Seven years ago I had no idea how I got to the place I was: in the middle of an affair, depressed, obsessed and full of self-loathing. But I didn’t get there overnight.
During my healing and restoration I read Shannon Etheridge‘s book Every Woman’s Battle. In it she asks a question: If you can’t control yourself before you’re married, what makes you think you can control yourself after you’re married (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the page number).
Because the thing is, we hadn’t controlled ourselves before we were married. When I got married in 1996 at the age of 21 Chad was not a virgin but I was. Technically, that is.
We had gone as far as we could go before we were married without actually having intercourse. So when we did get married, we began our intimacy off on the wrong foot: one laced with guilt and embarrassment. We had not been able to exercise the self control we knew we should have. In fact, half the reason we did get married 2 weeks after I graduated from college was so that we didn’t have to live out the rest of that summer having almost-sex whenever we were alone. We wanted the real deal.
Reading Shannon’s book in the months after my affair was an eyeopener to say the least (and it turned out to be the single most effective book I read during that period). I finally began to understand some of the roots of my problem: a fundamental and complete lack of Godly self-control.
Last week a reader emailed me ans asked me how Chad and I managed to say pure when we were dating, how we were able to “wait” until we were married. We hadn’t, I had to tell her. Not completely. She asked me how a girl can navigate through singleness and make it all the way to a future wedding day without sleeping with any potential boyfriends. And, was it worth it. My answer to her was almost too simplistic.
Yes, it was worth it.
And to how? Self-control.
The self-control couples need to keep from having sex before they are married is the same self-control that keeps me from having an affair. And its the same self-control that keeps my husband from looking at porn. Its the same self-control that keeps me waking up every day and striving to keep my marriage pure and focused.
That self-control doesn’t change as soon as I sport a wedding ring. It’s something that should be learned early and learned well. And then it must be practiced.
Or else it is all hopeless.
Which is why today I’m giving away a pack of Shannon Etheridge books. She has been generous to donate four books that I will give away as a set to one of YOU! Every Woman’s Battle, Every Woman’s Battle Promise Book, Words of Wisdom for Women at the Well and then a copy of the Stephen Arterburn book Every Man’s Battle (a must read for every husband/boyfriend).
Leave ONE comment before 9pm Tuesday telling us what you think about any of this: about self-control, about waiting, about being single, or married, or anything. Just tell me your thoughts.