I had always been raised in a Christian home, but it wasn’t until I was 16 that I became a Christ follower myself. I knew there was a God, but when I heard a pastor speak about "missing heaven by 12 inches" (the difference between knowing God in your mind versus knowing God in your heart), everything changed for me.
Ever since I could remember, my parents talked about the importance of saving yourself for marriage. They had only ever been intimate with each other and felt very strongly about this. My mom and her 3 sisters were raised by their grandparents. Her mother was a prostitute that came in and out of the girls’ life whenever she felt the desire to rock the boat, so sex was a very nasty thing in their household and my mom was determined to never turn out to be anything like her mother. My dad came from a large family with a father that worked out of town. My parents met when my dad was 16, my mom 14, they practically raised each other.
Initially, my parents stressed to me the importance of waiting more-so out of fear of the “what ifs.” So at 16, when I accepted Christ and was eager to know Him on a deeper level, I finally realized the impact sexual immorality had on relationships and the plan that God desired us to follow. Right then and there I made up my mind to save myself for my husband. This was the perfect time and age for me to learn who I wanted to be and focus on my future without distractions. Volleyball was my passion and I strived daily to become better at it. Not only did I succeed in high school, but I also received a scholarship to play in college. On the weekends, friends partied and made a lot of decisions they later came to regret, while I was in the gym or at church. I knew what I wanted my future to look like, and through my determination and God’s will, I was able to maintain focus.
Throughout high school and college I dated several different guys; from the beginning, they always knew exactly where I stood when it came to intimacy. I had boyfriends that were understanding and dated for years. Others that quickly ended the relationship once they realized I was serious. I had boyfriends cheat on me and blame it on the fact that they had “needs.” I had hurt feelings and a broken heart more than once, but as time went on I quickly learned that God was preventing me from a lifetime of misery. There were times I wanted so badly to give in, but each time that I didn’t give in, I grew stronger.
My husband and I are both from a small town and went to the same high school. We knew of each other and had our own assumptions of what the other was like, but we never talked in school. We both went away to college and then ended up back home a few years later. We had mutual friends that were convinced we would be great together and decided to play "match-makers." We started dating and from the moment I told my husband of my plan to save myself for my spouse, he was amazed and understanding. He was thankful to hear of how seriously I took my relationship with God. He had been in one relationship prior to us meeting and felt an incredible amount of guilt that he hadn’t saved himself for marriage. Through many conversations and prayer, we were able to overcome his guilt and we spent the next 6 months getting to know each other.
During this time, we learned about each other’s passions and dreams. We hiked, fished, biked and everything in between. We loved being in the company of the other. We both fell hard and fast, but instead of giving into the temptation that came with falling in love, we invested in our relationship in other ways. We learned to love each other based on who we were as a person, not just the physical attraction. We set up boundaries, and in times of temptation we took turns being strong. Some days it was me saying no, while others it was him. We were engaged soon after and married 4 months later when I was 21 and he was 22.
We just celebrated our 7 year anniversary and God has blessed us immensely. We have two beautiful children and a marriage that is thriving. My husband has a great career and I am lucky enough to get to stay at home with my babies. We have a terrific church family and many supportive people in our lives. Marriage is not easy, but due to our willingness to follow God and choosing to be faithful, He has provided more than we could have ever imagined. The wait was the best thing we could have done. We don’t have the hurt and heart ache of the past. We don’t have insecurities and guilt from previous relationships. We have no reason but to fully trust the other and we never have to feel like we are second best or get stuck comparing ourselves to others. Neither of us are even close to perfect, but God made us perfect for each other.