Chastity: It isn’t about the rules

We had just gotten engaged two days before and were at daily Mass together. I told Daniël we should ask the priest for a blessing, because he was the first priest we had come in contact with since we got engaged.

So after Mass we saw the priest, introduced ourselves, and asked him if he would give us this blessing. This conversation ensued:

Priest: First of all, you guys know the rules right?
Daniël: The rules?
Priest: Yeah, the rules. The rules about you being engaged.
Me: What rules?
Daniël: Father, please explain further…
Priest: Just because you’re engaged doesn’t mean you’re married. You don’t get to do the things married people get to do.
Me (Sensing where he is trying to go): Are you talking about sex? Are you talking about how we’re not supposed to have sex until we’re married?
Priest: Yes.
Me: Well…….yeah. Obviously.

This was an awkward encounter for me. He gave us a very nice blessing after our discussion, but I was sad at the fact that he didn’t take a moment to rejoice with us before telling us in a very strange way that just because we are engaged does not mean we can break the “rules.” I find no fault with this priest, as many couples do not choose the same road that Daniël and I have chosen and for some this teaching is not obvious, and I must give him the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to shepherd us in the best way he knew how. After all, he probably sees plenty of couples living other lifestyles, and has to be courageous about calling them to be chaste.

But as I thought about my feelings about with the encounter, I thought about how the world thinks along this vein, too…we have loved one another for nearly two years now . . . gosh, we must be desperate to have sex with each other. This is not the case at all. Abstaining from sex until marriage has never been about following a “rule,” dreadfully waiting to be released from its confines. Nor are we in some massive hurry to get married so we can bring that into our relationship. Why? Because our relationship is incredibly wonderful and fulfilling as is . . . our relationship has consisted solely of getting to know the heart of the other, which has always made me comfortable, happy, and confident throughout our entire dating process. I have never for a moment wondered if I am being used for my body, and I have never questioned what Daniël’s love for me is based on. I am grateful. We decided together to follow the laws of God because we know that God decreed these for the good of our human hearts.

The world tells us all day long about how sex is an integral part of any relationship, while most often forgetting to tell us that there are many avenues by which you can show your love to someone other than physically. It tells young people that if you do not know your partner physically and intimately, something is weird, something is wrong. Our culture says that healthy dating relationships are based on a good sex life, and nothing about sacrifice and deep, true, genuine, giving to the other. Just read the headlines on a few magazines for younger people . . . every other cover story seems to be about dating in regards to sex. I see no headlines or cover stories about sacrifice.

I have never had to give of my body to Daniël in order to make our relationship “normal,” nor am I in such a desperate hurry to give of my body to him that as soon as he puts an engagement ring on my hand I decide it’s the same as being in the sacrament of marriage. It’s not. And we know that. The gift of sex is meant for the sacrament of marriage in order to be bonded to your spouse in the most beautiful way, and no, being engaged to someone is not the sacrament of marriage. And that is perfectly okay with me, because when the day does come that we enter into this sacrament, it will be as it was designed to be. It will be within the correct context, the most beautiful context, the safest and most sure context of all—within a grace-filled sacrament in which we have made a covenant with God to love each other no. matter. what.

In the meantime, we will continue to love one another for the next many months of this engagement—supporting one another spiritually and emotionally, joyfully encouraging one another to grow to be the people God created us to be, and having a blast all along the way.


emilywilson_avatar_1386644975-300x300-2Emily Wilson planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but ended up as a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking and singing with people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in their search for their true identity. “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.” -St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. You can visit her website and listen to her music at


  1. Emily,

    Anyway, I was thinking about the kids that are preparing to receive Communion for the first time at the end of the month. I find it curious how none of them have asked to experience this Sacrament before the day that they receive it for the first time. They are all going to the First Confession before they receive Communion, but they never come to me to ask if they can receive the Communion before the day that has been prepared for them. If we saw the sacramentality of marriage being expressed through our bodies to the one that we have been joined to through marriage, wouldn’t it be easier to express the reason for waiting until we were married to have sex? (Rhetorical question)
    By the way, just as a matter of explanation, I was not ever told about the reason to wait or that there was a higher purpose to my sexuality before I got married, so it has been a struggle through almost 17 years of marriage to embrace chastity within a marriage for me. My wife and I have 3 boys and 1 girl, so the life giving quality of sex has not been lost on us. I pray that you and your husband are equally blessed, if that is God’s will for you, and I pray that everyone who reads your post sees the beauty of God that is expressed through your words and your life.

    In Christ,


    By Jason Roebuck | 6 years ago Reply
  2. Thanks so much for posting this, Emily. This was such a great and moving read. What a beautiful testimony.

    By Tammy | 6 years ago Reply
  3. Thank you, Emily! That’s just about one of the best things I’ve ever read. I wish the whole world felt that way but mostly I want my children to hear this particular message over and over again so that becomes the norm, not all of the fake stuff the world is throwing at them. God bless you and your work!

    By Kelly Long | 6 years ago Reply
  4. Why would you ever have sex together at all once you’re married? If you don’t desire to do so, which you clearly don’t, as evidenced in this article…..

    By Broken Hearted | 6 years ago Reply
    • That’s rather harsh. You assume that because they don’t rush into sex, they have no desire for each other? Perhaps she is too modest in her writing for modern people to clearly understand.

      By Pam | 6 years ago Reply
      • I’m not being harsh at all, I’m being honest. And by this article, she makes marital sex sound like a Chore or errand or, after they get back from the wedding reception, “Oh Honey, by the way, isn’t there something we’re supposed to do tonight? I cant seem to remember…..”

        By Broken Hearted | 6 years ago Reply
        • Broken Hearted,
          I think I understand what you’re saying. But, I also understand what Emily is saying. I dont think they aren’t sexually attracted to eachother. If that was the case it’s not a good idea for them to get married. But, I think that they are deeply satisfied with their love as it is. They are engaged, though. So, they aren’t apathetic about their stage in their relationship either – they want to get married so I’m sure they want to have sex. But they’re enjoying every stage of discernment and it’s fulfilling even though there is no sex. 🙂
          P.S. I’m sorry you are broken hearted. I will pray for you that God will heal your heart. Remember you are loved so much – speak to Him about your brokeness and surrender your heart to him. Even if you do so piece by piece. God bless you!

          By Michelle | 6 years ago Reply
          • Thanks, it’s a long and agonizing story that has caused me to lose all interest in Catholic women.

            By Broken Hearted | 6 years ago
  5. Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming marriage. You two are on such solid ground that it’s going to be a great one. I am sad & sorry that you weren’t met with Joy and celebration and that the priest missed the beautiful opportunity to bless you in the spirit of support and sanctity. I mean seriously……how many couples even ask a priest to bless their engagement ?????? I surely didn’t. One would think a priest would do backflips if a young couple asked for this. We need to pray that our clergy can see the best in their flock and not assume the worst. Their task is tough and they get discouraged.

    By Just Jane | 6 years ago Reply
  6. iIread these articles and I am a mix of happy (for the couples) and totally jealous of them. Like where on earth do you find men like this!? Everything from the media to my own life experiences tells me that I legit have to wait for a MIRACLE, if I want the same thing:( You described my ideal situation and It’s just really sad because I don’t think it’s possible to find.

    By Leah | 6 years ago Reply
    • Hi Leah! I’m in the same situation you are, especially after got a broken heart. But i do hope in God I’ll find joy in my life no matter if is in marriage or not, I’m confident He has a plan for me and for each of us, a plan that will fill us with joy and specially with His love.

      By Mary | 6 years ago Reply
    • Leah, I’m a guy who loves Christ and is Catholic……

      By Broken Hearted | 6 years ago Reply
    • Leah,

      There are PLENTY of guys out there who are like this and you don’t need a miracle to find them. Where you are at in life will depend on where you find them. If you are a teen, I recommend a youth group. If you are in college, get involved in The Newman Center on your campus. If you are older, find social activities in your area where you have the opportunity to meet GENTLEMEN (not boys only interested in a fast hook-up). I’m in my mid-30’s and because many Catholic parishes don’t offer much of anything for people in their 30’s, I go ballroom dancing and I’ve gotten involved in book clubs. Also “birds of a feather flock together.” Ask close friends of yours who have the same morals as you do if they have any single friends. Recently, I went on a blind date with a girl who one of my coworker set me up with. Even though she was a cute single mom who was highly interested in me, I had to break it to her that it wasn’t going to work because we lived over 4 hours away from each other. I know too many people who have had negative experiences with online dating (even Catholic and Christian sites) so I don’t recommend those. Also, keep praying for your future spouse, and ask The Holy Spirit and Your Guardian Angel for guidance. I hope this helps.

      By Andy | 6 years ago Reply
      • Yeah, I do believe they exist, I just wish it was more common. It feels like finding a needle in a haystack ,but it will be worth the effort to never settle. I’m also only 21 so I also have to practice patience haha!

        By Leah | 6 years ago Reply
        • Leah, you how what the easiest way to find a needle in a haystack is? Bring a magnet. Be the magnet. Be the woman that when you are out of the room, all the guys say, “I would marry that woman in a heartbeat.” Don’t be the woman all the guys want to hook up with or just date. Be something better. Be something more. And then you will find that one guy who is the needle in the haystack. Remember, you deserve a man who is one IN a million, not one OF THE million

          By Andy | 6 years ago Reply
          • Yeah:) I’ve been told many times I’m the type of girl you’d marry. Being 21 I just know I’m going to have to wait a while. Thanks for your advice!:)

            By Leah | 6 years ago
  7. Congratulations

    By Dominique | 6 years ago Reply
  8. How can I ask a question??

    By Danika | 6 years ago Reply

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