Anyone who has walked the road can tell you…saving sex for marriage is a challenging journey.
You can listen intently to people who say it is worthwhile and read all about it and see some concrete fruits of it in your dating relationships, and believe wholeheartedly that it will all have been worth the wait if you enter into a new life with a carefully chosen spouse. Everyone who makes this choice makes it for a different reason… some make it for reasons based on faith, some people make it for health reasons, and some people recognize the many benefits outside of faith that come along with such a commitment. Whatever the rationale behind the choice, it is a challenging journey filled with tough decisions, hard conversations, and plenty of snide commentary and patronizing remarks.
This decision, however, is not like other tough long-term decisions. Consider a weight loss journey – when you decide to lose 40 pounds—you work off 10 and you can feel yourself thinking… wow, this is worthwhile. I’m going to keep at it even though it’s really tough. When you have tangible proof that every little hard choice of healthy eating and exercising has made a difference within days or weeks, it makes it easier to press on.
But this commitment is not like a weight loss journey, or paying off your graduate school loans little by little and watching the dollar amount go down… there is no way to really know in the thick of it just how worthwhile it will be to endure all the name-calling and laughter in a world that tells you sex is as casual and commonplace as ordering a pizza.
I have walked the road with all it entails. This is what I have learned; I want to share it with you from the other side.
Saving sex for marriage is worthwhile because the day after your wedding night you see this ring on your left hand. I picked a sparkly double row diamond band and he chose a white gold pipe cut band. We shopped long and hard to find the perfect ones.
There is a common misconception about wedding rings, and I know this because I am a woman who has been in conversations with groups of friends about attractive men observed in public… women trying to check to see if there’s a ring… when they see the ring on his left hand flash by… “Darn it, he’s married!”
Here is the thing… this ring does not just mean he is married… his ring is a sign that a woman promised her life to him. The ring is a sign of her promise, not his. The one she wears is the sign of his promise… as he puts the ring on her hand he says to her, “I give you this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.” So when you see a wedding ring on someone’s hand, it is a concrete sign there is someone, somewhere in the world who promised to love that person forever.
On New Year’s Eve 2015, I woke up with a sparkly wedding ring on my hand. The day before, my spouse had placed it on my hand and promised to love me—in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for all the days of his life. Waiting until that ring was on my hand to give my virginity to a man was the best decision I have ever made (other than my decision to follow Jesus, of course).
Why? Because this ring did not leave any room for worry. This ring eliminated any possibility of regret, panic, or fear. This ring made it impossible for me to worry about what would happen next… it eliminated the questions that can fill people’s heads after sex with a stranger, with a boyfriend or girlfriend, with a friend…. Will he call? What is she thinking? What did I just do? Are we now in a relationship? What happens now? What if someone finds out? What if I get pregnant? Should I feel guilty?
This ring on my hand was the assurance that none of those questions were necessary. This ring meant he would call. It meant that he would still be around in 3 weeks, 6 months, and five years. It meant that if I got pregnant, he would be right beside me for every moment of the pregnancy, of raising a child, of seeing that child into adulthood. It did not leave any room for feeling guilty, sad, regretful, or scared… it only made way for feelings of deep joy, peace, and the knowledge that I am loved—all of me—exactly as I am.
Do not let anyone convince you otherwise…
Waiting until that ring is on your hand is the best thing you could ever do for your current self, your future self, and your future marriage.
It is a worthwhile decision to save sex for marriage—whether you ever end up getting married or not. And you know…if you have not waited until that ring was on your hand… you can decide to begin anew today. I have countless friends who came to an impactful day in their lives when they decided… from this day forward, I will wait for my husband or wife. Do not underestimate the power of our good God who promises to make all things new.
My friends, there is often great difficulty in making commitments which uphold our dignity, worth, and value—these resolutions consistently go against everything the culture proclaims from the rooftops about who we are and what is good and what love is. But these are the decisions which bring about true fulfillment, lasting peace, and authentic love. These are the decisions you will never regret… these are the decisions which made our wedding night beautiful.
Emily 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 www.emwilsonmusic.com.