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This is a guest post written by Heather Margiotta for Sparrows + Lily.

*Edited by Lindsey Maestas*

When I read Lindsey’s story, I shared it with many people as I knew that they could relate and would be encouraged. Her story is one of forgiveness, healing, and redemption.

My story is a bit different, but it is a story that I hope encourages many of you. Mine is one which I believe shows that there is beauty in the waiting season and blessings that follow.

When I was growing up, my friends and I all made a pact that we would wait until marriage before we made the decision to be intimate. I truly wish that I could say that we had all kept our promises, because I know how worthwhile of a promise it is.

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I have watched from the sidelines as many girls gave into the lies that caused them to stray from what they so desperately desired for themselves. They succumbed and gave in to what the world said was ‘normal.’

Oftentimes, I have found that we become filled with insecurities that tend to control the decisions that we make. Isn’t it easy to fall into the trap of believing that we may never get married so we might as well give in?

When we give in to this temptation, we then justify sharing both our hearts and bodies with someone who claims that they love us, even if our forever won’t be spent with them.

Peer pressure is no joke – I’m very familiar with it. I know firsthand that it’s much easier to believe that we shouldn’t wait simply because the people around us aren’t waiting, either.

My husband, James, and I started dating at a young age. Two years before we got together, I surrendered my life to Jesus. Before that day, I had very few experiences with who Jesus was, so everything about my relationship with God was new and exciting for me.

I first met James at a church event, and to be honest, he didn’t leave that much of an impression on me. Not in a bad way, of course, I just didn’t go home thinking about the boy I had just met. I didn’t beg God for him to be “the one.” I simply didn’t think about him much at all.

But after seeing him again one evening, I went home and out of nowhere, I felt in my heart that God told me that the boy I had just hung out with would one day be my husband.

This might sound like every girl’s dream — to know who God has set aside as your husband and not have to look or date around to find him — but the truth is, it wasn’t easy. God told me that James would one day be my husband, not today. Not next year. God still had a lot of work to do to prepare that 15-year-old girl for her husband and that 15-year-old boy for his wife.

Eventually, our relationship grew beyond friendship and James asked me to be his girlfriend.

I knew that, above all else, my heart’s desire was to honor God in our relationship. From the time I said “yes” to becoming his girlfriend, to the time I said “yes” to living together forever as his wife, we were very intentional about our relationship and everything that went into it.

1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

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There were three things that I feel truly set us apart and helped to keep us pure on this journey to marriage:

1. We were clear about our expectations

At the very beginning of our relationship, I made it clear that I was waiting until I was married to have sex. James agreed that he wanted the same. Neither of us would have continued dating if we’d had any disagreement on this important topic. We were evenly-yoked, just as scripture calls us to be.

We both knew that we were worth waiting for. We respected our bodies and knew the value of the gift of intimacy that we would give each other after we said, “I do” and committed our lives to one another.

2. We set boundaries from the beginning

The longer we dated, the longer we had to wait. We both had to make sure that we didn’t cross that line, even when the temptation was strong. We spent minimal time alone; we chose to be with friends, family or out in public whenever we were together. We wanted to make sure we weren’t tempted to do anything we would regret later.

3. We put God first

Most importantly, we were individually seeking God and placing Him first. The more we grew in our relationship with God, the less we craved that immediate satisfaction in our dating relationship.

I know not many people say that it was easy, but for us, it truly was. I want to make it clear that it can be easy to wait with God’s strength. We never found ourselves in a situation where we had to stop what we were doing before we went too far and we never allowed ourselves to be in situations that could open the door to mistakes.

We were proactively protecting ourselves and our relationship. It can be easy to wait when God is first in your life. It was clear in our hearts exactly what we wanted and God protected that.

And just as we expected, some people mocked us for the choice to wait to be intimate until we were married. But we didn’t allow that to cause us to stumble. We were both confident in our beliefs that God created intimacy as a beautiful gift for us— after marriage.

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I don’t know what it is like to be intimate prior to marriage, but I do know the beauty of waiting and the blessings that follow. Waiting to have sex created a solid foundation for our relationship. We built relationships with both of our families. We invested in one another deeply.

The foundation to our relationship was built on friendship and the intimacy after marriage was simply the icing on the cake. Our minds weren’t distracted by selfish fulfillment.

I don’t know what it’s like to be intimate prior to marriage, but what I do know is the beauty of waiting and the blessings that follow.

The blessings that followed our wedding were all the ways God intended to honor the desire of my heart. Because we chose to do it God’s way, He blessed us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

Not only did I marry my best friend, I also get to know my best friend in a way that only makes the foundation of our relationship that much sweeter. Our honeymoon was a week spent learning more about one another in a way we hadn’t before.

If you choose purity before marriage, you become One without any shame, regret or sexual history clouding your joy. When you have a blank slate, you're able to make it beautiful together. Click To Tweet

There is no other man who knows me the way my husband does, and there is no other woman who knows him the way that I do.

I haven’t had to deal with the struggle of not measuring up to his former relationships or any other insecurities that come from being intimate prior to marriage. We were able to give ourselves to each other completely whole, without any missing or broken pieces.

Even though the beginning of Lindsey’s story differs from mine, the endings remain the same. We both entered into a marriage with God at the center. That is important to know because whether you relate to my story in waiting, or Lindsey’s story in starting over, there is a God who keeps His promises. He wants beautiful beginnings for you.

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I want to encourage you today that if you choose to remain pure until marriage, you are far more likely to succeed if you make it a priority to spend more time with your Creator. The closer you are to the One who made you, the closer you are to living the life you were designed for.

Pray for your future husband’s purity and for God to protect him. Wait on the Lord and trust Him as you wait for a man who is willing to wait for you.

Love,

Heather

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