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The 36-Year-Old Virgin

How abstinence champion Lakita Garth kept the faith during the long years before her wedding night—and beyond.

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Lakita warns single Christian women against "missionary dating," or trying to convert unbelievers while you get emotionally, and too-often physically, entangled. "You can't be the key to his spiritual maturity," she says. Lakita always realized that, because of her strong convictions to be holy, her dating pool would be smaller—which was okay with her. "To be single was to be undistracted in my devotion to God," she says.

When Lakita's relationship with Jeff became serious, they developed boundaries—which she notes many mature singles don't do—and stuck to them. The key to making it work? "The boundaries have to be backed by conviction." She emphasizes that her friendship and business relationship with Jeff was the foundation upon which romantic love blossomed in its proper time.

Lakita's testimony of bold sexual purity has garnered much attention, in and out of Christian circles. As a single, she was featured in Essence magazine, and last year she shared her just-married bliss with the ladies of ABC's The View and readers of People. Now, almost a year into married life, she still says, "I'm so glad I waited. Everything is new and exciting. It's like going on a rollercoaster for the very first time!"

Her final word to singles: "Keep your options open." God's perfect mate for you may not look or sound like your "fantasy mate."

For more information about Lakita, visit www.lakitagarth.com. Pamela Toussaint speaks and writes on issues of holiness in singleness. She is coauthor of His Rules: God's Practical Road Map for Becoming and Attracting Mr. or Mrs. Right (WaterBrook Press) with Christopher Burge. Visit her at www.hisrules.com.

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The 36-Year-Old Virgin