When I wrote about sex and the single Christian girl, I cringed the entire time I wrote it. But I look back now and have to laugh a little bit because (and I admitted this then) it’s super easy to talk about something when it’s only a theory. Because I wrote it when I wasn’t dating. Let me be more specific: I wrote it when I had been divorced for a good solid year or so and had not even been looked at by a man in like twenty-five years, let alone asked out even once. Which is like telling people to not eat junk food while you yourself are stranded on a deserted island with only some coconuts and plant life. In other words, I wasn’t living it; I was just talking about it.
But this topic came up again for me recently as, you know, I was dating for a while there, and as I had the privilege to speak to a couple single moms’ groups, and during the Q&A (that happened to include Tall-Shadow, which was simply precious) – both times – the questions came up of: are you waiting to have sex and, if you are, how are you waiting when our culture deems sex outside of marriage as the norm?
Yes, we were able to answer that we were waiting. And as a woman who is now on this side of being remarried, I can say that we did, in fact, wait until our wedding night to have sex. (AND I AM SO FREAKING GLAD WE DID.)
But as to the other question, I was thinking about that one and it occurred to me that our culture has absolutely nothing to do with – for me, at least – why waiting was difficult. (And it was difficult. Dudes.)
It was difficult for me for a number of reasons.
Being divorced means that I was once married. And being married implies that sex was part of my life experience for a long season. It’s difficult to go without something that you once were used to.
But even more so is this, and hang with me here because this is super-rambly.
When God created Adam and Eve, he didn’t instruct them to court for a year and then have a year-long engagement and to go to premarital counseling and to read a bunch of marriage books. (Don’t write me about this; I know they “met” pre-curse and therefore pre-sin. Not my point.) He basically created them and told them to have sex. Think about it.
So in other words, God created us for sex. He created sex for us. It is a gift.
But here’s the thing. In our culture, we are told to go slowly before marriage – which I totally get! – (which builds intimacy). We are told to get to know each other through and through (which builds intimacy). We are told to spend copious amounts of time together to make sure we really do know each other (which builds intimacy). We are told to share our thoughts and feelings with each other (which builds intimacy). We are told to pray together and serve together and worship together (which builds intimacy). We are basically told to do everything a married couple should do to make sure that we are compatible et cetera, except for one thing.
Now, I am not saying that I’m changing my lifelong-held belief that waiting for marriage to have sex is the way to go. I’m not. The Bible says it and I believe the Bible is God’s word to us because he loves us and he wants to protect us. Bottomline.
But I’m saying that the reason it was so difficult to wait – for me – was because I was building an intimate and healthy relationship with a good, kind man who loved me well, and sex is a God-created, natural extension of a healthy, loving relationship. (Healthy marriage, I know, I know. Again, to be clear: SEX IS FOR MARRIAGE IF YOU CLAIM TO BE A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.)
So we waited. And it was super difficult, especially when biology basically has us wired up not to wait. And most especially, when the relationship is so sweet and life-giving. But, for me, it had zero to do with culture.
So, why am I sharing this? Because though we didn’t do all of it perfectly, just like we, as humans, aren’t doing our entire relationship perfectly, I wanted you to know that even though it’s hard, actual Christian single/divorced/widowed adults can wait. FACT.
If this post encouraged you (or challenged you!), you would benefit from some of my other divorce-related resources:
Free Lies We Tell Ourselves webcast
Living Through Divorce as a Christian Woman e-book
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage book
COURSE STARTING IN MARCH! Heartbreak to Hope e-course
You are invited to spend three months digging deep into your pain, processing your grief, feeling better and actually start thinking about your present and your future with more hope in my e-course, Heartbreak to Hope: https://elisabethklein.com/product/heartbreak-to-hope-coaching
MOST EXCELLENT ARTICLE!!! Going to share with this with the women in my DivorceCare group!!
Oh my gosh thank-you for this. I have had so many men ask me “Why wait when you have already done it?” Because the bible tells me so!! That’s why! Thank-you for this encouragement. Thank-you thank-you
Thank you for this! I too waited till marriage (second time) for sex and people thought I was crazy. I know it can be done!
Preach it! I love how you didn’t preach purity (esp. With that being a hot topic right now), but intimacy. That’s a far more powerful reality to uphold. Keep it real. And keep talking. And bless you and Tall Shadow!
i could have written this post! My second husband and I also waited until our wedding night and let me confirm it was HARD to wait! I thought I would lose my mind at times. But it was so worth it, I never experienced so much passion in my entire life, and not just on our honeymoon, but for the last 7 years. God knows what he’s doing my friends!
Thank you for keeping it real. I just finished up your book, Unraveling and I find it difficult to put into words how this spoke to me in my current situation. I’ve struggled lately w/ trying to diagnose (lack of a better word) the emotions/feelings that seem to be a little “foreign”. The book helped to validate my feelings and made me realize what I feel is “normal”… I needed that affirmation, thank you!
I think there is a lot of wisdom in waiting. I waited prior to my first marriage and while I don’t regret that choice, I sincerely wish we talked a lot more about developing a healthy sexual ethic instead of only telling our brothers and sisters in Christ, “Don’t do it.” A lot of times there is a lot of guilt and shame around sex and sexuality. We are told that our desires are wrong and little to no distinction is made regarding the difference between lust (which is predatory) and desire, which is healthy and normal. No shade, but even you are (understandably) a little uncomfortable talking about it.
The fact of the matter is that a 45-minute wedding ceremony does not undo a lot of the damaging messages that we have received and that we live out. We are told over and over and over again to wait and yet there is very little discussion around what a healthy sex life looks like in marriage. What does it mean to ask for what you want and need?
We need to have open and honest conversations about sex. Christian marriage is a sexual relationship. I don’t think it is the icing on the cake, it is the cake. We were created to bond and one of the ways that we bond with our spouse is physical intimacy.
Karen, I completely agree with all of this. Thank you for posting.