“Just wait for marriage,” so I’ve been told. So I’ve waited . . . and waited. And as I’ve waited, I’ve begun to wonder, If marriage doesn’t come, what am I waiting for?
I remember the True Love Waits talks in middle and high school. The message was that sex was bad outside of marriage, but once I found “the one,” sex was going to be incredible—amazing even. I was encouraged to find “the one” fast so that I didn’t burn with lust and fall into sin.
The conversations I had with my friends—Christian and non-Christian alike—were the opposite of True Love Waits pamphlets. They freely shared about who they were dating and what they were doing. So I started to wonder if having sex outside of marriage was a big deal. But it became a big deal when they ended up brokenhearted, ashamed, and sometimes pregnant.
In light of teen pregnancy, STDs, and a world brimming with promiscuity, the message I heard was sexual desire had to be in the off-switch until I got married. Once the right guy came along, the on-switch could be turned on and stay on. Marriage sounded like it was about sex and little else.
These mixed messages and my confusion about my desires and sex made my twenties confusing. Especially when I wasn’t dating, let alone on the road to engagement or marriage. I struggled with feeling ashamed for even wanting physical intimacy in relationships. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was disappointing the Lord because I wanted things that were clearly only good in one context.1