When I first met my husband, I had no idea he would be the man who would put a ring on it.
I didn’t know how much he would open my heart to new possibilities and change my life. I just thought he had enough charm to win over a room, wit to know what he was talking about, a great sense of style, and a killer smile (it still makes me swoon even though it has been over two years since I first caught a glimpse).
In many ways, our love story is typical. We met at an event, struck up a conversation, and he asked me out. When we went for drinks, the engaging conversation graduated us to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant. After a few weeks of dating, Ben looked at me at the end of the evening and said, “I have something to tell you.” That night “I love you’s” were exchanged sweetly, simply, and sincerely. Next came meeting the parents, holidays together, and the casually introduced but monumental discussions about the future—our dreams, having a family, and where we could imagine growing old together.
Ben proposed in his kitchen; an unexpected and perfectly private moment shared just between us. When he got on one knee, I blurted out “yes” before he even finished asking the question! We called our families and posted the big news on Instagram. We were overwhelmed by the hundreds of comments and messages of love and celebration!
The next four months leading up to our wedding were joyful (and at times stressful with endless hours of planning). When the big day finally arrived, we exchanged vows before our loved ones with a mix of giddy grins and teary eyes. It was our moment of complete bliss.
Our relatable modern-day love story has one remarkable difference: Ben and I did not have sex until our wedding night.
We got married in our early thirties with a fair amount of life experience to bring to the mix. Most would think we already had an active sex life together. When people find out we waited, they tend to respond with a puzzled face and ask, “but why?”
Ben and I both lived full lives before we met, and neither of us tried to downplay our past experiences when getting to know each other. He was sexually active since a young man. I remained a virgin. He lived with a woman a few years before meeting me that taught him a lot about relationships. I had a previous significant other that left me heartbroken but also stronger. We openly talked about our history without shame or judgment and found even though we had lived different lives, we wanted the same things moving forward.
Our past informed us, but our future united us.
We wanted to build a life together that reflected whom we were becoming, not necessarily who we had been. Ben and I met at church, and our faith was a huge part of our decision-making. Not engaging in sex until marriage was not a religious restraint thrust upon us by narrow-minded tradition. We dialogued about it and jointly decided it was best for our relationship. Others may choose differently and not understand why we waited, but it gave us the space to grow emotional intimacy supported by honor, respect, and love. Taking the relationship further for us meant a life-long commitment before physical intimacy.
Once people get past the shock of our abstinence, the next question is, “So was it weird on your wedding night? Did it affect your sex life to wait?” The assumption is that by holding off until marriage, we were taking a considerable risk. What if we weren’t sexually compatible? What if we found out too late that our chemistry fell short under the sheets?
I doubt that anyone’s first time is the greatest they will ever have (if so, congrats!) A relationship is always growing, and so is every kind of intimacy it brings. I can tell you the assumption that our sex life suffered by not giving it a go before marriage is simply false. Ben and I were both deeply attracted to each other in every sense, including physically. Combined with our mutual love and respect for one another, we’ve been able to explore sex in a deeply satisfying way in marriage.
Our culture today quite openly discusses sex. I don’t find it to be an entirely bad thing when in the past, both men and women have struggled to make sense of their sexuality in societies that treat sex as shameful, hush-worthy, and filled with unspoken prejudices and fears. Just because we’re more open today in expressing sexuality, doesn’t mean we have respectful conversations. We’ve gone to great lengths not to shame the sexually active, exploring, or open. We have not always done the same to de-stereotype or fairly view people choosing not to have sex. Waiting until marriage is often frowned upon as old-school, prudish, unnatural, and even unhealthy.
My experience of abstinence is not one I regret.
I was never fearful of sex. No one brainwashed me to believe it was evil. Waiting wasn’t my only option because no one desired me. It was a choice that I still look back on and treasure. The years without sex, I never felt like I was lacking. Now as a sexually active married woman, I get to celebrate the act with wholehearted devotion to my husband.
Before we throw abstinence out with the old in the name of sexual liberation, perhaps we can give room for it to be an act of freedom as well. For me, waiting to have sex until my wedding night has led to a great intimacy and loving mutuality in my marriage. I’m confident I’m not the only one with a similar story to tell.
*This article was originally published at Iridescentwomen.com. For more articles, videos and conversation to empower and encourage young women, make sure to visit to the site, and subscribe while you’re at! 😉