Why I'm Not Waiting For My Husband?
I once heard a man say, “a beautiful wife doesn't keep a man from cheating, only thing that will keep a man from cheating is his love for God.” Interestingly, this is how I feel about waiting! What I believe this man was saying was true faithfulness is a characteristic of the heart rooted deeply in unwavering devotion. Similarly, in a world where many women aren’t necessarily sure when they’ll “jump the broom,” I’m convinced it must be that same form of devotion that would empower a woman to wait…to remain steadfast…to endure! I made this decision when I was an eighteen year old sophomore in college. Yes, high school and college, and now in my mid twenties, I am still committed to my decision to wait until marriage to have sex. And now more than ever, I am realizing this decision has more to do with my relationship with God than my relationship status.
In a culture that’s pretty much obsessed with sex, sexual expression, and sexual orientation, I’ve been pretty open about my decision to abstain. I’ve written blogs, taught classes, and have traveled the country telling teens about my story. A story positioned against a backdrop of teen pregnancy, drugs, gun violence, and growing up in New Orleans. A story i’m sure many wouldn’t deem conducive to my decision to wait, but nonetheless, a story that has. Two months ago, I taught a six week series about waiting to a small group of middle and high school students at a local church in the Atlanta area. After the series was complete, a women asked if I’d teach a similar course to adults. I was reminded of why I made this decision in the first place. It wasn’t because I had the highest self-esteem, I couldn’t get a date, or because I was raised to wait. In retrospect, I can honestly say it was because of my love for God!
Therefore, I have concluded, I am not waiting for my husband. I am actually waiting for God. Someone recently told me this statement was revolutionary. At the time, I didn’t fully understand why, but now I get it. It is revolutionary because it flips not only society’s, but the believer’s values on sexuality and marriage right-side up. It put’s the emphasis back on God. It says, my reason and my goal for abstaining is and will always be God! Even when i’m looking at my watch and thinking, “Bae should have arrived by now,” my reason for waiting is God. When i’m thinking, “why not? I’m gonna marry the guy i’m dating anyway,” my reason for waiting is still God. When my flesh is strong, my faith is weak, and a temporary fix like porn or ____ (fill in the blank) seems appealing, (if I can be real) the idea of a man at the end of the alter just won’t suffice, only a man hanging from a cross will. So again, my reason for waiting has to be God.
What I love about this type of mindset and lifestyle is it creates a space for dialogue around the process of waiting. Process meaning, not what will it do for my marriage—future, but what is it doing for me right now—process. Many people aren’t interested in the process of things. Isn’t this why we send invites to graduation rather than to the hours spent studying for the exam? Maybe it’s because the middle is always the hardest or we second guess whether we’ll achieve our goal. Thoughts like this sometimes cross my mind too. How long will I wait? Will I compromise when the end of the road isn't in sight? Trust me, I haven’t always waited properly. Over the years, I have placed myself in situations that I know for a fact were putting my goal on the line, leaving me full of regret and shame. This is why I believe we must invite people into the process. What’s sweet about the process is it provides accountability, encouragement, and community. Often when we hear those beautiful stories of people refraining from sex until the knot is tied, we get the happily ever after, rather than the front lines of the waiting journey, i.e. “I waited,” rather than, “I’m waiting.” This can sometimes confuse the goal of waiting. When the goal is God (pleasing Him and bringing Him glory), we invite others into our process. Even if our process is smooth sailing on a beach in Hawaii or rocky road on a street in downtown Atlanta, we should always invite others in.
My heart in writing this is not to rebel against marriage. I love marriage. I desire to be married someday, but for now God has revealed that there is still more ministry for me to do in my singleness and this is it! My desire is that people will be inspired to wait; to wait because you love God, to be empowered in your waiting journey, and to connect to a supportive community. To those of you that may feel like it is too late, maybe you’ve already had sex (and lots of it), maybe you’ve had children, been divorced, or never had the opportunity to make this decision for yourself, my hope is that you will understand that when you’re waiting for God there is always grace, healing, and restoration. My deepest desire is for others to see that there is beauty and blessings in being devoted to God in this way. It's a journey not of misery, but of freedom and love with God. There is truly beauty in waiting!