The wedding is done. You’re husband and wife, and as the reception comes to a close your big day isn’t quite over yet. There is still the wedding night.
Whether it’s something that makes you giggle or be filled with anticipation, it’s a big deal to every bride (and groom).
To say I was eagerly looking forward to my wedding night is an understatement. I’d diligently looked for the perfect undergarments, talked with married women about their experiences, and mentally and emotionally prepared myself for what was going to take place. I was excited! I loved Vince, and I was ready (so ready!) to experience all of him and to be experienced by him.
When hopes and dreams aren’t what they seem
My husband and I were virgins on our wedding night. One of the popular wedding night analogies of the purity movement, that could have applied to us, compared a person’s virginity to a perfectly wrapped gift. You wanted to be able to give your spouse this beautiful gift on your wedding night. You didn’t want it to be crumpled, ripped opened, and damaged.
This message, although well meaning, unintentionally implied some things:
- It accidentally shamed those who had been abused or had made choices they regretted. A crumpled package can’t be made beautiful again, right? This imagery ignored the biblical reality that we all start off a sinful, crumpled mess. Only the perfecting power of God’s redemptive love takes our brokenness and makes it beautiful.
- It assumed your new spouse would know how to unwrap the gift.
Message number 1 is a powerful one, and one that my sister, Ashley, handles eloquently in the first article of this series: Reclaiming Purity: Unpacking the Unintended Messages of the Purity Movement.
I’m here to talk about message number 2. A generation of girls made an abstinence pledge with the doe-eyed hope of a passionate wedding night only to discover their new husbands (who often were virgins themselves) had no clue what they were doing. Depending on how good your communication with your new spouse was, this night could still end up being sort of what you hoped and dreamed for. But, it could also end in frustration. Your first sexual encounter, what you had been waiting for and saving yourself for, could seem to be a disappointment.
Missing the Point
Somewhere along the line you began to believe a lie. A lie that the goal of your wedding night was passionate, hot sex. And perhaps you even went as far as to think that by saving yourself for this, it’s exactly what God would bless you with. Even though you had no sexual experience, natural instinct would take over, right?
If you are headed into your wedding night a virgin, thinking that means God is going to bless you with crazy, hot sex, you’re unfortunately focusing on the wrong thing. That and Hollywood and culture have influenced your perception of sex more than you may have realized.
Your Wedding Night and Every Other Night that Follows
But, if being a virgin doesn’t help you have better sex on your wedding night, what is it good for?
Well, it may not help you have hot sex on your wedding night, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to help you have better sex. You see your wedding night isn’t just about love-making. It’s about laying a foundation of sexual intimacy on which your future sexual experiences together can be built. It’s about knowing your spouse in an intimate way that no one else does and no one else ever will, and it’s about being known by your spouse in the same way.
The Hebrew word for sex between a man and women in a covenant (marriage) relationship is “yada,” which is translated as, “To know, to be known, to be deeply respected.” Nothing about pleasure, orgasms, or living out fantasies. It’s something so much richer, so much deeper. It’s something that transcends the physical, although knowing each other physically is a part of it.
In her book, “What Are You Waiting For?” Dannah Gresh digs into the word yada and unpacks what it means in the context of married love and our relationship with God. It’s a great read that I highly recommend if this little word intrigues you…and by little word I mean “yada,” which is a word for sex. So yeah, I’m pretty sure everyone is intrigued, right?
The Value of Virginity
Although virginity doesn’t make you more valuable as a person, it does have value. It is God’s heart that a husband and wife are to be known solely by each other, so of course it has value. Virginity helps with yada.
So how did Vince’s virginity and my virginity help with yada? The ease at which we were able to be vulnerable with one another. The absence of any sexual baggage from previous relationships. The delight in knowing we had abstained from all others, that we had waited for years not knowing if or when this moment would come, but we still chose to keep ourselves set apart for each other. We did it to honor each other and to honor God. Our waiting was rewarded with a natural intimacy.
Now if you are reading this and becoming discouraged because you are no longer a virgin, let me extend some hope. You can know yada with your spouse someday. It’s by no means lost for you. Jesus is in the business of restoration. He can take your sexual regrets, even things that have happened to you that were out of your control, and bring healing so that you can experience the depths of sexual intimacy with your spouse. But it won’t be an easy journey. To heal will require surrender, forgiveness, and vulnerability into your heart and your pain. Complete transparency.
When we do things outside of God’s design there is always a way back as long as there is breath in our lungs, but there are also consequences. The restoration process is work. It’s work that reminds us why it would have been easier to follow His design to begin with. It’s work that proves He did have our best interest in mind after all. It’s hard work, but it’s work that is always worth it!
God’s way is the best way. His design for sex within marriage and only marriage is the best design. Don’t just read those words, cherish them, trust them, BELIEVE them. God’s way IS the BEST way.
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9
What Vince and I gave each other on our wedding night was far better than sexual prowess. Our lack of sexual experience with others helped us lay a strong foundation for sexual intimacy, for knowing and being known. The skill may not have been there, but with our foundation the pleasure of sex has only increased as we have learned each other better. Waiting wasn’t always easy. Mistakes were made along the way that required God’s grace, but I’m here to tell you that saving myself for awkward honeymoon sex was worth it. It only gets better from there. 😉