question-mark-heartWhat if I’m a virgin, but my boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t?

Those of you who are saving your virginity for marriage are probably the ones most likely to struggle with the issue of accepting your boyfriend or girlfriend’s past. You may have embraced the message of sexual purity at a young age and dreamed of finding someone who has done the same. If this describes you then the next two paragraphs were written with you in mind specifically.

First, the desire to marry a virgin does not make you selfish, judgmental, or a nutcase. This is, after all, the biblical ideal. Virginity is a once-in-a-lifetime gift, and those who have preserved it have done something truly special. It is completely understandable if you are disappointed to learn the one you are in a relationship with has not also saved this gift for you.

But here’s the next important point: God does not promise that everyone who waits will be rewarded with a virgin bride or groom. We live in a broken, X-rated world in which virginity is increasingly rare. Hopefully your main motivation for living a pure life is to glorify God. You will find yourself disillusioned if you approach sexual purity with the idea that God “owes” you something because of it.

Writing on this topic is a delicate balance. Non-virgins are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God. Some of the godliest people I’ve met, in fact, made terrible relationship decisions (including sexual immorality) before coming to Christ. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, including sexual sin.

But I also don’t want minimize the value of virginity or dismiss the pain and confusion that sexual immorality brings to relationships.

With this in mind, I’d like to share the two questions that I believe will be extremely helpful. These questions (especially the first one) apply to anyone who is discussing sexual history with a boyfriend/girlfriend:

Here’s the most important question to consider: has he/she truly changed since making these mistakes?

We can have complete faith in Jesus’ power to heal brokenness, forgive sins, and transform lives. But you need to be sure you are with someone who has genuinely repented, embraced this transformation, and committed to lifestyle of purity. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who continues to live in sexual sin. You don’t want to marry someone who has deep character problems or sexual addictions. Marriage is for people who are ready and able to focus all of their sexual energy on just one partner.

Next is a follow-up question: can you love and accept this person in spite of the past and its consequences?

This may be a very difficult decision—there are no easy, pain-free choices (sin tends to create such scenarios). Continuing the relationship means you are choosing to accept your boyfriend/girlfriend’s past.  This may be painful at first, but it should get easier as time goes on. On the other hand, breaking up may mean losing a really good relationship over something that can’t be changed and has been forgiven by God (with no guarantee your next girlfriend/boyfriend will be a virgin).

Things get even more complex if there were long-term consequences to your boyfriend or girlfriend’s past. Dating a single parent, for example, is much more complicated than a relationship where no children are involved.

You will simply have to pray and decide the wisest choice for you.

I hope the advice I’ve written helps you navigate this relationship dilemma with grace and wisdom.