My problem involves my behaviors before I turned my life to Christ and how they're haunting me today. In the past five or six months, I've completely changed my life around. I grew up in a Christian family and accepted Christ ... I don't know how many times! In High School, I was all about living "the life," and then I got a serious boyfriend, college came, etc. I started thinking on my own, trying to run my own life as many young adults do. Let me fill you in on a little bit of my history.
- I dated a guy for four years in high school and college — he wasn't a Christian, we were sexually active.
- I dated on and off other guys for about year, sleeping around, thinking that's what it took to get over this guy — one night stands, you name it.
- I dated a guy from 2005-2007 — wasn't a Christian — we were sexually active — I found out in 2006 that I have HPV.
After my last boyfriend and I broke up, that is when I said, "OK, God, I'm through running my own life. You are my Father, my creator, my Savior and I need you." I turned to God and prayed that He would take over my life, and place His desires in my heart.
I can see the changes in my life. I'm more involved with Church, I'm in a Bible study for singles at my church, and my relationship with Christ has gone from "I don't need you" to "I can't live without you." I've recently made a promise to God that I will not be sexually active until I'm married; a freedom I never thought would feel so good!
Well, I started dating this guy who is ULTRA amazing! He leads a Bible study, he's a few years older than me, has a great job, and is hilarious. I wasn't attracted to him at first, but started to become more attracted as I started to hang out with him. I really felt like God had opened my heart and allowed me to like him. He is exactly what I would want in a husband, and in a father for my children. Great spiritual leader and everything else I've prayed for.
My fear is that my past will scare him off, especially the HPV. I've been praying about that and asking God to heal me, and I trust that He will. It may not be today or even next year, but I know that He will. But how can I continue dating this guy if my heart is going to be tugged into it, without bring this up? Should I let the right time come about, or should I wait until we're serious and start talking about marriage?
I know he has a past too, but I doubt he has an STD. He is forgiving and understanding, but when it comes to STDs, that affects both of us in the future. I'm worried that if things don't work out with this guy, that it won't work out with any guy who isn't willing to forgive or willing to marry me because of this filth in my body.
Welcome to the life that is in Christ! It's such a joy to hear from readers who have been transformed by His saving grace and who are on the path to making their lives more like His. Because your active faith walk is so new, church involvement and mentoring is essential. You need lots of models in your life right now who can help you see what a faith lived-out is supposed to look like.
When a person who's been going their own way suddenly accepts Christ's gift of salvation, that's just the first step. It's the starting point on a journey. But what follows is just as important. How you go about revising all your old habits and relearning how to make wise decisions is an essential part of the process. It's what theologians call sanctification.
And when it comes to dating, even long-time believers are in need of some major sanctification. Sadly, sexual activity among singles isn't that different within the church than it is in the world. For this reason, and because you do have some long-practiced habits that you'll be battling, I think it's important that you pay special attention to your dating circumstances.
You can do a lot on the front end to ensure success when things start to get serious. Things like not being alone together, but rather being together where other people can see you; spending time as a couple with other, more mature, married couples; getting wise counsel from women you admire who have themselves married well; and both of you having someone, other than each other, who's holding you accountable for purity.
The added benefit of being this intentional about how you date is that you should know fairly soon if this is a relationship that has the potential to lead to marriage. And intentional, biblical, dating is a lot better at protecting your heart (and body) than the world's way.
If your relationship does have long-term potential, then I do think it's important to tell your boyfriend about your HPV infection, but only when it's clear that he is interested in pursuing you for marriage. To do so prior to that is, I believe, to burden him with a responsibility that outpaces his commitment. This assumes that you won't be dating him (or any other suitor) recreationally, but intentionally. After all, you've seen first hand where dating for fun can (and often does) lead.
Rest assured, I do not believe his response will be the measure for how any other man would respond. You are not precluded from marriage because of HPV. You are forgiven. But you will need to find a man who is courageous enough to take on the potential consequences that HPV often brings. This one may be that man. But if he runs, he's not the final word.
The last thing you should do is believe the lies of the enemy that this is somehow the one unforgivable, unredeemable sin. It's not. Just keep pressing into God, growing in your faith and maturity, and seeking out godly mentors (Titus 2:3-5). He is faithful; a God who redeems the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).
Copyright 2012 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.