I’m a 31-year-old virgin. I’ve only dated one guy (briefly) about two years ago, and he was a divorcee. Anyhow, one of the desires I have is to marry a virgin also. I figure if I can resist temptation and wait that someone else of the opposite sex can do the same. But the older I get, the more I wonder if that is an unreasonable desire. Most in their 30s have had multiple girlfriends or even been married, divorced and might have kids by now.
It’s not that I don’t think God’s forgiveness is complete or that once you screw up, you’re damaged goods for life. I just simply would like to think, “If I can do it, my future spouse can do it, too.” Face it. It’s pretty disheartening to fight through temptations, beat up your flesh and go through all these precautions to preserve your virginity just to give it away to someone who didn’t value you enough to do the same in their life.
So I’m asking if it’s pointless to hold on to my dream of marrying a virgin. Is it just a fantasy? Is it worth holding out hope that one day I’ll meet someone who was waiting for me? I’ll remain a virgin until married, but should I even bother keeping that as a criteria for someone else in my life? I’m starting to get discouraged about it. I really need to know if 30-plus, Christian, virgin men even exist in large quantities.
This is such a good question and an issue I’ve wanted to address. You hint at something I’ve noticed about the abstinence message that I think reveals a critical weakness as we’ve promoted it in the church.
First, let me emphasize that I embrace all of the physical and emotional health reasons for virginity. Additionally, and more to your point, I completely agree with the view of “saving oneself” for one’s mate as an expression of love for whomever that turns out to be. What a powerful statement you are making to your spouse-to-be.
In other words, take away the Scriptures, and I still think monogamy makes its own powerful case, merely for physical and emotional health.
But risk-avoidance (both heart and body) and expressions of love to another person, while absolutely biblical, are alone neither the right starting point nor are they complete for the believer’s approach to sexuality.
The Christ-follower has a higher calling of affection that surpasses sound health decisions and love for another human. It is the call of deep, abiding love for the Triune God, the first and preeminent call on each of us who name the name of Jesus.
Notice also that you are already buying into the “I’ll do this for you if you’ll do it for me” case for marital happiness. If I am doing anything for someone else based on whether they do it for me, I’m not really loving after all, but making a deal. That’s a relationship killer, guaranteed.
Doing unto others as they do unto you is the world’s way. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is the way of Christ. Notice the subtle but critical difference?
I’m concerned that in the church’s defense against the devastating and rampant sexual promiscuity of the day in which we live, we’ve made reasonable arguments for abstinence, but ones that don’t carry the high calling of affection for the One who loves us infinitely more than any human ever will.
I of course understand that there are places where making a case for virginity by appealing to one’s love for Christ is simply not influential, and I have been in the thick of defending abstinence in the public square where “health” and human “reason” are the boundaries, but within the community of believers we have a starting place infinitely larger than disease avoidance or even human affection for another human.
As a believer, you do what you do first and foremost out of your deep affection for Christ. He is the one who commands sexual purity. And so we say by the grace He gives, “Yes!” We trust our beloved Savior to do for us what He knows will bring us the greatest good and Him the greatest glory, and with regard to sexual intimacy, His way is purity.
From that heart, then, comes the added force of loving others as we would have them love us. Not because they deserve it or have earned it, but because we’ve been the recipients of such undeserved love.
In essence, our sexual purity (which includes virginity and many other things) is a response to who God is, not who our future (or current) spouse is. I remain faithful to my wife not because she is perfect, but because God is.
So, yes, keep yourself pure, but do it first for the sake of Christ. And yes, desire that in your mate, for the sake of Christ (and they are out there, I promise). Then trust God to do for you more than you could ever ask or imagine. That is His promise to you.
Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.