So let me get this straight?
Anything you do before marriage is a sin?
Anything you do after marriage (with your spouse) is pure?
Can we just take a minute and think about all of this?
No, like… really think about it.
Why am I bringing this up?
What made me ponder this on a Tuesday morning?
Well, my mind went back to a bible study I was in years ago.
Many, many years ago.
I was a young momma.
Dripping with four little ones.
Dealing with anxiety and depression.
What I was taught in this study was not actually part of the study.
It was the opinion of our leader.
I looked up to her.
She loved Jesus.
And on one particular night she challenged us.
Maybe, actually, it was just me.
She challenged me.
I’m not faulting her.
She was just teaching something she had learned.
I went on to teach this way of thinking as well.
Ok… so here it goes:
She told me to give it up for my husband whenever he wanted it.
Even if I wasn’t feeling it.
Even if I was too tired.
And not to worry about not feeling loved.
I just needed to give my body to him.
You know, like a spiritual act of worship.
He may not be worthy.
Jesus is though.
Just do it for Jesus.
Yep, I learned this.
Ok… I just walked away from my computer for a minute.
I needed to pace back and forth.
Take a deep breath.
Was/is any of this real?
Don’t get me wrong.
My marriage is strong.
My love for Kevin has never wained.
Even in those long, tired day of child rearing.
I loved him.
And he never even knew any of this was taught to me.
Never knew the “sacrifice” I was making to Jesus.
This isn’t at all what I believe any more.
Here’s the thing…
When we got married?
Our three year old daughter was in our wedding.
We had sex before we were married.
I used to feel so much shame and guilt surrounding this fact.
Not at all wanting to remember those times we were together before we husband and wife.
Even though, I’m not gonna lie, they were special.
Somehow, they were good memories.
A couple of young kids figuring things out.
And that sex?
It was actually consensual.
Ok… wait… not that my husband was ever with me against my will.
It was never like that.
Does any of this make sense?
I’m just saying… there was more of an innocence to what we did before we were married than what I was doing while we were married.
Giving myself to Jesus.
Praying the whole time.
Asking Jesus to bless me for giving it up.
Not at all into the act of it.
Just a duty.
This didn’t go on for too long.
I knew somewhere deep down inside it wasn’t right.
And I was not good at pretending.
Still am not.
What we have today, 28 years into our marriage?
It’s more like those days in the very beginning.
I’m not so tired and not so depressed.
We have fun together.
And there is no pressure.
Again, there never was any pressure from him.
And now I know?
There was no pressure from Jesus either.
It was the pressure I put on myself.
The pressure other Women of God put on me.
It was the pressure of the Purity Culture.
Shame if you do.
Oh and shame if you don’t.
Guilt and shame heaped on.
Piled on a young wife who already was dealing with enough guilt and shame.
Can we not?
Can we just stop the insanity?
Can we live in the grace of Jesus.
His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Talk to your partner.
I wish I would have in those days.
He honestly would have put a stop to the nonsense.
He wouldn’t have ever wanted it that way.
I don’t know many guys who would.
And if they do, maybe it’s time to rethink that relationship.
Oh, and one more thing.
At that time, I also learned that if I don’t give it up when he wants it, he will look for someone who would.
None of it was real or true or right.
I’m sorry I went through this.
I’m sorry I told other women this.
I’m just plain sorry for it all.
Now, for today?
We are partners.
Kev and me.
Talk about all of it.
Believe the best about each other.
Show patience with each other.
Because, we are far from perfect.
We just know this now.
And it makes life so much more fun.
Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.