I have been looking for a relationship leading to marriage for quite a few years now. I have a great job that God’s blessed me with, no debt, and am in a strong position to provide material needs to a spouse. I’ve been checking off the various boxes over the years to become a better mate, yet I cannot seem to find any girls of marriage potential.
I have not been able to find any Christian girls who are virgins. If I successfully get a date, as it moves along I am constantly disappointed to find out they have had sex with numerous men before. Each makes the typical statement that they were mistakes and they’ve asked God for forgiveness and moved on. Unfortunately, as a potential husband, there is no option for me to “move on” beyond the infidelity.
It’s extremely disheartening to not even be able to find a virgin Christian girl, much less one that I could marry. Any thoughts or suggestions? I’m tired of the “you’re young, don’t worry about it, you’ll find someone” type lines. Yes, I am young, but I want to find the wife of my youth. And each year I am forced to wait, the odds of finding a woman who can wear white at her wedding drop more and more.
My female friends keep telling me, “It’s not that big of a deal, and no girls over 20 are virgins. The fact they’ve had sex doesn’t change much.” But not only do I not believe them, there’s lots of scientific as well as biblical evidence for it being a big deal! And that’s on top of the human feelings of betrayal, shame and dishonor of knowing your girl didn’t love you enough to not sleep with other men, as well as the mental images you’ll have for a lifetime of her being sexually active with her lovers. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
Thanks for your question. There’s a lot bound up in it, so let me see if I can offer some thoughts on a few different fronts.
To begin with — especially in light of what I am about to write below — I want to affirm you in your belief that premarital sex is everywhere and always a sin, and that it is a sin not only against God, but against one’s eventual spouse. I deeply wish that more single people — especially those who profess to be Christian — lived out that conviction. God’s Word tells us that sexual sin is very serious, that we are to avoid “sexual immorality” (sometimes translated as “fornication”) and that we should all be virgins when we marry. See, among other passages, Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21; 1 Corinthians 6, 13-20; 1 Timothy 5:2; Galatians 5:19-21; Song of Solomon 2:7; Hebrews 13:4.
Also, just so I make sure I’ve said it, this biblical standard applies equally to men and women. I know that idea may go without saying for most people who will read this, but there are a number of cultures within the readership of Boundless in which cultural sexual standards are different for men than for women. The biblical standard applies to all and does not change with cultural preferences.
In this day and age, it’s also worth mentioning that premarital sexual activity other than intercourse, as well as the use of pornography, constitute the same type of violation of the Bible’s sexual ethic and betrayal of one’s future spouse that premarital intercourse does. In fact, in some cases, I have seen addiction to pornography cause as much or more harm to later marital relationships than a single sexual encounter directly involving another person.
In other words (assuming you yourself are a virgin and not regularly engaged in other forms of sexual immorality), you are right to be frustrated at the sexual immorality you see, and it’s quite understandable for you to feel hurt at the notion of marrying a woman who has sinned against you by having sex before her marriage to you.
Now, even with all that clearly said, I would ask you to consider two points. First, neither I nor the biblical scholars I respect and trust read Scripture to teach that you have “no option” to move past a woman’s sin or that any woman who has had sex can never be of “marriage potential.” Without getting into the weeds of what can be some pretty technical Old Testament arguments about punishments for fornication and what actions “create” a marriage as an Old Testament legal matter, most orthodox biblical scholars believe that while premarital sex is clearly a sin, commission of that sin does not automatically disqualify a person from later marriage under the new covenant of grace in Christ.
Second, if I’m reading between the lines of your question correctly (and I fully admit I may not be), it seems you are less interested in technical Old Testament law than in your feelings that a potential wife who has had sex before (1) has sinned against you as her (potential) husband; (2) raises potentially difficult marital issues for you involving feelings of betrayal, trust, and sexual adequacy and security; and (3) is not worthy to marry you. If these ideas reflect your thoughts, I think Scripture teaches you are right on the first two but wrong on the third.
For the good of your own soul and that of your future wife, I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about grace and forgiveness as you move forward in finding a wife. Every one of us who are now in Christ was once — quite deservedly — an object of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3). We may have committed different sins, but none of us was righteous (Romans 3:23). Once we repent of our sins and are in Christ, however, each of us is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). And given our perfect Lord’s forgiveness of us, we are on very dangerous ground scripturally when we assume a posture of refusing to forgive and holding others’ sins against them (see Matthew 18:23-35; Luke 11:4). The sin of premarital sex can be a tough one to get past, but it is not so egregious that it sets aside the biblical truths that apply to all of us as people who have been graciously pardoned of capital offenses against God.
Even if you are as pure as fresh snow in your singleness, and no matter how many of the “various boxes . . . to become a better mate” you check off, two things remain true: (1) you will never be asked to forgive your wife of more than you have already been forgiven in Christ, and (2) if you have not already, you will repeatedly sin against your wife and will need grace and forgiveness from her.
I cannot say that you must make peace with marrying a woman who has had sex before. Despite what your friends are telling you, there are many godly women who are still virgins. Also, sin has consequences, and it sometimes necessarily changes (or precludes) relationships. Just make sure that you are not sinning in your own thinking, or holding others to a standard you yourself could not bear.
I will pray for you to have wisdom and grace as you look for a wife to serve (Ephesians 5:25-28).
Copyright 2013 Scott Croft. All rights reserved.