"Are you really going to stick to your whole purity ring thing? Like, you know, wait until you’re married to have sex?" I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my friends would even consider asking me such a question. They knew my conviction on this subject. I was pretty open about it. I thought it would be normal in my circle of influence to wait until marriage to have sex with my husband. I thought that was a common conviction of women in the church. I thought all girls were being taught the same message about sex that I was taught at an Across My Heart retreat almost eight years ago. So why was it such a surprise to my friends that I was going to wait?
The devil has taken the message of purity and warped it - to make us believe that our virginity makes us worthy in God’s eyes. It has caused the church to turn sexual purity into an idol. Sexual purity is a gift from God, and it is just that - a gift. It reveals God’s heart to us. The gift of sexual purity should never take precedence over the Gift-Giver.
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.
I remember the day when I received my purity ring. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I was mesmerized by the glittering of the garnet stone in the sunlight. My parents explained to me what it meant to be pure, and how the ring was a symbol of a commitment.
I don’t think I fully got it. Even though my parents did their best to help me understand the holistic design for purity, my young mind oversimplified the concept of purity and made it solely about the physical aspect. As a brand new teenager who hardly even spoke to boys, I thought that the whole “purity deal” was easy. Of course I would be abstinent! I had been taught that sex before marriage went against God’s Word. I didn’t think that I would need a reminder of my commitment to purity.
I still wear my purity ring because marriage doesn’t fulfill our purity. It doesn’t cure impure thoughts. It doesn’t make us holier. If it did, then every verse on purity would only be for single men and women. But that’s certainly not the case! Last time I checked, the person you are before you get married is the same person who wakes up next to your spouse everyday…. bad breath and all. I had the same insecurities, the same internal struggles and the same need for purity the day before as the day after I said “I do.”