Many times, when I go on Christian websites, the “abstinence before marriage” message is front and center. However, this advice precludes a presumably large group of Christians like me that I will refer to as ” the unmarried non-virgins”. In the context of this blog post, unmarried non-virgins are those unmarried Christians who have given up their virginity and even continued to have sex in the past, but have now repented and become celibate until marriage.
After browsing a few Christian forums I think this group has been unfairly targeted by those who have kept their virginity. In this post I want to address a few of their most common negative comments.
“I will never marry someone who isn’t a virgin”
This statement puts too much focus on the sexual aspect of a marriage. There’s so much more involved in choosing a mate and so much more to having a successful marriage. The most important things are that he/she is a true, practising Christian, loves you as God defines love, and has a desire to obey God. A past indiscretion is no reason to discount a person who has already been forgiven by God and who is presently living the way God intended. Besides, EVERYONE has past indiscretions because no one is perfect (Romans 3:23). If you are a virgin and blessed with a significant other who has the above qualities, acknowledge that they have a past, but forgive them, and remember … “love will cover a multitude of sins” 1 Peter 4:8.
“I kept myself pure, I expect the same…
we must be equally yoked”
I can fully understand this viewpoint in terms of mutual virginity. However, I believe it is a perversion of what is taught in the Bible about being equally yoked.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14
The Bible speaks of those with the same beliefs, not the same experiences, as being equally yoked. There are so many examples where God used people whose past actions are seedy. For example, one of the greatest redemption stories of all time is the reformation of the persecutor Saul to the apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19). My advice to a virgin in this situation is to be an imitator of God (Ephesians 5:1-2) and do not hold the past against the person (Psalms 25:7). Further, know that this person has made an effort to “keep themselves pure” since recognizing the error of their ways despite it being truly difficult to resist the temptations of the flesh they have already experienced.
“I want the person I marry to be the first, the one and only”
Again I can understand how one will feel knowing they are not “the first”; how will one “rank” amongst all the other partners their wife/husband has had in the past? I think the focus should be on the fact that the person who is marrying you chose you to be their one and only life partner. The last thing on their mind when the marriage is consummated is going to be ranking you against Martha from high school or Brian from college who bear no significance on their current life.
Our responsibility as Christian non-virgins
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not removing all responsibility from the non-virgins. We must be compassionate and empathetic towards our virgin spouses. If they have hang-ups about our pasts, be understanding. Let them know that what is important is who you are now and Who you both serve now. Remind them that God, and not you (and your experience), will bring the intimacy into your marriage.
Finally, we need to forgive ourselves. There was some evidence of self-hate on those forums too! For example, I felt really hurt for a non-virgin who said that the virgin’s comments like the ones above made her feel “broken” and “unworthy of love”. As Christians, we must not succumb to the thought that “our sin is more than God can forgive”. No sin can separate us from the Love of God (Romans 8:38-39) and through His love we are forgiven (John 3:16).
More on this topic at Virgin Expectations (reneamac.com)