“I’m not a virgin.”
The day my husband confessed his sexual history to me, I sat quietly as he told me the truth. I wasn’t shocked. But I knew that – going forward – we’d need to work on our relationship in ways others would not.
Virginity has been at the forefront of the purity conversation for decades. While God has set standards for sex and expects purity from His followers, virginity itself is not His goal. God’s goal is holiness, which is why the question is not “How far is too far?” but “How holy can I be?”
When my husband and I married, I was a virgin – and he was not. We’ve shared our story in many posts on my blog, but today I want to discuss what marriage looks like for two people of differing sexual pasts. Following are three common fears (and how Christ defeats them!) in regard to previous sexual sin.
Will I Be Enough For Him?
Sexual sin comes with consequences. One of those consequences is this battle against insecurity in the lives of both spouses. When one or both spouses give in to insecurity – continually questioning the love, faithfulness, or desire of their spouse – the foundation of trust is chipped away. You cannot have a thriving marriage while shackled to doubt.
How can you rest in the knowledge that you are enough when your spouse has had previous sexual experiences?
- Be honest about your sexual pasts PRIOR to engagement.
- Be clear about sexual expectations.
- Take captive all doubtful, insecure thoughts.
- Believe your spouse when they say you are desirable.
Is the Past Really In the Past?
There is redemption for sexual sin. Those who repent of it are made pure! Even so, the couple with two different sexual histories must be completely honest and open with one another in order to enter marriage in unity.
It is wise to ask, “Is the past really in the past?” Sexual sin is by nature secretive; if not brought to the light of Christ it is hidden in the dark, where healing and redemption cannot take place. Even after repentance and restoration, both members of the marriage must stand guard against sexual compromise.
For the “virgin” in this situation, it is imperative that a repented past stay in the past. Your spouse’s past is not a bargaining chip or a trump card; it is part of God’s redemptive work in their life! Your job is to stand beside your spouse, support their new life in Christ, and stand guard against temptation. NEVER hold their past against them. If God has forgiven their sin, you have no right to withhold forgiveness.
For the redeemed virgin, you must live out your new identity in Christ daily. You must stand guard against temptation with absolute vigilance, being ruthless any opportunity to compromise. Your greatest responsibility is first, to the God who redeemed you, and second, to the spouse who loves you. You must make a point of affirming your spouse of their desirability, giving them reason to trust your love.
How Do I Forgive and Forget?
For the virginal spouse, forgiveness may be easier said than done. This isn’t personal to the spouse who was not a virgin on their wedding day, but it’s still based on the fear of “not enough”. While this fear might seem justified, fear cannot coexist with the power of God’s Spirit.
Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God’s will for your marriage is a bold, fearless love for one another unhindered by insecurity. You cannot enjoy this kind of marriage apart from the Spirit of God. Only Christ Himself can empower you to forgive your spouse as completely as God has forgiven you.
It is important to note that while virginal spouses might feel betrayed by their partner’s sexual past, their partner is often just as broken over that same sin. They wish they could do it over again. They wish it wasn’t part of their story, but it is. There must be continual communication and consistent grace in a marriage like this. The foundation of trust will always be under construction.
I detail how to overcome and forgive your partner’s sexual past in this post. The gist is this: both husband and wife must give one another the benefit of the doubt – every single day.
A Note to Virgin Spouses
While I firmly believe in secondary virginity and hate to use the term “virgin” as a descriptor here, I want to briefly address spouses whose first sexual experience is on the wedding night. Church culture has made sex a taboo topic prior to marriage, rather than discussing it in the biblical context for which it was designed. Therefore, it is imperative that you enter marriage with positive, biblical perspective on sex. If you allow fear and insecurity to dictate your view of sex prior to marriage, it will dictate your entire sexual experience within marriage. This will monumentally hinder your relationship with your spouse, particularly if they come to marriage with a sexual history.
I recommend the following posts for further reading on this topic:
To hear how my husband and I continue to walk out these truths in our own marriage, watch the video below: