When I was younger, I decided that I wanted to wait until I was married to engage in all forms of sexual activity. In high school, this was easy, as I never had a boyfriend. Then, in my first year of college, I met Tyler. I grew to love him, wanted the best for him, and always wanted him to be happy.
I told Tyler right from the beginning of our relationship what my boundaries were, I made them clear and I was firm. I was going to go back to my own dorm room every night after our dates. I was going to sleep in my own bed, by myself. I was not going to do “everything but have sex,” either. Also, I was going to dress and dance in a way that reflected those boundaries. At first, Tyler was okay with them, but then, as time went on, he started pressuring me. He told me that he loved me so much, and he wanted to show me this love in a more physical way. He said that it was fine that I didn’t want to have sex, but that there were other things we could do. He said that “relationships are about compromise,” and “it’s not fair that you make all the rules.” I knew in my heart that although he thought he was, Tyler was not a man who would respect my boundaries or a man who would honor me. The kind of man I was looking for would not pressure me or try to convince me to do anything that I was uncomfortable with, just so that he could get what he wanted.
I tried to tell Tyler that the reason I didn’t want to have sex was because I think that such an intimate bond like sex should be shared with only one person—my husband. If Tyler became my husband, then he would have the privilege and the honor of receiving me as a permanent gift for the rest of his life. But, what if we ended up marrying other people? I wanted the guy I married to be the only person to receive that privilege.
Eventually, I broke up with Tyler. It was hard, and I was miserable for a long time. I even tried getting back together with him, hoping he would change, yet knowing in my heart that I had to move on, because I deserved a man who would fight for my values, rather than a boy who would try to convince me to “compromise.” I loved him so much, but at the end of the day, I was tired. Tired of being the “chastity police,” tired of being upset, tired of loving fully and not being loved fully in return. Tired of settling and yearning for what I knew I deserved. Just…really tired.
A couple years ago, I met someone new. I was still really missing Tyler, but I knew right away that James was very different from him. This new guy, James, saw me in a different light: I was a unique, irreplaceable human being. He never pressured me to go further than I wanted to. In fact, he didn’t just respect my boundaries, but he actually wanted us to have them. One day, he said, “I don’t want to go too far physically, because if things don’t end up working out between us and you marry another guy, I want him to know that I respected you.”
Things with James and I continued to go well, and one day, on a day trip to New York City, he got down on one knee, looked me in the eyes, and held up a ring. He said that he wanted to take care of me every day for the rest of his life.
James and I are currently preparing for our wedding day, even more than that, we are preparing for our marriage. But the truth is, we started doing that a long time ago. Even before we met each other, whenever we practiced self-control, discipline, and self-respect, and whenever we delayed immediate gratification for something greater later on, we were preparing for the demands of marriage. Also, every single time I said “no” to going further physically with Tyler, and every time James said “no” to going further with other girls, we were saying “YES” to each other…and we hadn’t even met yet!
I know that many people choose to engage in sexual activity before marriage, and some of them also live together, too. But I am so glad that James and I are not doing that. We don’t want to be robbed of the joy and excitement that the traditional newlywed experience brings. In the months leading up to our wedding, we are not just picking out the kind of silverware we want on our registry, but we are experiencing the excitement and anticipation for every aspect (both big and small) of sharing our lives together.
At the end of the day, your choices are your choices, and everyone has their own story. Choosing not to have sex requires hard work, dedication, self-control, and discipline. Don’t let that fool you: it’s not for perfect people. Rather, practicing this kind of loving patience when it comes to sex is for imperfect people who desire perfection. The way I see it is you can experience relationships the way the world says you should, and risk settling for mediocrity. Or, you can choose to work for what you truly deserve: an incredible, unconditional, sacrificial, pure, and selfless love. It’s NEVER too late to do that, no matter how many mistakes you may have made. So, if there is a small, soft voice tugging at your heart, telling you that were made for so much more, listen to it. I’m so glad I did.