I remember the day I decided to save myself for marriage. I was 11 and my health class had just started a segment about STDs.
I was absolutely terrified.
At that age, I hadn’t yet developed my own relationship with God to understand the biblical necessity of my commitment. But fear was a good starting point. No marriage = no sex. So simple even a 6th grader could do it.
But then it got confusing.
I was in college when I first heard about purity rings, bands of silver or gold wrapped around the ring finger as a physical reminder of a promise to abstinence. Then, while hanging with some sorority sisters, I watched as they threaded colorful plastic pellets to create purity beads, cords long enough to tie around their waists. Only on their wedding night would the cord be cut by their husband.
During late night conversations in our dorm, as my friends planned to not kiss or hold hands with any guy until their wedding day, I listened with a growing sense of spiritual insecurity.
I know I’m not having sex until I get married but now I can’t even hold hands? I had no jewelry to signify my commitment to God. And I hadn’t even kissed a guy yet. But I wasn’t so sure I wanted to wait until my wedding day to do so. Does that mean I’m not a good Christian?
As I grew in Christ and with age, it became clear to me that, aside from abstaining from premarital sex, physical boundaries are not one size fits all. Some couples can peck affectionately without conviction. Others feel led to steer clear of all physical touch. And both can work, as long as the couple is seeking to honor God.
When I met my husband, I was not quite 30, far removed from the health class horror but still firm in my commitment to the Lord. We talked openly about our convictions and established what would be our boundaries. As our relationship progressed and we became acutely aware of, ahem, this thing called desire, we talked, prayed, and redrew our lines together.
If you haven’t thought about your physical boundaries yet, do so. Write them down and pray about them. As long as your boundaries fit and create a continuous path to God, you’re on the right track.
Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 32 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-). In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin. I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well. I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!