I’m saving myself for marriage—five words that have the potential to send a man running, or at least that’s what I thought. Prior to meeting my husband, I often lacked the confidence to say these words aloud. I questioned how serious a relationship needed to be in order to share this part of myself, and at the same time, wondered if he would even desire me because of it. The crazy part is that I’ve always believed that sex is meant for marriage, that it truly is special and worth waiting for. But at that time, I allowed the world and its lies to get inside my head. My advice? The sooner a person realizes how untrue these lies are, the easier the dating world will be. If a man cannot respect you and, more specifically, your morals, he isn’t worth your time. And yes, it really is that simple.
I remember waking up one particular morning in college, and the guy I was currently dating had spent the night. We went out to the bars and partied the night before. And while we didn’t have sex, we had done some physical things that I’m not proud of. I remember thinking: what in the world am I doing? I was partaking in what the world designated as the hook-upculture, and it wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of. The amount of temptation sleeping in the same bed led to was so unnecessary and honestly, quite avoidable. Lying in bed with someone you are attracted to can make for a very intimate setting, and it certainly won’t make protecting your purity any easier and neither will partying. It didn’t for me. I was essentially setting myself up for failure. And on top of that, I remember feeling such shame. My shame led me to tears, but at that time, I didn’t understand why. I wasn’t having sex, right? Everyone around me was doing the same, if not “worse”, so why did I feel so lousy about it?
When we’re physical with someone, we become attached. With the hook up culture,being physical comes first. There’s no courting. No true dating. I didn’t even truly know these men. We never discussed our faith, our morals, or anything of true significance. It was all superficial. And by participating in partying and the sleepovers, my actions weren’t lining up with my beliefs. I would get attached to these men because I had shared myself in ways that were meant completely for my husband.
Needless to say, that “relationship” I mentioned above didn’t work out. And this type of “relationship” didn’t happen just once for me. It happened multiple times. Over and over again. And each time I kept wondering why wasn’t this working? Why aren’t any of these men living up to the standards I desire?If we keep doing the same thing, we cannot expect something to change. I used to be late for work daily. I’d tell myself every morning I was going to be on time, but then thirty minutes into drinking my coffee, I would put off getting ready. This would lead to leaving my house later than planned, which would then result in my latearrival. Again. We have to make changes if we want things to change.
So, what was the shame I experienced throughout my college dating years? God wanted more for me. That guilt was His conviction, and through this conviction I learned He had a better plan for me. He knew this wasn’t what I desired. It wasn’t the type of relationship He had placed on my heart. I was a girl who wanted to be sought after, to be treated respectfully, a girl who wanted acceptance. God loves us just the way we are, but too much to leave us there … Can you believe that the Creator of the entire universe cared enough about me to point me in the right direction? And He can do the exact same for you. I thank God every day for picking me up off of the ground and saying no to the men I thought were worth dating.
I think it’s important to mention that because of these past mistakes, the heartache induced by them took years to heal. That life never, ever made me genuinely happy. It not only lowered my self-esteem, but my standards for dating as well. And the more I lowered my standards, the more I settled for men who God did not want for me. Yes, God can make good from all things, and He most certainly did for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have regrets. I could have prevented so much heartache from happening. It took time for me to grasp that there were actually good men out there. I had to learn to say no to guys who didn’t share or respect my morals. There were certainly moments of loneliness and times of doubt. It wasn’t easy, but it was in these moments where I grew. I pressed on and held onto my faith. I knew God was calling me to marriage, and that He would get me there in time.
Here is what I’m certain of—if I’m a Christian girl, the man I’m dating should know this, which means there is no need to explain my virginity. If we are Christians, we follow what the Church teaches. We follow what His Word says. Sex is strictly bound for marriage between a husband and wife. We are to practice chastity. Do not allow yourself or anyone to put your purity at risk. I promise you, when we remain faithful to our God, even when the world makes us feel rejected and undesirable because of it (and trust me, they will), God will reward us. He will give us the very best, His best, and it will be better than we ever imagined.
Justine DiCarlo, a graduate from Indiana University, is a twenty-something Catholic gal who lived through the hook-up culture and made it to the other side. She has a passion for cleaning up the mess that is the world of dating by sharing her own heartbreaking experiences of her past single years. Her hope is for other women to avoid her same mistakes and to focus and center their lives on what God truly desires for His beloved daughters. She is the wife to a Catholic, God loving, rock-n-roll guitarist who inspires her to participate in the path God has called each one of us on, and an expecting mother to their first child this August. She is currently living in Kokomo, Indiana. Go Hoosiers! You can check out her website at giveitatwirlgirl.com.