February 12, 2011 by Stacy McDonald

To Wait or Not to Wait, That is the Question

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“By Innocence I swear, and by my youth

I have one heart, one bosom and one truth,

And that no woman has; nor never none

Shall mistress be of it, save I alone.”

– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

The following article was written by our son-in-law and daughter, Ben and Tiffany Hector, for the Southeast Christian Home Discipleship Families Newsletter

When we were asked to write this article, many ideas for topics presented themselves. All of them were important, relevant, and interesting. In fact, there were nearly seven first paragraphs sitting in a document on our computer, each needing to be tended and nurtured, ready to blossom into a fully developed article. However, the Lord had other ideas about the topic on which we should write, and when the Lord leads, it is much safer to follow.

The leading came in the form of a young friend of ours who approached us, requesting an interview on the topic of purity before marriage. They had been tasked with talking to a couple who had maintained their purity, and one who, to put it delicately, had not (By the end of this article, we hope you are able to tell which position we were asked to fill). During the course of the interview, we realized that, despite having been raised in a Christian household, they had many questions about what we went through during our courtship and the years prior to that.

Little Brothers Make Great Chaperones!

Staying pure for a marriage starts younger than anyone might realize, because it usually begins with our parents, “It was their idea to begin with,” has become a popular saying in our house. Both sets of our parents came into parenting having realized that they had standards that they wanted for their children, so as to keep them from the many pitfalls which litter the path to wedded bliss. I must have made an impression, because we both had the opportunity to observe failed relationships that went on around us, and rather than seeing this failure as the cost of finding “the right one”, it made us want something more.

As each of us grew older, there were safeguards that were put in place to help us in our journey on the emotional highway. We each started with making sure that we were never alone with a friend of the opposite gender; because there doesn’t always have to be an attraction between two people for temptations to arise. Being accountable to our parents for emails, and even our chatting, gave both of us the ability to develop friendships while having their watchful eyes to keep us from suddenly finding that we were in an awkward relationship, because we were not careful with our words. Interacting with someone of the opposite gender is not wrong, but we wanted to be constantly on guard and make sure that we were not putting our emotions on the line, as well as the emotions of our friends.

"I do!"

All of the safeguards, which we became so reliant on, were ultimately there for two reason; one of those reasons is spiritual, and the other more practical. First, the Lord has instructed us to stay pure for marriage. It is not found on a lit of God’s “Suggestions”, and, in Proverbs, He speaks in no uncertain terms about the cost of failure. The second reason is tied directly to the fact that God knew why he was instructing young people to maintain their purity. Our hearts are very tender things, in both men and women, and the level of trust and respect between a couple has a great effect on our relationships.

To know that your spouse has spent years defying temptation and peril, to realize that they have never looked into the eyes of another person with the depth of pure devotion, that is a great gift.

The final question we were asked was a telling one, “was it worth it?” Despite the abstract nature of the question, we can both answer with a strong, yes. It was very worth the large amounts of time our parents spent in guiding our early years, the safeguards that at times felt restricting, and the denial of emotional and fleshly temptations that seemed so desirable; because God has brought us both to the other side of that treacherous chasm.

When we kissed for the first time, which was after we had been pronounced husband and wife, it was at that moment when we fully realized that not only was it worth the effort, but it was worth every second of having waited, knowing that, as Shakespeare also said, “love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”

The Newly Weds!

Ben and Tiffany Hector (McDonald) were married on May 15th, 2010, and currently reside in California where Ben works as a marketing analyst and Tiffany works as a full time lady of the house. When not working, they spend time searching estate sales for antique treasures or reading great works of literature. They are expecting their first child in April. Visit their blog HERE.

First published in Southeastern Christian Home Discipleship Families. Used with permission.

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24 Responses to “To Wait or Not to Wait, That is the Question”

  1. patrizia says:

    I concur! So very refreshing. Seems like more & more today, “Christians” are becoming wishy-washy in this area. I thank you for the encouragement today. Its so hard out there.

    A testimony indeed!

    Rejoicing In Him, Patrizia

  2. Leah Kaiser says:

    Thank you for this post, it gives me the encouragement I need to “persevere” in raising our young ones in this way. People think we our crazy that our 7 year old daughter wants Daddy and Mommy to help pick her husband and that her first kiss will be on her wedding day…it just doesn’t work that way anymore, they say. Sometimes it is daunting and discouraging to be different…but I know that it will be worth it. My husband and I were not raised in this way and we know first hand the difficulty that “impurity” brings into a marriage. I pray that we will be able to guard the hearts and minds and bodies of our children (with the Lord’s help, of course) until they are married. Thank you for your encouragement! God bless you and your family (and your grandchild to be…)
    Shalom, Leah

  3. Kendra Heath says:

    My husband and I could be the “other” couple to be interviewed. We understand how very necessary a “road map” to purity is. We had great intentions, but no brass tacks on communication or boundaries. Now we have the hard (but good) privilege of redeeming our past and helping our children to have opportunity to succeed in purity. Many will say things like, “What do you think they will do if they are alone together.” Our answers are usually, “We know what we did when we were alone!” We have many friends in this same boat and we laugh about those questions. Just like we laugh about what we would REALLY like to say in response to that Don’t-you-know-where-they-come-from-question (most of us have lots of kids, although none of us have tied you or Carmon yet :) Blessings for being an encouragement from “the other side.”

  4. When we were youths there didn’t seem to be a differentiation between keeping one’s virginity and keeping one’s purity. Now that Biblical teaching has come to light and people can now bring up their children knowing that there is much more than just getting kids to the alter without someone having the worst of reputations or being “with child.” Today, we have 3 teenagers and a 20 year old… all single, all walking with the Lord and all saving their first kiss for the alter. They also know that purity means saving their eyes, minds and hearts for their Lord and future spouse. How did we do it?– homeschooling, carefully picking friends, very little temptation to be separate from the family (no phones, TVs, etc in the bedrooms) and absolutely no dating. Children want boundries and to feel safe. We want our kids to experience life without setting them up for failure. May God continue to teach us…!

  5. Louisa McFarland says:

    Thank you for this article. One movie I recommend any christian watch is Pamelas Prayer.

  6. Ruth says:

    This is all very nice, but frankly it’s also very easy, always easy for people who get married so young to talk about waiting. I will be more impressed by a woman who married at thirty speaking of such.

  7. Stacy McDonald says:

    Neither the degree of temptation, nor the time of waiting is the issue. And the point wasn’t to impress. The point was that blessing is found by obeying God. God doesn’t call only the youth to chastity. Sexual purity is a call to us all, whether or not we are even married.

  8. Annie says:

    What does sexual purity in marriage entail? I would assume staying faithful, not engaging in pornography & not fantasizing about anyone else? Is there another aspect in your opinion?

  9. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Annie,

    Scripture calls all women to be chaste, married and unmarried. So your question is a good one. I did a series on chastity a while back. Part 1 is here: http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/2010/06/the-beauty-of-chastity-honoring-marriage-part-1/

    Basically, we’re all to honor the marriage bed – our own, as well as others. Sexual purity includes our own thoughts and actions (sexual contact, fantasizing, masturbation, pornography etc.), as well as the desire to sexually attract someone who isn’t our own spouse (flirtation, sensual clothing/modesty, indiscreet conversations etc.).

  10. Ruth says:

    I’m sure the point wasn’t to impress, but I’ve seen so many extremely young couples talk of waiting that it does little to move.

    “Neither the degree of temptation, nor the time of waiting is the issue”

    Actually the time is very much an issue for us.

  11. Erin says:

    What a joy to see couples who have stayed pure. Thank you for your stories of courtship and the beauty of purity. This was an area I heavily compromised and although God in His great mercy and grace has forgiven me, I will live with the consequence of my decisions for the rest of this life. I wish I could say the consequences fall only to me but they do not. If I was asked the question was it worth it? No! Nothing is worth sinning against the Lord and hurting the ones you love! Thank you Stacy you are such a great example to us mothers who need encouragement in raising our children to fight for their purity.

  12. Stacy McDonald says:

    Again, the age of the person doesn’t matter. God’s Word is God’s Word. We should “wait” because God calls us to, not because our self control will impress anyone.

    When you say time is very much an issue for you, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. If you mean “waiting” to be sexually active from the time you’re in your teens, until God gives you a husband …maybe later in life, then it sounds like temptation is the issue, not time. And there are ways to avoid temptation. But if you mean time is an issue because you are in a relationship that is stirring sexual temptation, then perhaps you need to go ahead and get married, and not drag things on. I’m not sure what you’re referring to though.

  13. Stacy McDonald says:

    Again, the age of the person doesn’t matter. God’s Word is God’s Word. We should “wait” because God calls us to, not because our self control will impress anyone.

    When you say time is very much an issue for you, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. If you mean “waiting” to be sexually active from the time you’re in your teens, until God gives you a husband …maybe later in life, then it sounds like temptation is the issue, not time. And there are ways to avoid temptation. But if you mean time is an issue because you are in a relationship that is stirring sexual temptation, then perhaps you need to go ahead and get married, and not drag things on. I’m not sure what you’re referring to though.

  14. Ruth says:

    “God’s Word is God’s Word. We should “wait” because God calls us to, not because our self control will impress anyone”

    No, you apparently don’t understand. My point is that increased time causes more temptation and I’d prefer to hear testomony from women older than me, not younger women who didn’t have to wait as long. Yes, the age does matter, because older people have had to endure more times of uncertainty and struggle with patience.

  15. Ruth says:

    A person who married young, basically, didn’t have long to struggle with patience or temptation. So their testimony would not be as helpful or meaningful to me.

  16. Stacy McDonald says:

    Okay – I see what you’re saying, Ruth. Yes, if I were an older single, I would prefer to gain encouragement from someone who had walked in my shoes. If that is all you were saying, I can see your point.

  17. Ruth says:

    Yes, thank you Stacy. I’m sorry if it seemed at all like I was disparaging Tiffany; I’ve read her blog and think she’s very cool. I guess you can tell I’ve just been feeling some frusteration lately. But, God always proves that His storytelling in our lives flows perfectly.

  18. Stacy McDonald says:

    Amen, Ruth!

    Praying for your renewed strength and peace tonight. May God richly bless your faithfulness!

  19. Ashley K. says:

    This is a very interesting topic. And I do wholeheartedly agree with your stance on purity. I was raised with the same moral standards and perspective. I purposed to save myself for marriage, and my first everything was on my wedding day. Here is part of my story:

    A man that I had met at church but knew nothing about, approached my dad about the possibility of courting me. My dad went through the interview process with him for about a month and I had no idea any of it was going on. One night, my dad sat me down and told me that this man had agreed to marry me and I was told that he had “dated” in his past. (He was much older than me) That’s all the information I was given. I based my decision on that. From my sheltered perspective, I assumed he had held hands with other girls? I had no clue what that meant as I was very young. I agreed to marry him and we started courting. ZERO one-on-one time was allowed, short phone calls twice a week, he would come visit about twice a month. About 6 months later, we got married. I still knew nothing about him.

    Fast forward 5 years and 2 kids later, I was leveled when my husband, just out of the blue, told me he had a very immoral past and went into great detail. (I’m being too nice here…;) Had I been given that information BEFORE we started courting, I most certainly wouldn’t have married him. His only response then and continues to be is, “Don’t judge me! I thought you knew!”. My dad and several other people had been given the information about his past, they just chose not to tell me.

    So, my struggle is this, where is the benefit to staying pure until marriage? Is my experience normal? Does this happen on a regular basis in strict courtships? Is it ok for the father to withhold information? Are we to “wait”, have faith in the promise of a fulfilling marriage, trust the method to play out exactly the same way, every single time, only to wake up one day and realize that we were taken advantage of and played for a fool by our own husband and father? How do you trust in the promise after it turns into a lie?

    From where I sit, it’s hard to see the benefits.

  20. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Ashley – Wow – what a story. I am so sorry! Let me start by saying regardless of the faulty process, or how you got where you are now, you can be thankful for your husband and precious children. Praise God for His sovereignty.

    I don’t think the problems in your story have much to do with whether or not purity is beneficial. Obedience to God is always beneficial. :-) And even from the reaction you had at discovering your husband’s impure behavior before marriage, I would say it matters very much. But it seems the bigger issue here is that you feel deceived (and rightly so).

    As far as the process of your courtship – I see several major red flags. For one, you should have been informed about your husband’s past, so that you could decide whether or not you could live with that knowledge. Did the two of you never discuss these things? If your husband didn’t tell you himself, your father certainly should have.

    Also, it sounds like you had little to no opportunity to get to know one another. That is so important. One thing we encouraged our daughters to do was to use the courtship questions as conversation starters. It helps to encourage deeper conversation on subjects that may be overlooked otherwise.

    I am very sorry for your experience. You may want to consider either writing your father a letter or confronting him in person about this, to avoid bitterness against him. In addition, I would have a similar conversation with your husband, letting him know you feel you were deceived, and that you’re very hurt. I don’t think there’s any reason to tell him you wouldn’t have married him if you had known. You are married now, and saying something like that will only hurt him unnecessarily and cause further conflict in your marriage. If Christ forgave your sins, you must also forgive your husband.

  21. Gina says:

    I have read all of these comments today and then happened to read this article today about the musician Rebecca St. James. It made me think of the ladies who left comments regarding waiting on marriage while protecting your purity past your 20’s: http://rsjames.com/updates/2011/2/20/love-is-with-rebecca-st-james.html

    Rebecca is 33 and has never been married but has remained pure in waiting to get married. (She is engaged and will be getting married in April. :-) I thought that I’d share since some people had mentioned wanting to see “older” women who have waited and protected their purity until married.

    —Mrs. Gina Weeks

  22. Gina says:

    Forgive me repeating words so much in my prior post. *blush*

    I do want to take a moment and congratulate your family on the upcoming birth of Ben and Tiffany’s little one. I have been reading your blog and following your family for a long time. May GOD bless your family and your ministry.

    I am encouraged in my walk with God and my family relationships as wife and momma by knowing that I do not walk alone in my convictions that you share boldly here. Thank you.

    —Mrs. Gina Weeks

  23. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thanks, Gina! We are excited!

  24. Ivory says:

    Very well written and a beautiful personal testimony.
    There are also very godly couples who have guarded and protected their purity in the power of the Holy Spirit without parental oversight.
    There are also many godly couples who have chosen to kiss before marriage and maintained their ‘purity’ before God in doing so.
    Sets of rules and lists of do’s and dont’s is not the path that many godly couples choose.
    It is dangerous to couch courtship or any other method of relationship building as the one and only ‘godly’ or biblical way.
    When I look around my church on Sunday morning, I see it filled with hundreds of couples of all ages who never ‘courted’ or ‘kissed dating goodbye’. They allowed God to reign in their hearts, minds and relationships and He faithfully kept them.

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