This weekend, I went to lunch with some of the wives/fiancées of grad students that my husband goes to school with. I had a wonderful time, especially since I have rarely had the opportunity for “girl time” since I’ve moved here, however, one particular conversation made me very uncomfortable. The two that are currently engaged were complaining about their parents’ being old-fashioned. “Being old-fashioned” meant that their parents didn’t approve of them living with their significant others before marriage and that they wouldn’t allow them to stay in the same bedroom when they visited home with their fiancés. Several times, they exclaimed things like, “Don’t they know it’s 2011, for goodness sakes! It’s not realistic to expect us to wait until we are married.”
Don’t get me wrong, I really like these women, but the conversation made me uncomfortable and I was noticeably silent during the entire conversation (and so was the other married woman there). I could tell that they were expecting the two of us to chime in and join them in ridiculing these “old-fashioned” expectations, but I couldn’t and I wouldn’t because I too am “old-fashioned”. My husband and I did wait to live together until we were married. We did wait to have sex until we were married. It was difficult, but by no means was it unrealistic. What made the conversation even more awkward was that these women are self-avowed (and active) Christians, and I know that their respective faiths to do not condone pre-marital sex. During several of the other conversations we had throughout lunch, they made it clear that they disapprove of various sinful behaviors. Therefore, it seemed that they think pre-marital sex is no longer a sinful behavior and that their churches have it all wrong. Since the Bible is very clear on its stance on premarital or extramarital affairs, I can’t understand how they can come to this reasoning.
(While listening to this conversation, it also reminded me about a recent blog post that Matthew Warner wrote about the snobbishness of the modern generation, who believes that they are infinitely more enlightened than past generations. But that is a different subject altogether.)
I, of course, struggle with sinful behaviors. However, I acknowledge that those behaviors are sinful and I do not ridicule others who disapprove of my sins. I actively strive toward ridding my life of sin, although I know I fall short. When my parents disapprove of my actions, I take a long, hard look and them and try to determine why exactly they disapprove. In 99% of the cases, my parents were right to disapprove of my behavior and it was out of love that they pointed out the error of my ways.
While my husband and I waited to have sex until we were married, I engaged in premarital sex with a previous boyfriend. I knew what I was doing was a sin, and I did it anyway. My parents didn’t approve of our relationship (and believe me, that was not the only reason!), but I didn’t mock them for doing so. I knew their admonishment came out of love, I knew they were right, but I chose to ignore it. I knew what my faith taught regarding premarital sex and I agreed with it whole-heartedly, I just chose not to follow it. Had anyone asked me at the time, I would have told them without a doubt in my mind that premarital sex was wrong, and I would have cautioned other young women against it. I admit that this was very hypocritical and I’m not just saying that in hindsight, I knew it at the time too. But like many people who continuously struggle with the same sin, the sin had such a hold on me that I couldn’t break away from it. The relationship was also very abusive verbally, emotionally, and a few times even physically. Had my parents left me alone to find my own path, I would probably still be in that relationship, or even worse, I might be dead (my ex-boyfriend later wound up in jail for attempted murder charges on the girlfriend he had after me). But my parents saw the sinful behavior I was engaging in and they constantly intervened. If it had not been for them and a few friends who consistently disapproved of the relationship, I would never have left.
The young women I had lunch with are lucky to have parents that care about them enough to disapprove of their sinful (and therefore, harmful) behavior.
I’ll admit, as Christians, I hold them to higher standards. But I believe that premarital sex in not good for anyone, even if you don't have beliefs that conflict with it. My best friend engages in premarital sex, but does not have any religious or familial expectations regarding chastity. She expresses sentiments similar to those of these ladies at lunch the other day, but the conversations are not as awkward for a few reasons: (1) she knows where I stand on the issue and (2) we are best friends and therefore close enough that I let her know that I don’t approve. I don’t judge her, but I do let her know what I think. For her part, I don’t think she really puts much merit on what I say, but I won’t stop explaining my position, because it’s the way that I am Christ’s witness to her. I love her and care about her enough to want her to curb the behavior that is inherently hurtful toward her, whether it’s politically correct to do so or not.