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Marriage Doesn’t Wait For True Love

August 21, 2014

One of the interesting threads of discussion in Dalrock’s post From celibate boyfriend to celibate husband (true love doesn’t wait). has been the very issue that the post has covered:

The drive to teach abstinence in the church is really a drive for the delay of marriage.

Now wait a minute, how could that be? Isn’t teaching abstinence a good thing? Well it is. But it really is leading to something else, as evidenced by the number of (even Christian) women fornicating and the lack of rebuke from the average Christian pulpit.

As fads in Churchianity go, things get introduced and their memory comes and goes. There was a group called True Love Waits, which was created by the Southern Baptists in 1993 and has spread from there. Naturally, with all things Churchian, it was filled with lots of style and symbolism, but not much substance. Things such as purity rings, and purity balls, which end in pledges to abstinence. As this Huffington Post article describes them:

For those unfamiliar with the ritual, a purity ball is a religious ceremony in which fathers and daughters dress up in ball gown attire, spend a night of dinner and dancing together, and end the evening with a vow to abstain from sex until marriage.

While being a worldly article and standing against the Biblical idea of chastity, a linked article goes on to point out the strangeness of this concept:

It’s hard to know where to start with this: the notion of sex as “impurity,” the fact that it’s all daughters and no sons, the idea of dressing a preteen girl in something that looks awfully like a wedding dress.

Be sure to visit the linked site, as there are several pictures of participants of these purity balls (with limited copyright or I would have put one to this post). Creepy when you look at them, huh? Then as part of the ceremony, we get the pledge the daughters take:

“Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”

So we get a ceremony that looks like marriage, and for the daughters, which ends with a pledge before God

Given the lust for the marriage ceremony that women have, this fits the bill. Then the pledge saves themselves for God alone. . .or rather each daughter’s Personal Jesus, and ends up with their own marriage purity ring. Such a commitment definitely fits the idea that most Christian women have that they are married to Jesus, and needs to have her perfect Personal Jesus as her husband.

That said, I searched “True Love Waits” and found the reading pretty interesting. It was sparse given that this particular Churchian fad has had such an amount of time to go away. One has to admit that they did a perfect job with the sloganeering. But quite inaccurate given the message that has been sent. After all:

I suppose that, among other things the title: ‘The Godly Young Man or Woman Does Not Have Sexual Relations Outside of Marriage’ was just not catchy enough.

Genesis 29:20 came up consistently in the search: “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” In reading the entire story, we can typically see that the application of this Scripture is out of context. They are taking a single isolated Scripture verse and then fashioning a whole doctrine after it, which is inconsistent with the rest of Scripture.

It’s amazing how many different references to Genesis 29:20 I find. Basically put, whoever came up with that doctrine shopped, deciding to conform Scripture to their wishes instead of conforming themselves to Scripture. In other words, they are taking an exceptional case out of Scripture and turning it into the norm.

Granted, the majority of the writers that came up in the search got this verse right. The most interesting writer out in left field is this one. You can recognize the feminist tropes spread all throughout:

* “Jacob turned his head, took one fateful look, and it was without a doubt love at first sight.”
* “We get the idea that he was so fascinated by Rachel’s beauty, and so enchanted by her charm, that he failed to recognize her shortcomings or even to consider the will of God in his relationship with her.”
* [Jacob reminded the shepherds that grazing time was lost], “probably a ploy to get rid of them so he could talk to Rachel alone.”
* “Could he [Jacob] have been showing off just a little?”
* “But from the beginning we are a little dubious about the match. We know that a relationship based primarily on physical attraction rests on a shaky foundation.”
* “But when a man is enamored of a woman, he does not want to hear those things. He is going to have her, and nothing else matters.”
* “One great test of true love, therefore, is the ability to wait. Infatuation is usually in a hurry because it is self-centered. It says, “I feel good when I am with you, so I want to hurry up and get you to the altar before I lose you and lose these good feelings.” Love says, “Your happiness is what I want most of all, and I am willing to wait, if need be, to be sure this is what is best for you.”
* “Jacob could have accepted his marriage to Leah as the will of God for his life and learned to love her alone.”

There is much more that could be gleaned out of the piece, but the author clearly makes Jacob into the villain for not desiring Leah alone in the first place. This is because of the clear Churchian teaching that men are not to consider attraction when considering their wives. So it seems that, given Genesis 29:20 is used so much in connection with this phrase that:

The “True Love Waits” mantra is for men, not for women.

This can be easily seen in how the term is meant. “True love” in the sense it is meant, is really feeling and not action. In other words, instead of marriage being the proper place to experience romance and sex, we have romance becoming the proper place to experience marriage and sex.

So in the decision of marriage, men are supposed to wait until the women are ready for marriage – after all, true love waits, right? It really only comes down to the preferences of the woman’s personal Jesus.

True love waits until the man who meets her 643 point checklist comes along. After all, the perfect man God has just for that woman is out there.

Meanwhile, men are to sacrifice throughout all of this and wait until she is ready. After all, according to the Book of Oprah, her heart is to lead the marriage. So the message to men who are waiting:

True love waits until she’s established in her career.
True love waits until she’s had a ride on The Carousel, and rack up her n-count in a series of long-term relationships.
True love waits until she’s had the chance to travel.
True love waits until she’s had time to serve the Lord long-term.
True love waits until she’s had a “marriage” and a couple of children.

Then the women notice their prospects have dried up and cry to folks like Andrew Walker, Jon Lakin, and Albert Mohler, who then respond with growls and shouts to man up and marry those sluts, instead of seeing the situation for what it is.

These individuals have noticed the long period of waiting, and correctly call for early marriage, but miss the reason behind it, along with the sex doing the delaying. This is common, and to be expected.

If True Love Waits, then the third word indicates that the wait has to end sometime. These people are correctly seeing that the wait is too long. Until they can look in the mirror, and truly hear the message that “You are that man.”, they can talk all they want. But it still won’t make it happen, especially at the hands of these people. This makes such a pronouncement as this hot air, and consequently worthless. The proof in the pudding (so to speak) will be if these three men (and the others of the SBC) can repent of the wickedness they’ve perpetuated.

21 Comments
  1. When you really dig into this, there is some pretty twisted stuff at the bottom of it all. The rot runs deep.

  2. I’ve always found ‘purity balls’ to be creepy, and wrong-headed, but apart from some incestuous overtones, I couldn’t think of any other reasons why. I completely agree that indeed they make women think they’re married to Christ, as if they were nuns.

    And that is twisted (unless you are actually a nun).

  3. Here’s some more weirdness:

  4. Or rather, make girls, and then young women, think that (etc.)

  5. So, little girls’ virginity is a cross to bear now, is it?

  6. Creepy indeed!

  7. Sometimes these posts end up with an embarassment of riches to go off of. Some of the things that I didn’t use. It all only serves to lock down the narrative in the main post.

    Study Finds That Teenage Virginity Pledges Are Rarely Kept

    Of the 12,000 teenagers included in the federal study, 88 percent of those who pledged chastity reported having had sexual intercourse before they married, Dr. Bearman said at a scientific meeting in Philadelphia on preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

    5 Reasons Purity Rings and Pledges Don’t Work

    I call this Jesus-fish Syndrome. You slap a Jesus fish (Icthus) on your car and it makes no difference what you do in that car, people should be able to notice, by the Jesus fish, that you are, obviously, a Christian. I have seen the same happen with purity ring wearers. One young woman I taught was overtly sexual and immodest. When I tried to approach the subject with her, she stopped me and showed me her hand, “I have a purity ring,” as if it were her license to do whatever she liked. It was her proof that she was, in her opinion, pure, but her life spoke loudly to the contrary. That ring had provided her with a false sense of purity.

    Christians Who Don’t Promote Young Marriage Don’t Actually Care About Chastity

    Are adult Christians just stupid?

    Is it not obvious to anyone with half a brain that human beings were not designed to delay sex for two or three decades after coming to sexual maturity? Yet we have Christians not blinking an eye at full-grown adult singles waiting until age 35 to marry for the first time, because that was just God’s perfect plan or whatever.

    Some additions for the blog post, if I do a revision of it from that one:

    True love waits until she figures out who she is.
    True love waits so she can work on herself to be closer to God.

    Princess Fantasies From Both Sides

    How is the “Daughter of the King!” industry not setting up women for the exact same problem of an unrealistic romantic fantasy? You’ve got Rebecca St. James, whose entire adult life has been spent in the entertainment industry where the vast majority of males (and therefore the guys in her social circle) are well above average in looks and have success in a way that the average man will never attain, advising young Christian women on how to find her male peers lacking in romantic worthiness staying pure until they marry The One. You’ve got True Love Waits telling horny teenagers not to have sex until they’re married, which in this culture may not be for another 15 to 20 years, and expecting that signing a card is going to be a meaningful deterrence in the heat of the moment. Joshua Harris scared a generation away from dating because some guys in dating didn’t have lofty enough goals. And then you have people like Stasi Eldredge writing dreamy prose about how God can romantically and emotionally satisfy women.

    Taking The House

    It occurred to me that this is the mating strategy that Rebecca St. James followed. As is well-known, she was very vocal about her virginity and her intention not to have sex until she was married. She became the poster child of True Love Waits, cut a purity crusade anthem called “Wait for Me,” wrote the foreword to IKDG, and in general became an evangelical darling. Which was great and all, but no one could have predicted that Rebecca would go on to spend something like 16 or 17 years publicly waiting. Even among Christians, I think, there’s a point at which admiration turns to UM, WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?, especially for someone who has beauty, wealth, and access to presumably high-quality men.

  8. This struck me:

    True love waits until she figures out who she is.

    If knowing “who you are” before marrying meant absolutely anything, there would be far fewer women divorcing because they are unhappy.

    Those of us who married young and who are blessed to have figured out at least a little bit of this stuff really MUST instill some sanity into our daughters.

    And putting them into what amounts to a wedding dress, having elaborate ceremonies, and implying that they are rare treasure boxes which hordes of thieving young men are just waiting to break into is not realistic.

    Good post.

  9. This is what happens to victims of the whole “True Love Waits” fiasco:

    http://www.xojane.com/sex/true-love-waits-pledge?utm_source=yourtango&utm_medium=mainlink&utm_medium=syndication

    They were convinced by their parents and pastors that everything would miraculously fall into place as long as they married with their hymens intact. The Bible doesn’t teach that, but they trust that those pastors are speaking on God’s behalf. And after what is oftentimes a disastrous honeymoon, they find their faith in God reduced to flotsam.

    The impression that I get is that guys like Harris, Gothard and other proponents of the Purity Movement were sexual Pharisees who wanted to impose their failures and repression on others; if you do a quick search about the fallout from their teachings, you’ll see that they succeeded.

    Heaven forgive them.

  10. I never understood the purity movement.

  11. The ‘purity movement’ didn’t seem to get traction in Australia, no surprise in that. As far as I know it was/is an American thing. Does it still exist in its original form, or has it evolved?

  12. Jesus lived and died a single man. Jesus was resurrected a single man/entity? and now he is ‘betrothed’ to the Church, ok I know I’ve switched to a metaphor, but this is a reoccurring theme in the New Testament with the Bride in the book of Revelation and the marriage of The Lamb.
    2000 years is a long wait.

  13. @sonofdeathswriter I never did either. It’s actually pretty nonsensical, in that goes way above and beyond simple fornication. You know they believe that even the first kiss should be saved until the wedding night? A great example of adding to the Scriptures.

    @Don Quixote: Yes the purity movement still exists. One site claims 17 countries outside of the US. I tried looking for an Australian example, but couldn’t find one. But I’m sure someone is doing it somewhere, as I’m sure churches in other countries have adopted the purity movement mantra (like I Kissed Dating Goodbye).

  14. With regards to first kisses and such, I know that Cane Caldo has a great post out there talking about how kissing (at least in the sense of kissing on the lips) is inherently sexual. So I think a good case can be made for waiting on that until a couple is married. Waiting until the wedding night, though? That is just silly, at best.

  15. @Donalgraeme

    Yes it is. I don’t think anyone has waited til marriage for their first kiss. Can you imagine being suckered into playing spin the bottle knowing that you can’t kiss on the lips until marriage.

    @Ballista

    Adding to scriptures is becoming too common. One of the main reasons why I stick to scripture instead of going by something that isn’t in the bible in the first place.

  16. @ sonofdeathswriter

    Some very conservative circles do just that- hold kissing until the wedding. I think that the argument for it has merit, but it also has some risks associated with it that need to be addressed.

  17. @donalgraeme

    Wouldn’t this idea create bondage/stronghold or a restriction/rule that adds to how faith in God is measured?

    It’s bad enough that some judge faith on performance instead of belief. This will add onto performance.

  18. There is one entire book in the bible that celebrates sexual beauty and marital love that is authored by Solomon and inspired by God. Yet churchianity despises physical beauty in choosing a mate.

  19. Yet churchianity despises physical beauty in choosing a mate.

    I don’t think this is true infowarrior. The problem is that when you encourage the delaying of marriage until the late 20’s early 30’s while pushing a lifestyle of consumption, the rat race, and selfishness in the interim you end up be default with women who are older and more jaded at the precise moment that they begin to consider seeking a husband.

    A 20-year-old bride is more carefree, innocent,, malleable, and physically beautiful. A lot of of the unattractiveness we lament in women is just outward expression of inward rot developed from years of living without a head (fathers have baked up if they were ever there and no husbands in sight).

    And so, in a desperate attempt to get the women married, you have an elevation of “inner beauty” over physical attributes. The dirty little secret is that the two are sometimes linked. Especially in younger women.

  20. @Elspeth I would say this is true. The effort to allow these women to obtain the Feminist Merit Badges bring them to the point of their 30’s a lot of times before they even consider marriage. Add all that life up, coupled with their ride on the Carousel and add in the ones that were never that desirable anyway, and it becomes exceedingly rare to even have a shot at an attractive Christian wife.

    Then in the effort to maintain the Feminist Narrative, which says that all these women deserve God’s perfect husband for them, they try to define this “inner beauty” in them as more important (along with outlaw selection by men) in order to keep the Narrative going that these independent empowered women can “have it all”.

    I’ve mentioned my Christian Mingle account that I opened to “play” with. I think I’ve probably only had two women that I could refer to as “mildly attractive” out of about 18 or so now that have pinged the account. The best in terms of physical beauty is about a 5 or 6. The average is in the 2-3 territory.

    It really is pretty depressing. . .if I was as wound up on marriage as the Churchians want me to be.

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