It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and really sifted through various emails from readers and fellow bloggers to answer some questions publicly, so sorry for the delay! We’ve just been b-u-s-y, and that’s been good! Lot’s of things going on that just take a lot of mental energy, and little time for finishing up posts in draft (or the topic has gotten stale… so some things that seemed a good idea get skipped).
One of the hardest questions I’ve received (for me to answer anyway) was about Lori Alexander’s post regarding men preferring to marry women who hadn’t had sex, had no tattoos, and no debt (especially college debt).
I liked her post, it echoed a few of mine where I touched on the same subjects of virginity and tattoos. I did think about posting my thoughts agreeing with her, however coming on the heels of her extremely popular post, it just didn’t seem right at the time – coming from someone who met all those things myself when we married. It would have been hard to write something like that without sounding like it was coming from a place of superiority, in other words.
Concerning Lori’s post, yes, I believe many men probably do prefer the ideal maybe theoretically, but the issue seems so complicated with how so many men choose to marry the exact opposite these days, it’s confusing to me. What they are thinking, I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s still the norm for men to not necessarily value women who meet those 3 criteria, and seem to be very happy to marry outside them. It’s very possible to me that marrying a woman who is a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free just isn’t important to them at all, because the opposite is so acceptable in our culture.
Many men hold those personal preferences and feelings deep inside, though, so perhaps her post is correct in that most men really do desire a woman with those traits, but due to our hedonistic culture that promotes having no morals and values, they settle for what they can get. With us in our marriage, my husband has told me more than a few times in these 12 years that he knew I was different, and cherished me because I was innocent in those things.
I did read several articles bouncing off of Lori’s initial post, where different Christian female authors completely degraded the value of being a virgin.
To me that was beyond awful, and it made me think of my daughter and how these are the women writing the books that will be in Christian circles for years to come. So the next generation of daughters will be growing up with Christian female leadership literally teaching them their virginity on their wedding night is nothing but a pile of horse manure. This fact was so devastating to realize and to try to come to terms with, that our religious or Christian culture has fallen so far away from biblical truth, that this is what our leadership is espousing. A lot of my staying silent was just trying to take in all that, and accept that this is where maybe the majority of Christians seem to stand.
“is it a good idea to wait until you’re married to have sex? Yes, it is. It’s certainly what God wants, but I believe He wants that for our good, not because He’s just making a rule.
That being said,
virginity is not the be all and end all.
And, in fact, ultimately virginity means nothing.
It’s just a pile of horse manure.”
What a condemning (and self-damning) comment.
So as I was reading the responses and attitudes of the Christians I’m at least aware of, it took me aback to see how just pointing out those truths enrages women to the point of disgracing themselves in making anti-biblical public statements as Sheila and others have done.
So… I think I stayed silent because I knew I had met all the criteria of being a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free, and it just felt so strange seeing all the different responses (both the positive and negative) and comparing them with what we experienced in our marriage.
Yes, me being debt-free when I married was a definite plus for my husband. Having no tattoos was a visible symbol to him of my being so young when we married, and sheltered in a sense from corruption. It also revealed to him my growing up with lovingly protective and honorable parents who prevented me from getting one, even after I was an adult.
But by far, my being a virgin for my husband was probably the single most crucial thing to our married life and how it impacted us for the good. There’s even been recent studies showing how important a wife’s virginity (or low partner count) is for the health and happiness of her future marriage! This is not to say that non-virgins can’t receive grace and forgiveness from Christ or go on to have good marriages and sex lives with their husbands. But it is just undeniable how much better it was that I didn’t have a sexual history of encounters that loomed over us as we became one flesh and started a vibrant, unencumbered sex life. I knew this right away when we started having sex, and knew that it was good that I didn’t have prior experiences affecting me differently. Coming to the marriage bed with a clean slate paved the way for only good, positive and loving experiences, in other words. And it felt so freeing. It was intense sex without any guilt.
Out of the 3 preferences Lori listed, it seemed strange to me that the most important one was the most reviled in even our *Christian* culture!
Virginity used to be something so treasured and valued. It was a beautiful gift a woman gave to her husband, and not only a gift, but as Sigma Frame recently pointed out (that I was not aware of in this manner), was an actual blood covenant that God designed to bind two people together in a deeply supernatural way. No wonder how it’s proven over and over again in studies that women who marry as virgins tend to have happier marriages, or be much less likely to cheat on their husbands. In my opinion, it’s becasue the bond is sooooo strong, and that coupled with the love, attraction, and sense of building a life together helps you survive later hard times, but that’s just my opinion.
In biblical times, virginity on the wedding night, as Lori’s post encouraged, was so treasured that the couple would purposefully consummate their marriage on white sheets so that they could take them out to show the family the next day.
A young bride’s purity and innocence sexually was celebrated and something that gave her honor – honor in her marriage privately, but also honor in their community publicly because she kept something sacred for her husband and for God.
Ironically, we live in a society that actively shames virgins (especially males), and instead of our Christian brothers and sisters coming to the defense of virginity and purity, we see their real thoughts on the issue. That “ultimately virginity means nothing… it’s just a pile of horse manure.” What a long way we’ve come from what was biblically lived out, honored, and celebrated.
Hopefully this kind of answers the reader’s question. I’m not sure why I stayed silent except that I felt to say something when I actively met all 3 criteria would be viewed as looking down on the women who didn’t. At the same time, the values should be defended and upheld when anyone (but especially Christian leaders) call our values “horse manure,” which is why I’m saying something now.
The next most interesting question was “What do you think of women being in ministries?“
I’ll answer that another time since this post has gotten fairly long, but it is a very good and relevant question for our times.
Thank you for reading! I’m curious to know what readers or other bloggers think about this issue… do men actually value women with those three traits as better options for a wife? How does one explain the prevalence of married couples who didn’t meet (especially) the virginity preference?