My name is Taren and I married the man of my dreams when I was 36 years old, on October 13, 2012 after 18 months of dating.
I gave my life to the Lord in 2000 after a horrific car accident that should have killed me. I had graduated from the University of Arizona, College of Law, passed the bar, adopted two children, and, when I finally got married, I knew my husband was “the one." After all the many accomplishments and journeys through life, I had begun to pray for a Godly man to be a part of my life. I started by making a list of everything I wanted in a mate and took this list to God. When God finally sent my husband, he was everything I asked God to give me, even down to his height.
Our relationship began with simple text messages that turned into phone calls and by the time we went on our first official date on April 15, 2011, we had both determined it was a "holy hookup." :) After all, we met at church!
We laughed together. We prayed together. We fasted together. We vacationed together. But most importantly, we did not have sex before we were married. Why? Because it mattered to us. Not only did my husband respect my boundaries, but my husband had his own boundaries. We were equally yoked. The boundaries that I had set for myself were very important and specific to me, and I valued them enough to stick to them for as long as necessary, while waiting for the man God would send. These boundaries included things like: not wanting to get pregnant outside of marriage and not wanting to sleep with a man and risk not marrying him. Most of all, I did not want to experience the separation from God that comes with fornication. I did not want to feel easy or cheap.
However, when I met my husband, all of this became really hard. I was in love. I was attracted to him. Our wedding night seemed so far away. I had waited a long time to meet “the one!” Now that I finally found him, naturally, I was ready. I wanted him. While spending time together, there were times that one of us would have to go home because the desire to abandon our boundaries and give into our flesh, and have sex was so tempting. It was during these difficult times that we would have to encourage one another to serve God with our bodies. If waiting until marriage had not been a mutual decision, I believe either one of us could have been persuaded to give a little more each time, blurring our boundaries, which would have eventually led to us having sex before marriage.
I am so thankful that we stayed true to our commitment. A commitment we made to God, to ourselves, and to each other. Our marriage is special. It's set apart. We know that it is only through our relationship with God that we were able to save sex for marriage. Knowing that it was God who enabled us to save sex for marriage, makes it easier to believe that God will also be the one to keep us together. I recall one time, after we were married, a minister from our church told us that God woke her up in the middle of the night and gave her a revelation that He had given us the “Spirit of Cohesiveness.” I believe this whole-heartedly and this shows in our relationship, every single day.
My husband is my best friend and he is an integral part of my dreams and goals, he’s my encourager. He's second only to God in my life. I know that the bond we have is because our entire relationship - not just our marriage - is built on a relationship with God. God alone is our foundation. God has blessed us with a fun, dynamic marriage. Every week we take an evening to be intimate, which does involve being physically intimate, but there is so much more to being intimate in marriage than sex. Because we took steps to keep sex in its rightful place, we get to enjoy greater intimacy. We enjoy our sex life and we enjoy coming together as husband and wife. But, our truest form of intimacy comes in sharing our dreams, planning our future, developing goals and demonstrating that we not only love each other, but are in love with each other. Our time of waiting, developed a certain level of trust that has allowed us not to have any boundaries in our marriage.
As with any other relationship, there have been bumps along the road, but those bumps don't throw us off course. We know it was God who helped us save sex for marriage. We know that our judgment was not clouded when we committed to marriage and that we did not enter this union for any reason other than because it was God's will. The bumps are so much easier to push through when you know that you are squarely in God's will. We know that God has protected our marriage. We know that God will see us through. There's no going back. Divorce is not an option. We both have a healthy fear of God and refuse to step out of His will for our lives and that is the foundation of our relationship.
Because we waited to have sex and know how hard it was to make it through, we know we can endure. Waiting until marriage to have sex has proven to us that our flesh does not get the best of us because we now know that we are capable of denying it. How did we do it? We made up our minds to serve God with our whole selves. And, perhaps we didn't do it like others. We would spend hours at each others house past our self-imposed curfew, spending hours upon hours talking, worshipping and praying together. We developed a friendship and a mutual respect. My husband has explained to me that he had so much respect for me that he was not willing to take advantage of me or ruin our friendship. We acknowledged our desires and the struggle. But, waiting was important to us. We wanted a successful marriage. We wanted a strong bond. We wanted everything God had for us. There was no secret formula. All we knew to do was to lean on God, keep our eyes on the prize and make up our minds daily to be committed to waiting. We knew what our limits were and we knew to fall on God when we were weak. And, because we waited to have sex, I knew before I said "I do" that my husband loved me and was willing to wait for me.
I wish I could tell you the secret or give you step-by-step instructions, but that's the glory of my story - I'm just like you. There was no gimmick or special rules, other than that I found someone who was just as committed to waiting as I was and was willing to take steps each day toward this commitment. It was a God thing and God is not a respecter of persons so that means that He will do it for you too!
Click here for #TwoRingsToThinkAbout from Taren's story.