Wedding Nights and Wedding Rings


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.


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. I loved this post! So true! It’s going to be a wonderful gift to give to my husband, and my husband alone, when we marry. 🙂

    By Veronica | 5 years ago Reply
  2. some lovely sentiments but I have a few questions.

    The tone implies that if one has not been following a chaste life, whatever sex has been had has been attached to feelings of regret e.g. ‘should I feel guilty…?’ etc. Is that what you’re saying?

    Also it implies that sex before marriage is ‘as casual and commonplace as ordering pizza’ for people, but what about all the people that see it as something sacred outside of wedlock?

    By confused | 5 years ago Reply
    • I think what was said, if I understood the article correctly is that some people “may” have such feelings of regret having sex outside of marriage. I personally know people who have such feelings after such an experience, but perhaps not everyone has those feelings from having sex outside of marriage. Then it implies that by saving sex, a person would for sure not encounter those ill feelings in the many cases that people would. As to the “why” people would feel such things is too long to encompass here or in my knowledge, but I think things related to sex releasing chemicals in our brain attaching us to someone that isn’t our spouse can hurt a lot later and cause at least some of those unwanted emotions. There are reasons sex is better saved for marriage for non-religious people as well such as religious and I can tell you it holds women in great reverence to treat them with such respect and get to know them without having sex versus as an object which happens a lot in North American culture, especially from porn. God gave us “safety guidelines” in a sense, which is saving sex for marriage and having sex outside of marriage is perhaps like giving in to unhealthy eating and becoming overweight. God never wants us to be guilty and loves us unconditionally which is why He wants the best for us and gives us such guidelines to treat each other with love in the sacrament of marriage.

      To answer the part on, “what if believe sex is sacred out of wedlock?” It depends on what your defining sacred as. Are you defining it as religious rather than secular and also related to God? If so then God has told us in His word given to us in scripture how sex can be sacred which wouldn’t be outside of marriage. I truly believe sex, for religious reasons or not, brings the most long term happiness and family stability if saved for marriage, but no matter what God is eternally loving/forgiving and does not want someone to have unhealthy guilt for making mistakes and any day is a great day to treat sex and marriage for the beautiful sacrament that marriage is and gift of our sexuality. Especially when it comes to the amount of rape and sex trafficking we have in Canada and the United states.

      Thank you for putting your questions and opinions forward, I hope I at least partially answered what you asked. Have a blessed day and God bless 🙂

      By Jason | 5 years ago Reply
      • My problem with the narrative is that it treats guilt and shame as being dependent upon sex outside of marriage, when in fact, some individuals feel these feeling while saving sex for marriage. These feelings are not mutually exclusive to these conditions of saving sex for marriage or outside of marriage. I grew up in the Church and went to Catholic school for 16 years (you and your wife spoke at my high school years ago.) Guilt and shame were always present…I still feel guilty about things I shouldn’t associate with guilt. It makes me sad that the stories shown here and told in many cases completely exclude the fact that women and men who save themselves their whole lives still feel such feelings of guilt and shame inside a marriage in relation to sex. Where are those stories? Especially with regard to women, the Church does an incredible job of placing the ownership on a woman and sharing their stories of waiting for marriage.

        Also, why the focus on the United States an Canada? The Church shares these ideals globally, and western culture and societal norms are most definitely not the most progressive out there.

        By Anonymous | 5 years ago Reply
    • There is nothing “sacred” about commiting a mortal sin. Yes, they do experience intense emotion, but that isn’t the same thing. Sex before marriage creates emotional attachments during what should be a time of discernment (falling “in love” with the way they make you feel rather than the person) and makes it easier to overlook red flags. People stay together much longer than they should and divorce rates are high (if they even marry at all). It’s even worse if they cohabit because then they share a home as well. The other problem is people wait too long to marry, which also increases the odds of divorce (sort of like a bell curve in that you don’t want to marry too soon but waiting more than a few years is also a bad idea).

      By Stephanie Potter | 5 years ago Reply
  3. I could not agree more. My husband and I are about to celebrate our first anniversary. Everything you said was so true about my experience in saving sex for our wedding night.

    By Stacey | 5 years ago Reply
  4. Every word in this piece resonates the Truth. Thank you!

    I was the young woman who didn’t save my virginity, but the Lord rescued me from my life of sin and I began again. My next relationship was HIS way, not mine. We put Christ in the center of all we did, and though we still struggled not to blur the lines, we fought every single day the battle of purity so that, by the grace of God, we might present ourselves to each other totally in marriage. Three months ago at the altar in front of our families we shared our very first kiss, the only kiss I have ever waited and worked so hard for- now every kiss is a treasure. And on our wedding night, my virgin husband and I shared a pure love, redeemed by Christ and blessed with the healing hand of the Spirit – nothing compares to living God’s way. Saving sex for marriage, even after my many mistakes, was the best thing I have ever done (aside from choosing to follow Christ, of course;)).

    By Anna | 5 years ago Reply
  5. I totally agree. This is a great piece. True love waits . I will share this to my only daughter. Thank you for sharing.

    By Doris | 5 years ago Reply
  6. Love this article. I hadn’t thought about the promise behind and symbolism of the wedding ring in that way before, its awesome. I also really like the message of the security found in the vows.

    By James | 5 years ago Reply
  7. Wonderful post Emily!! You are so right about there being no fear, no anxiety and no room for doubt. Even in trial and dark valleys it’s like the answer is so simple and non complicated. We are now one and we can do this with God’s grace and love!-Love and blessings, Lauren

    By Lauren Moore | 5 years ago Reply
  8. Very honest article, I never realized before that people who have sex outside of marriage have so many things to worry about.

    By Lydia | 5 years ago Reply
  9. This is all well and good, but marriage is not an absolute guarantee, for any length of time. The truth is people cheat, including very religious people. And people die, sometimes early and unexpectedly. So by all means, wait until marriage if that’s right for you. But not because there are guarantees in marriage. There are no guarantees in life. Make decisions knowing that.

    By ann | 5 years ago Reply
    • Remember that you have time to choose a life partner who would want to walk with and love you for a lifetime and should spend more time picking a lifetime relationship than a car or a house for obvious reasons. Yes marriage is not guaranteed for an absolute length of time, “til death do us part,” but your life and good health is not guaranteed either. Marriage is still a much more guaranteed safe place to raise children and have a sexual relationship. I feel that in our secular world many people get a false meaning of love. Love is not a trade agreement for pleasure and company to never be lonely, rather it is a beautiful choice (emphasis on choice) to put another before oneself. In marriage it is so much so that two people die to themselves and become one such that it is a sacred mystery given to us by God. Marriage is quite difficult and the putting someone else first always out of love is quite difficult as well, but here’s the good part. God fills us with the holy spirit and is always there supporting us all we have to do is accept His love and mercy in prayer and choosing to love Him back. Truly the greatest love story is God loving us so much, and especially you :), that he sent His only son to die for our sins. If you have other questions as to why He had to die for our sins and what sins and why that matters don’t hesitate to ask c: Then comes the reason for His love and support being important is that God is there to strengthen our marriages and help us in all times including utter distress. I believe that if a couple truly loves each other and is filled with the holy spirit in receiving the Eucharist and prays together it is quite rare that a divorce should happen unless something quite aweful happens which would result in an annulment which would mean that there wasn’t love in the first place so for marriage first there needs to be love. I hope this sheds some light on the issue and remember to look to God for support and guidance and make decisions knowing God’s unconditional love for you and leaving some room for His guidance too c: last thing, remember marriage isn’t necessarily meant to make you happy or perfectly happy (search on YouTube “will I ever find the one – father Mike Schmitz” for a better explanation) and remember who loves you unconditionally (Jesus) and remember to give Him some love back c: God bless

      By Jason | 5 years ago Reply
    • Mortal sin is not “right” for anyone. People used to wait until marriage and the divorce and adultery rates were both under 10%. Today divorce is 50-60% (if they even marry at all) and adultery is committed in 60-67% of marriages. Death is part of life and the ideal marriage ends in death rather than divorce. Nobody knows for sure how long they’ll live. That is motivation to stay in a state of grace and to not follow today’s trend of dating 5-10 years before getting married (but don’t rush into it either). Learn self-control before marriage to be able to be faithful during marriage. Put your spouse first and do not lust after others (pornography). The biggest problems are when people put themselves and their pleasure before their spouses and families. Everyone needs to give 100%. I think that no-fault divorce has created a more self-centered mindset where people are more likely to cheat and/or divorce instead of working through their problems. People are more likely to run off with a new love interest and abandon their families.

      By Stephanie Potter | 5 years ago Reply
      • People who were not around during whatever previous “better” period they’re romanticizing, who do not have any older relatives or friends whose adult lives coincided with that “better” time, and/or who have not looked at unbiased research about that “better” time inevitably tell this sort of just-so story to justify their life decisions. Here’s the reality of the time before no-fault divorce was legalized in the U.S.: it was miserable for most people. Couples stayed in marriages with severe emotional and physical abuse because divorce was socially abhorrent and difficult to obtain. Financial dependence was common too, particularly for women, who had to put up with whatever behavior their husbands felt like dishing out, because the alternative was living on the street.

        My maternal grandparents had a marriage with a twist on the dominant paradigm, but it was equally awful. My grandmother had a HS diploma, and my grandfather stopped at 9th grade, then struggled with health issues. Since my grandmother was the breadwinner and the reliable earner — and divorce was both taboo and difficult to obtain — my grandfather put up with being physically and emotionally battered until the day she died. He was nominally Catholic, but lived in hell on Earth for all of his days, and you can bet that if divorce were an option for him, he’d have taken it.

        Another side effect of the “good old days” with no-fault divorce was that children were raised in homes where violence was the norm. Those kids who weren’t severely harmed or even killed by the violent parent grew up with an abusive model as their only template for marriage. My mother learned her template for marriage from her mother, and grew up to beat and emotionally abuse her husband (my Dad) and her kids. Fortunately, in the 80s, no-fault divorce was fully established, and even if it was more difficult for fathers to get custody, after a long, five-year court battle, my father won custody of me and my siblings.

        When people tell me that no-fault divorce was the downfall of the U.S. what they are also saying is that I, and other children in my position, have no right to grow up without being beaten black and blue, locked out of the house and left to roam the streets alone, emotionally abused, and threatened with death. They are saying we have no right to live in a home free from parents who enjoy terrorizing us and threatening our lives with weapons.

        My spouse also grew up in this kind of home, and also had an abusive mother. In addition to all the types of abuse I endured, he survived sexual abuse. And he is by no means in the minority. In fact, he considers himself lucky because his mother’s sexual abuse was all verbal/emotional. There was no physical contact. One in 4 girls and one in five boys will be raped or sexually abused by a relative, most often a parent, before turning 18. Yet, what proponents of overturning no-fault divorce laws are advocating is that children stay in homes with their abusers, even if they’re not intentionally endorsing this.

        I’m no fool — I can see with my own eyes that many of the people who wish to make divorce illegal are abusers themselves, and while they might put on a great show of religiosity, behind closed doors, they are making the lives of their spouses and children intolerable. Many of them blame their child victims, claiming that the children “asked for it.” My mother fits this description to a tee — she always talked about Jesus this and Satan that and declared that we’d be going to hell because we did not react to her abuse by curtsying and saying “Yes, mistress, and please, may I have some more?” And she’s hardly a minority. I have met many parents in my life who use the facade of Jesus or Moses or Allah to justify destroying their children in every way possible.

        And speaking of people who bloviate about the “good old days,” they are always the ones trotting out the lines about how beating your child black and blue and threatening to kill him is fine, because children nowadays are “spoiled” and “entitled” and “have it too easy.” I make it a habit to never trust someone who believes a child has it too easy if he is not being beaten, killed or almost killed, raped, emotionally abused, locked out, or financially ruined.

        By Ali | 5 years ago Reply
  10. This spoke to my heart, thank you 🙂

    By Sara Alessio | 5 years ago Reply
  11. Thank you so much for this! This post was so beautiful and inspirational- it brought tears to my eyes. It is not always easy but to choose chastity means to choose pure and true love. Society says that a love like that does not exist. Thank you for being the voice to stand a part from what society says about saving the gift of sex until marriage. God bless! 🙂

    By Janna | 5 years ago Reply
  12. Great message! The theology of the body helped me understand this even better.

    If anyone would like to read a poem of hope, I’ve written one.

    Please read and comment if you like it:

    By Lester Menezes | 5 years ago Reply
  13. look I am from Peru’m 15 years old and had sex last year when I was 14, my life will not be ruined if burned stages happily not got pregnant but my inexperience and my act of inresponsabilidad could contract a disease I am not the first nor the last is that this can happen ero is what if this happened; when I started to tell my parents (no family because I do not think they take good) but what if I’m sure if you think God can enter their pottery and you can enter as old glass and broken and God makes you gain as a glass new and pure and I have advised me that god can make us pure if we allow take our roads and rriendas of our lives, and it is true if we let god into our hearts our life changes Rezen pray follow the path of god will receive many bendiciiones and discover something very beautiful that I tell everyone we are all sons of the king and like all children of the king are all worthy of princes I say something I’ll be girl but I know more of what you may or may not believe until their children know more than you are with them draw near my brother believes that ethics and morals is bad hai who can help me if i rebellious teenager labentablemente I play my mother make paper xd

    By karol fernanda ñira burga | 5 years ago Reply
  14. I don’t know where to put this but what do you do if you’re confident in your heart you found the right person but she has you know slept around, even with one of your friends? I mean, I have had long conversations with her and there is just something almost mystical about our time spent together. But she sees sex as ok where as I, hence why I’m here, don’t. Granted I have been intimate in my life, but that’s as far as I’ve gone; no one can say ha, look at him, look how hypocritical he is. For all intents and purposes I pretty much have a clean conscience. And you know so does she, she has these very high standards… If I could I would “save” her, but I don’t know how…There is also this, I don’t know how to say this at all, but what do you do if you don’t feel church completely? You believe in God, you try to live honestly, but when it comes to the crucifying and all that you have a disconnect. I know these are kind of heady questions but I would appreciate help. Thanks

    By Sean | 5 years ago Reply
    • Hey Sean, not sure if you ever got an answer to this situation. The thing is you need to decide to what extent you honour yourself and the girl you’re in a relationship with. I’m not sure if she’s Christian or not but if she is you are both temples for the Holy Spirit and even if she’s not her body is still sacred. She, and you, have been made in the image of God and his fingerprint is stamped in both of you. There is inherent value in a person regardless of the choices they make or what happens to them. Sex, no matter the circumstance, will always be sacred and holy and good. There is no other way for one person to bind with another in such an intimate, vulnerable and personal way. You become one flesh with that person and so do your souls (soul ties) in a way that can be godly or ungodly. This is why there’s such a heavy emphasis on keeping it in a marriage as God intended from the beginning of man. Just like anything else which is good we can take it out of the right context which is when we fall into sin if we act upon it. So even if she’s okay with it there’s still the fact that you would be cleaving yourself to another person who may not be yours. Emotions are powerful things which is why the Bible cautions us on being mislead by our hearts.

      As for the church thing, there comes a point where you have to choose whether or not to say yes to God. As Christians it’s not just a case of being good people, we are followers of Christ. To better explain it would be helpful for some clarity for what it is you’re feeling disconnected to. The advice I would give is go and read the Gospels, then the letters of the New Testament (Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, etc) and watch some of the Steubenville Youth talks on Youtube. That will make it easier to engage with the message of Christ and an understanding of why the crucifixion and resurrection are the foundation of our faith. If you truly seek God he’ll never turn you away. I hope this meets you at the right time

      By Andi | 5 years ago Reply
  15. This is just how I feel it might not be the truth

    By Sean | 5 years ago Reply
  16. be how to explain , maybe that friend does not want to be blind ecucharte better let you see something you seriously believe this?

    I have a wonderful family .
    My parents have always been there for me .
    I have my mom but I do not pass this.
    Really I am calm .

    By kiara mia lira burga(karol) | 5 years ago Reply
  17. Emily, thank you so much for writing this. I have just come to a crossroads in my life where I have suddenly realized how difficult it will be to save everything for marriage. I have lived a rather sheltered childhood, with the purest of friendships and a wonderful family, but now I am just starting to see what the real world around me is like and have first-hand experiences with people who are not concerned with purity and chastity like I am. Just recently I found myself reeling because I came close to becoming involved in an impure situation, and I needed to make a solid decision to stand firm in the chastity and purity that I have always believed in, rather than give way to the pressures of the people around me. I spent considerable time in prayer for strength to stay with my resolve. Your article was so encouraging, and gave me such assurance that I was choosing the right path. Thank you so much.

    By Saved by Grace | 5 years ago Reply

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