4 Minutes B4 Marriage – Purity

I was all set to write about questions to ask each other this week, topics to consider before you decide you are ready to marry. A good safe subject, and a valuable one that will probably come next week. But then I started to think about what else single people should think about, and had to face one of the most difficult subjects to write well.


It’s a minefield of a topic. I could come across as preachy. An Old Fogey. Pollyana. Or out of touch. I might say too much or more likely, not enough. I run a serious risk of alienating my readers, something writers avoid at all cost.

Please honor the courage this will take and continue to read. I’ll speak first to those of you who want to wait until marriage before sharing yourselves sexually and then to those who haven’t waited, as God holds blessings for all.

To be completely open: I believe sexual love is a beautiful and Godly gift when it expresses a life-long covenant. Conversely, I believe sexual expressions of unity, when no lifelong unity is intended, wound the hearts and souls of both parties, and often, innocent others. These wounds make future relationships more difficult to develop in a healthy, holy manner.

That said, I’m going to turn to some points made by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice in For Young Women Only: What you need to know about how guys think, a book they wrote after interviewing and surveying hundreds of young men. Though everything below is a generalization, I urge you not to assume your relationship is the exception. Talk seriously and honestly, respecting the vulnerability that honesty brings.

The authors offer several statistically supported insights, first about appearance:

  • A guy is automatically tempted to sexually fantasize about an attractive female figure he’s seen. This is completely normal, and a temptation men struggle with throughout their lives. Yes, Christian men, as well.
  • Guys think girls know they are enticing men to fantasize about them when they dress provocatively. The way girls dress sends messages they might not intend. Girls might think their outfit says “Cute” when guys receive the signal “Easy.” Yet, it is possible to dress both modestly and attractively.
  • Guys fall for girls who don’t have supermodel bodies, but physical attraction is necessary for a dating relationship. Guys want their girlfriends to be healthy, not unrealistically thin, not suffering from eating disorders. But also, they see significantly overweight girls as having low self esteem, which is not attractive to them. The key here is that working toward health is appealing. If you know your eating habits are unhealthy, please, seek professional help.
  • Your appearance sends a signal of how you feel about yourself. “As the guys see it, they want girls that think enough of themselves to put effort into their appearance. That showed the guys that the girl was confident in who she was as a person.”


Now, insights about sex:


  • Many guys feel neither the ability nor the responsibility to stop the sexual progression. And those who do feel the responsibility don’t want to have to stop it alone.
  • Having sex doesn’t mean he loves her or is committed to her. This is a difficult attitude for girls to believe. To women, the physical element is an outpouring of love, but men may “use love to get sex”. In general, guys have premarital sex for physical pleasure; girls have premarital sex to fill an emotional need for connection. Many hearts are broken over this misunderstanding.
  • As soon as a girl has sex with a guy, he’ll likely doubt whether he can trust her. Even if he pushed for the sex, the introduction of this doubt will undermine the relationship. “The line gets blurred between love and hormones. From then on, you’re always wondering which factor is in play.”
  • Guys want to marry a virgin. As unfair as that seems, the double standard still exists.


When young men were asked to imagine themselves giving anonymous advice to girls, including their sisters, they rose to the occasion. They want to be protective of their sisters and friends. They want to be heroes. I think their advice applies to men and women. They wrote:


  • Set boundaries. It helps to have talked ahead of time about expectations. Having predetermined boundaries makes limits easier than when judgment is clouded by hormones.
  • Don’t assume anyone is immune to temptation. Don’t rely completely on the person you are with, no matter how honorable he is. He’s tempted, too!
  • Do a Joseph!” When Joseph of the Old Testament was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he ran! Flee from sexual temptation.
  • Be yourself. If they don’t like you for you, they aren’t worth your time. Never compromise your principles. Be confident. After all, you are a child of the King of Kings!


You are a child of the King of Kings, no matter what relationship mistakes you’ve made! Even if you are reading this wounded from the past, or in a relationship where you are dissatisfied with the decisions you’ve made, you are a treasure! God helps us to grow from every experience we’ve had and can turn all mistakes into good. He heals our wounds and creates in us new, healthy hearts. Turn to Him!

I hope everyone who is reading this has experienced the joy of a loving, forgiving parent who thinks you are a gift to the world. But even if you have not, know that God is the perfect parent who loves unconditionally and delights in you, His creation. He wants to see you healthy and whole and is always ready to help you grow. His commands show His loving desire to protect us from harm.

You can reclaim a purity of heart. You can realize your worth as a beloved child of God and decide to only express your physical love when it is the symbol or outpouring of lifelong commitment before God. Not as giving in to temptation and not out of emotional need, but as a gift between two strong people, willing to sacrifice for each other and pledged to one another for life.

I’ll be praying for you,

Betty Arrigotti

TO READ MORE (Note: Also available on CD which makes it easy to listen to during a commute.):

Feldhahn, Shaunti & Rice, Lisa A. (2006). For Young Women Only: What you need to know about how guys think, Multnomah Books.

I also recommend:

Feldhahn, Shaunti (2004). For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men, Multnomah Books.

Feldhahn, Shaunti & Jeff (2006). For Men Only: A straightforward guide to the inner lives of women. Multnomah Books.

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