I was 39 years old when I finally walked down the aisle to marry my husband, Tim. I'd abstained from premarital sex through 23 years in the dating world. Was it easy to wait? Hardly. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
When I was 16, friends invited me to a Campus Life Bible study. I'd been raised in the church, but God always seemed far away. Mom had died when I was 11, and I longed for someone who wouldn't go away. Daring to believe that God could be my lifelong companion, I committed my life to him. I began reading the Bible, and verses such as 1 Corinthians 6:18-20—which tell us to flee from sexual immorality and encourage us to honor God with our body—made me ashamed of my past sexual experiences. I decided to accept God's forgiveness and to remain abstinent from then on.
The Bible's poetic portrayal of a virgin bride wooed my heart with a longing for purity and innocence: "I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin" (2 Corinthians 11:2, NASB). I wanted to be virtuous and untaken, to experience the preciousness of waiting and of finally being presented to my husband. But being a passionate person in a sex-saturated society, how on earth was I ever going to be able to live up to my decision?
Thankfully, wise friends and mentors offered me great advice to help me resist temptation. I took to heart the words of my Campus Life youth leader who said I shouldn't go out with someone whom I wouldn't potentially marry. So early on I decided not to date men who didn't share my faith in Jesus.1