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This is Why I Chose Celibacy…

celibacy couple

I never had a promise ring, but I wanted one. Christian culture taught me that in order to “earn” a husband, I needed to save myself. I needed to be pure so that I would be considered a good wife. I was taught that girls who didn’t save themselves would never be happy and would also have bad relationships. I was basically taught that physical purity would lead to a godly husband.

Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Never did I hear a sermon about my physical purity that did not directly correlate with marriage. The two were always connected. I believed these things for a while and even taught them to others. “Save yourself for your husband” was a common phrase I used in dealing with young girls.

And then I realized something. I was 30 and had been “saving myself” and I didn’t even have any prospects! All the years of rejecting advances from men, avoiding serious relationships that might lead to sex and reserving even my kisses did not result in a godly man finding me. It resulted in me feeling lonely, confused and rejected by God and man.

I was confused because I had done everything that was taught to me to “earn” a husband. I saw women of faith who were much older than me who still were not married and I wondered if maybe we had all done something wrong.

Do you remember the things we learned to do to get a husband?

Focus on God. I had that down packed, even to the point of going to seminary and becoming a pastor. Anyone who knows me well, will say that God is my first love.

Don’t have premarital sex. I could have won an award for this since I went above and beyond and didn’t even kiss guys. Hand holding was a big deal!

Enjoy your life as a single. I’ve traveled out of the country 11 times, published a book, made leaps of faith, started a ministry, went to Africa…pretty much everything except for skydiving, which is still on my list.

Let Jesus be your husband first and then God will send you a husband. Jesus and I still have dates, we have danced and had emotional moments together. We have intimate prayer times and still no earthly husband.

My point is NOT to complain or be discontent with my season of singleness or even to say that saving yourself is not a good thing, because it is a good thing! A very good thing that I will continue to encourage other women to do.

However, my reason for saving myself has little to do with my hope for a husband. I save myself  because it shows obedience and faithfulness to God’s ways and protects me from a load of unnecessary heartache. Teaching girls that we have to “earn” a husband by our behavior and love for God is spiritually damaging. It leaves them wondering what they have done wrong when they find themselves 30, 50 or 60 and still without a wedding band.

We don’t earn the blessing of marriage because we love God more or avoid pre-marital sex. We receive the gift of marriage by God’s grace alone. We should be teaching our young girls and ladies to be spiritually and physically pure before God NOT because it will get them a husband but because it is simply what our heavenly Father desires of us.

Nina Elaine