The following post is for mature audiences…
Dear Readers, I am so excited to introduce you to one of my dearest friends, Ceci. She so graciously agreed to write this post for Songs of Waiting. Ceci has been by my side through this waiting journey, and has been one of my biggest supporters in this. Ceci too is in the waiting journey. She has a beautiful spirit and is a light burning bright for Jesus. So, Reader, here is Ceci’s post: transparent, vulnerable, and beautiful:
As a young person living in today’s day and age, navigating the wonderful world of dating is anything but simple – add in the factor of being a Christian woman “waiting until marriage” and what’s already complicated gets a whole lot trickier.
I am 24 years old, and I have made the decision to embark on the ambitious road of “waiting until marriage.” I have dated, I have been in love, I have had my heart broken and I have fallen from grace – like I said, it hasn’t been an easy road, but despite that, I still believe it has and it will be worth the wait. I am still “dating and waiting” and as a result, I am still figuring out exactly how to navigate the dating world while having the conviction of wanting to “wait until marriage.”
To be honest, my decision started off as more of a religious thing – growing up in the church we were always taught that waiting to have sex until marriage was just “what you’re supposed to do,” but we were never really told how or why to do it (or at least this was my own experience). And to be honest, for a while, it almost felt like a rule that I just HAD to follow. But as I got older and began exploring the relationship/dating world, I slowly learned and began to understand why waiting is a thing that God wants us to do – it helps two individuals cultivate a love that is a reflection of the love that God has for each of us – pure, selfless and true.
Trust me when I say this – I am far from the expert when it comes to this whole “dating and waiting” thing, and I’m still trying to figure out a lot of things myself. As a young woman trying to navigate the dating world while staying true to myself and to my faith, the journey has been far from easy, but through all the trials and doubts that I’ve faced, I have learned bits and pieces of the how’s and why’s of dating and waiting.
There are a lot of things that I could write about and say when it comes to “dating and waiting,” but I think the first and most honest thing that I will say is that it isn’t easy; in fact it can be really hard.
When it comes to dating and waiting, I think that one of the hardest things is feeling alone in your pursuits. Waiting until marriage is a foreign thing to many people in our society and it can be perceived as “weird,” “unnatural,” and super counter cultural. In my own experience, there have been many times where I felt like a weirdo and like the odd ball out – for the longest time I didn’t even tell anyone about these desires I had for my life for fear of being judged and labeled as “strange” or “miss goody-two shoes.” I went through the majority of high school feeling like I was literally the only person in the world who had “waiting until marriage” on her heart and at times this made me feel so alone. But what I’ve learned over the years is that although it felt so at times (especially in high school and through the beginning of college) I am not alone in this.
Eventually, I started opening up more about this aspect of my life to friends whom I grew to know well and trust. When I started talking about “waiting until marriage” I not only found support, but I also found that my true friends didn’t judge me or call me “weird” even if waiting until marriage wasn’t necessarily the same thing they had chosen for their life. In addition to that, as I began cultivating meaningful friendships I slowly but surely built a group of girlfriends who actually felt the same way I did (Sarah Lynn being one of them)! I realized that I was not alone in the universe and that there are other people out there with this same hope in their hearts.
As a result, before I go any further, I would like to say that I think one of the best pieces of advice that I could give a young person “in waiting” is to cultivate a network of friends (both men and women) who love and support you and who you can talk to openly about love, relationships, sex, faith, etc. Having people who you can talk to about hard and personal topics such as these, will not only make your dating life a lot easier, but will help you through life in general. You will not feel alone and through cultivating deep and meaningful friendships, you will also learn how to cultivate deep and meaningful dating relationships. Building a network of true and faithful friends who encourage you rather than discourage you, will help make “dating and waiting” a bit easier.
In my own experiences, aside from it being outside the realm of societal norms, the next thing that I have found that makes “dating and waiting” hard is rejection.
I have suffered my own fair share of rejection simply due to the fact that I have and am choosing to wait. Dating is already scary as it is and requires a lot of vulnerability and because sex is such a “normalized” part of dating nowadays, you may encounter people whom do not understand why you want to wait, nor agree with your desires to wait.
You may start dating someone and really like him or her. As you continue to spend time with one another and the relationship becomes more serious, the topic of sex and intimacy is inevitably going to come up. It is always an awkward conversation to have, but it is also a necessary one and I would recommend having it sooner rather than later.
Dating is an evaluation process and although it’s scary and kind of uncomfortable, if you want to wait until marriage, talking about this desire of your heart is a very important conversation to have because you and your partner will need to be on the same page. Talking about it will help you figure out if the person that you are dating is actually a good fit for you or not. Sometimes when the topic comes up, your partner will respond favorably, understand where you’re coming from (or at least want to learn and understand why you want to wait until marriage) – this is a good sign and shows that your partner truly values you as a person and wants to honor both you and God. Other times however, you may not receive such a positive response. The person may not understand why you want to wait until marriage (especially if they themselves have not waited); their beliefs may not align with yours and this may lead to heartbreak – in other words, rejection.
I myself have suffered from this type of rejection and I am not going to lie, it hurts. It made me question myself, my worth and my beliefs and I struggled for a while to overcome this particular type of hurt and rejection that was so closely associated with my desire to wait until marriage. However, after a lot of struggling and prayer (as well as amazing support from my faithful network of friends), I was able to regain my faith, confidence and desire to wait, understanding that the rejection had nothing to do with me and my worth – the person who rejected me for my beliefs and desire of wanting to wait until marriage, simply was not a good fit for me. That is why it is so important to have the conversation in order to figure out whether or not the person who you are dating is actually walking a similar path as you. The rejection might hurt, but in the end you’ll be better off finding out sooner rather than later whether or not your partner is willing to embark on the “journey of waiting” with you.
When you find yourself “in like” with someone and are trying to decide whether or not to pursue a relationship I would also recommend asking yourself the following questions: Does he believe in God? Is he kind? Does he respect me? Do his actions make me feel valued? Does he pray? Does he make me want to grow closer to God or is he leading me astray? Does he bring me peace and make me feel safe? Or do I feel uneasy and insecure? – These are all important questions to ask yourself when you are trying to pursue a pure and Godly relationship with someone. Like I said before, dating is an evaluation process and questions such as these are important to ask yourself when figuring out if a relationship is worth pursuing or not.
You deserve a man who loves and values you for all that you are. Not for your looks and your body, but for your beautiful heart and soul. He should cherish and protect you in all that you are and you should never settle for anything less.
That being said, once you find this type of man, you will most likely begin to stumble upon one of the hardest parts of the “dating and waiting” journey, which is actually sex and attraction itself.
It is super easy to “wait” while you are casually dating. Talking to guys, going on first dates, and not kissing them good night because you “aren’t really feeling it” is one thing, but once you have found someone that you actually really like, who you are attracted to, and who you decide to pursue a relationship with, things become a lot harder as well as a lot trickier.
Sex and attraction is super natural. It’s actually healthy, and to be honest, you want to be not only mentally and emotionally attracted, but also sexually attracted to the person you are dating. God wants us to have sex because under the right context of love and marriage, sex is a beautiful and fruitful thing. However, sex can also be so powerful that if awoken before the time is right, it can become destructive and dangerous. This is why God wants us to wait. But, when you love someone and are attracted to him or her, waiting to have sex until marriage is definitely easier said than done.
I have been in several relationships in which my partner and I had the “waiting until marriage talk” and we agreed that we wanted to be together and that waiting until marriage was something that we wanted to pursue. However, despite that talk, we were also SUPER attracted to one another and in love. Being human, this made us both reeeeaaaally want to have sex with one another – sorry if that’s too much information, I’m just being honest with you – when you love someone and you’re attracted to them, it’s hard to wait.
As a result, while I was in these particular relationships, some boundaries were definitely crossed, willingly, by both of us. We definitely did not go “all the way,” but even so, we pushed some boundaries that I am not proud of and that required a lot of prayer and reconciliation. With these relationships, I learned the importance of setting boundaries, communicating, as well as holding each other accountable when it comes to kissing and the other “physical stuff” that comes with a romantic relationship. I also learned the importance of having a partner that not only “agrees” to wait until marriage, but who actually truly understands why you are waiting and who wants to wait with you; someone who shares a similar heart as yours as well as similar values and faith. If you have a partner who is not only waiting with you, but walking with you and with God through this journey together, you will most likely end up being more successful in your wait.
I could talk to you more about the boundaries that I set for myself now, but I believe that everyone is different and that is a conversation that you need to have with your partner as well as with God. That being said, I would HIGHLY recommend listening to Stephanie May Wilson’s Girls Night Podcast #33 “Christian Dating Rules: What are they and are we supposed to follow them” and #34 “How do you keep God at the center of your relationship.” In these two episodes Stephanie talks about a lot of real things and offers some really good advice and tips for “dating and waiting” so if you have time and want to learn more, I would recommend giving those two episodes a listen.
Honestly, I could go on and on about “dating and waiting” and all the different lessons I have learned from my various dating stories and experiences, but I’m writing a blog post, not a book so I will leave you with this final thought:
Although it hasn’t been easy and I have felt hopeless and discouraged more than once, given into temptations several times and even questioned my convictions of wanting to wait until marriage, through it all I have continued to learn what love looks like in its purest form. Pure love, agape love, is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional; it is the kind of love that Jesus has for each of us. Through embarking on the journey of “dating and waiting,” I have slowly learned (and am still learning) how to love myself and how to love others in this way. And at the end of the day, I believe that is what God wants – for us to live and to love purely – just as He does.
Even though dating and waiting is hard, I pray that you are encouraged to keep walking with God on this journey, knowing that you are not alone in your pursuits and that you have a whole group of friends who are also trying their best to walk the same path as you. I pray that you have the courage to dare to be different, to rise from rejection, and to hold fast to your convictions.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Speak your truth always,
Dear Jesus, I thank you for women who are brave enough to share their stories to encourage others. I pray that You will touch the hearts of people reading this, and encourage and strengthen them in their waiting. Jesus, I pray that You keep us anchored to You, and that we live a life set apart, shining with the light of Jesus. Amen.
Check out The Ceci Diaries at https://thececidiaries.wordpress.com/