely going to be times in marraige when abstinence from sexual acts or especially coitis is needed due to health reasons and health issues. For example after childbirth. Also after a back operation; or any invasive medical proceedure in or near the reproductive areas (especially ‘hers).
    One of the main reasons I fell in love with my husband was his self-control and respect for me (to date unparalleled). Although in marriage everything changes. It’s real. It’s ‘game on’. It becomes complicated and intensly important to everyone that you continue truly love each other; and as the years progress and the family /ies get bigger more lives are effected by your shared love. A strongly defended marraige builds strong communities. And the best defence is love.

    By Jemma Lawrence | 7 years ago Reply
  4. Thanks for your very inspiring and educative writeup. How can one enhance chastity with fasting?

    By Comfort Ani | 7 years ago Reply

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