One day, years ago, I had a revelation. At the time, I had been dating a guy for about two years, and I’d started to feel like something was missing in my life—a sense of purpose and completeness. Even being in a relatively happy relationship hadn’t dampened that sense of lack. That’s when I relied on what I had always known – my faith. I reached out to God for the answers.
During this time of self-discovery and reconnection with my faith, my boyfriend had no interest in and no understanding of my desire for God. He didn’t complain about me wanting to spend Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings at church. In fact he drove me back and forth and picked me up when service was over. It was when I rededicated my life to God that things started to change. See, we were having sex from day one. Two years into our relationship, things were seemingly well on the surface and we had a good sexual relationship. But after rededicating my life to Christ, I started to feel guilty. And I was torn between my body screaming yes! and my faith saying no!
After wrestling with my convictions for some time, I finally got the courage to break the news of my decision to my boyfriend. How do you think that turned out? Not so great. After I told him he was looking at me like I grew two extra heads, or I was high or something. He didn’t even pretend to be on board – he wasn’t having it. I didn’t want our relationship to end, I really enjoyed our sex life, but I also wanted to be faithful to God. . I tried to do both – keep my man happy and stay true to my faith—but I knew that this was impossible. God wanted me to remain abstinent until marriage and my boyfriend and I had extremely different religious convictions and he had no desire to have a relationship with God or to try to understand at least what my faith meant to me. This was one of the most difficult times in my walk of faith. I felt paralyzed for a while, but in the end, my desire to be faithful to God meant more to me than my relationship – it just didn’t feel worth it. So I had to end it.
From then on, I knew what I wanted in a relationship: a man that had his own relationship with Christ so we would be “equally yoked” —on the same page—with our faith. And I got him!
When I met my husband, a relationship was not on my mind at all, especially after dealing with guys shunning me because they labeled me a “church girl”. But I was so drawn to my husband because of his faith. He wasn’t ashamed of it and I found that so attractive. This guy actually loved the Lord and wasn’t trying to find a way to get in my pants. He understood my faith and was also cultivating his own relationship with God. What really helped us both during dating and to not get too tempted was the fact that we were in a long distance relationship. So needless to say we spent a lot of time physically apart, but when we were physically in the same place together the practice of abstaining was a challenge, to say the least. Hey, we’re humans. However our goal was to be strong in our faith, so that made a huge difference.
Because we were in a long distance relationship, it allowed us a lot of time to get to know each other on a spiritual and intellectual level. We shared our dreams and aspirations. When we were together, we played it safe with dates to the movies, bowling, watching tennis and having Bible discussions. We prayed together, we encouraged one another and eventually decided to make our relationship official by getting married. After almost a year of getting to know each other, he proposed and we got married months later.
Today, many years later, I’ve been happily married to my husband for almost twelve years and we have three children together. I know I’m not alone in my story and that there are many others out there who are practicing abstinence before marriage, whether for faith or other personal reasons. But staying true to yourself and waiting for the right one is never a decision to regret. It’s hard--I can’t even lie about that--but if it’s something you want to do, just do it. It’s your body and everyone else has to play by your rules.
Khara Campbell is the author of Not My Will.