Updated: Aug 10, 2021
I posted on social media today about being married 22 Years.
And abstaining from being sexually intimate with my husband until our wedding night.
And at the expense of being cancelled as speaking ‘purity culture‘ I know that talking about marriage, sex, these kind of choices, healing that can happen, restoration, forgiveness, healthy embodiment and more around this topic is hopefully helpful to some.
And this is only part of our story.
I coach and care for so many people journeying towards healing from deep, deep trauma in this area and I do not say this to hold to truth that could be interpreted in the wrong spirit. I have such a passion for people to find freedom in this area. So only read on, if you feel this could be helpful.
We did not have sex until the night of our wedding. We made a choice to wait, based on our belief in biblical encouragement like the following:
1 Cor 7.1 Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me.
First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? 2-6Certainly—but only
within a certain context. It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a
woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong
enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life
in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of
mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to
satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights."
Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.
Trust me when I say it was not easy to wait! The self control that was required by both of us (cause seriously all I wanted to do was make love to this man!!) was a huge test of the self control we would want to call on later when moments or opportunities or surprising chemistry may be felt elsewhere.
For us personally, knowing that we had proved faithful to this season, meant that there was honour, respect and trust later.
When one of us travelled.
When one of us felt distant.
When loss hits you hard and temptation is at your doorstep.
The waiting proved something of what was within both of us.
In a culture that wants to cancel you as a purity culture preacher when you say this, and in a culture that does not honour marriage as important, I really do feel like it is important to speak into. But it’s not because I am all about purity, it’s because I am all about restoration.
There is no shame or condemnation on anyone and their journey. And everyone can make choices at the very moment they may recognize a different option is available.
But let me speak into this scripture in a way in a way that may give some hope:
1. Sex is so good because sex is God’s idea
One of the huge challenges with a Christian culture is that you often are led to believe sex is bad, wrong and evil. Which is the exact opposite of the biblical truth.
It is glorious, sacred, good and so holy. So are our bodies by the way! And even more so because of this stunning design that causes such intimate pleasure when together.
Maybe some bodies need healing, need help, need teaching on what can work even better. There is no shame in reaching out for that help.
But the first lie to undo is that sex is bad.
2. There is a God-designed context for sex
This marriage context comes with so much misunderstanding. Because within the context of marriage is still so much mystery.
And challenge. And brokenness. And heartache.
But also so much beauty and glory.
A healthy marriage will create safety and security for intimacy to be experienced. It may take time for some to heal in this context. And that is ok.
It will have mutuality, permission, open dialogue, questions, curiosity, healing, forgiveness and more.
It will have kindness and mundane-ness. It will have scheduled nights and non-scheduled nights. It will have seasons where neither wants or feels desirable. And others where hormones are raging.
But here sexual intimacy can flourish.
Sometimes with help. Processing past. And growing.
3. Nothing in the marriage bed is undefiled when there is mutual curiosity & consent.
I choose to see the marriage-bed as boundless. And a journey to discover more about one another over years and years.
But it is here where there is a pulse on your whole marriage and it is always worth checking in on the pulse.
Anytime I have, it has led to some important connection that we have needed.
22 years on I am so glad we have grown and learned and used every inch of the constraints of our marriage to explore our sexual intimacy.
Friend reading this, we may have waited to have sex on our wedding night, but it did not make this area of our life flourish immediately.
Lots of choices to talk, keep healing, forgiving, getting help, prayer, and more talking, that’s what helped it flourish!
And for those who have not experienced fulfilment in their sexual intimacy, don’t stop seeking help!
And for those who have not had this experience either in their marriage, or outside of their marriage, Jesus invades this space with such love and grace and healing.
I will continue to love anyone who holds different views, around any of this. And I do not write this to say what I believe as truth to shame or condemn others.
But I cannot stop holding a healthy and growing marriage up as the most stunning example of the sacrificial covenant of grace and the most glorious vehicle for redemption.
When I got married I was not a virgin. My husband was. But what I discovered in covenant with Andrew was divine example of honest connection about how we had to navigate that. I found healing and restoration on the layers that needed more healing. And then such godly vision of our future.
I believe this gift is for everyone.
Don‘t give up on pursuing your freedom. It may take time. But you are worth it.
I love you!