Before I knew it I was married!
Lots of questions cropped up when I met my first girlfriend at senior high school, although foremost in my mind were the excitement and the feelings of being head-over-heels in love.
I had waited several years to get my first girlfriend. I hadn’t said it to so many people, but when I went out to meet other youths, I often thought to myself ‘maybe I’ll find her tonight’. I was waiting for a girl to turn up, not just one who I was interested in, but one who was also interested in me. Sometimes I thought ‘no one falls in love with a weirdo like me’, while at other times I thought ‘I’m actually a good guy’. I really looked forward to kissing! Every Friday evening I went to choir practice, this was the most likely place to meet her (has anyone heard of a Christian youth choir with more guys than girls?).
When I was sixteen a new girl joined the choir. She went to a local high school, and I could see her from where I sat in the back row. After a while we started dating, the thing I remember best from that time was our first kiss. After it, I think I flew a foot above the ground on the way from her school to the bus stop. I even remember what we had for dinner that day. I was convinced that I’d found the love of my life. The following day I said to a friend, rather formally, ‘I think I’ve found my life partner’.
He subsequently teased me about the way I said it, but there and then I was serious.
Three months passed, and we broke up. I know of several people who started dating so early, and it led to marriage, but my first relationship was brief. After that I had several girlfriends before meeting the real love of my life. And each time I was convinced, at least at the beginning, that this girl was the right one for me. At the same time, I had a basic conviction that I should act partly as if she weren’t.
At junior high I went to a Christian festival, and attended a seminar called ‘Worth waiting for’. This was a campaign to show that a lot of Christians would wait till marriage before they had sex. So I decided that ‘I would keep something for my wife’. Just imagine if I met someone later who hadn’t experienced that. I didn’t want to disappoint her. This turned out to be a tough standpoint. Sometimes it was me who held back and stood by my beliefs, sometimes it was my girlfriend.
Now, I don’t know what kind of experiences you have had. Perhaps you’ve never had a girlfriend, or maybe you have had one – or many. Maybe you’ve had different experiences than I have, or perhaps you can relate to me. For all I know you may have strong opinions, or you may not have thought through what’s right and wrong regarding sex and boundaries. Anyway, I want to challenge you to think through the choices you make. You will end up either being proud of your choices, or regretting them later on in life. Lots of the choices we make in life are neutral, but thesechoices are of great importance.
The Bible says that God created mankind, male and female (Genesis 1:27) and that the man ‘leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). This is part of the background for the belief that sex belongs to marriage. The great thing is that God wants it to be that way! It even says in the next verse that they were not ashamed. That means that sexuality, nakedness and the human body were natural before sin came into the world. It was totally natural between Adam and Eve (of course they had no competitors!).
The ideal is still that we should wait with the most valuable, the most intimate aspects of life, until we’ve promised to love each other in good and bad times. This isn’t just a romantic show or a beautiful sight, it’s totally possible and a reality for lots of couples. It can be hard to wait, but it is an investment in your own life and in the life of the one you’re waiting for. Of course, you wouldn’t imagine that the relationship you’re in could end, but it’s only when you’ve said ‘yes’ to each other that you have a promise that you will stay together.
Not everyone manages to wait, even though they want to. I know of many people who have made mistakes that they regret, and sometimes this can lead to deep wounds. At other times it feels like it was right at the time, but after a long time the reality dawns. Regardless, the question is whether it is right or wrong. The Bible puts sex in the wonderful framework that marriage gives, and I believe it is right to wait.
There’s always the opportunity for forgiveness, if you ask God for it. If you or someone you know has made mistakes, then God meets us with open arms and a new start. You may need to talk to someone to work through any wounds you may have. He forgives unconditionally. You’re free to move on with your head held high!
Six months ago I married the most wonderful girl I’ve ever met. Then I was so glad that we could share the most vulnerable and intimate things together. Now it feels like time has flown by, even though it’s fifteen years since I was at senior high and had my first girlfriend. I am so glad that I made some good life choices back then.
Good luck with your choices!