I’m tired of the narrative that is fed to me by society. “You’re not a man until you have sex,” is what is often said, and if I don’t talk about “hitting that” then they’ll call me gay. For one not to take a woman home with them after a night out with friends is commonly deemed “a failed evening.” There’s no conquest, no early morning shuffle to leave before she wakes up, no awkward exchange of “I’ll text you later,” and then you never hear from them again. It’s a societal norm to often hook up when you’re in college or in your twenties. That’s the time you learn the ropes. It’s spoon fed to us through the entertainment industry. But what would it look like if more men tried being abstinent while they held out for their wife? What if that was the more popular trend to follow? I’m not sure if it ever will be, but that doesn’t mean I have to conform to the world around me.
I’m twenty-three years old and I’m still holding out for my future wife. (Yes, you read that right. I’m still a virgin.) Before you get the imagine painted in your head that I’m some “perfect little angel” and that I never made a mistake before with women; I want you to stop. I’m not perfect by any means and I’ll be the first one to tell you that. I’ve got battle scars from lessons learned and although you can’t see them, I carry them with me. It took a pivotal break up in college for me to realize that I was chasing after a relationship that wasn’t Christ centered. I wanted all of the relationship with the woman, but none of the relationship with God.
While I was dating this girl, I pushed physical boundaries and came close to giving up my covenant with my future wife because of lustful desires and selfishness. When I came to the realization that I was in over my head, I panicked and broke things off in the most middle school way possible—a text message. (It wasn’t my finest moment and it’s something I still regret, but stay with me here. I promise this story will get better.) After the break up, I fell into a pretty deep depression. I would walk across the bridge at the university I was attending and thought about jumping off on a daily basis for months. I’d have my foot on the brake at a stoplight and would often think about just drifting into traffic as a semi approached from a nearby street. But something kept bringing me back. Something always saved my life.
What saved me at the time was imagining my future wife and kids. It was imagining the better days to come. It was imagining popcorn bowls getting knocked over and kernels covering the carpet during a movie night with her. Date nights with nothing else to do but to drive around and listen to the radio while eating DQ Blizzards. Sunday mornings in church pews belting out the lyrics and having intimate conversations together about our faith. Our wedding day as she came down the aisle in a white dress with the biggest grin on her face like she just got away with stealing the last cookie out of the cookie jar. Our first house together and all of the problems that we’d have to conquer together (but let’s be real, we’d probably call our parents to come over and help). It was imagining the first steps, the video camera memories and Little League games. It was those things that kept me alive. I needed to keep myself going. It was this imagination that kept me going long enough that I was able to begin to pursue a relationship with God first.
Even if it feels like light years away for you right now, we’ve all probably had the vision of us getting married someday. (Admit it, even you wild stallions that’ll “never” settle down. You’ve still thought about it.) When you’re single, that’s the best time for you to pursue a relationship with the Lord. Don’t say, “I’ll get right when she comes along. She’ll turn me into a better man.” By then it’s too late!
“If you don’t work on your singleness, you’ll be frustrated in your marriage.” - Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church, Relationship Goals
You’ve got to work on your relationship with God while you’re single otherwise you’ll be looking for that satisfaction and fulfillment in that other person. Women can be intelligent, beautiful, funny, and everything under the sun, but they aren’t God. They aren’t and can’t be God. 1)That’s way too much pressure and 2) that’s not something we should expect. Without honing our relationship with God first, our relationship with her will only be a shadow of what it could be.
I’ll admit, I was fairly envious of this one couple I met back in college. They always seemed so happy to be with each other. They weren’t that annoying couple that was always all over each other or making out, but they were genuinely happy people. I couldn’t figure it out for the longest time, but then I noticed what separated them from the other couples I was around. (Fellow third-wheelers, you know what this is like.) They were the ones praying before every meal that we had together. They were the ones staying after to help clean up. They were taking the time to sit and truly listen to one another. They weren’t afraid to share their faith. Their relationship with God came first and then each other. They were constantly looking to serve those around them and each other; not looking to be served. I still remain in contact with them and they are still the same amazing couple that I admire to this day.
So how does one be an uncommon man in 2019? First, it all starts with prayer. Start talking to your heavenly Father more often. Not just in times of distress and turmoil, but tell Him about your good days as well. Thank Him for the lessons in love that He’s taught you. Your season of singleness will eventually end. Be patient. Pray for your future wife on a continual basis. Sometimes it will feel like you’re wasting your breath, but I promise you that’s when your faith is most prevalent. All of the waiting, prayer, working on yourself and making yourself into a better man will pay off.
Second, value sexual purity. Sexual purity is important. It must be important to you. I’m not here to judge if you’ve already had sex, because that’s not my job, but I urge you to think about how your sexual purity is going to impact your future marriage. It’s going to be tough, very tough, but it is worth it. You’re going to get flack from people around you, but I’d like to offer you up a quote from my favorite movie The Iron Giant, “You are who you chose to be.” Wait. Hold out. Your wife will thank you and your marriage will benefit greatly from this.
Finally, give her all you’ve got. Many times it won’t be easy. You’ll both come home from work and you won’t feel like helping her out at all. You’ll just want to sit down and be idle. Don’t give up on her even on your worst days. You’ll have to make sacrifices, but that’s all part of the gig. Be willing to serve her everyday and in doing so, you’ll not only be doing a service to her, but you’ll be serving the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.
God still loves you. You may think you aren’t worthy of God’s love because of something you’ve done. You may feel as though you don’t deserve it. Maybe you’ve made a mistake along the way and don’t think you’ll be capable of being loved. God still loves you despite your past. Despite you making those mistakes: the broken relationships, the trouble with alcohol, the addiction to pornography, the struggles you are having with your job, etc. He loves you through it all and He will see you through it all. You are loved. You’ve got this.
- Dalton Hessel