Why Wait Until Marriage
The following was written many years ago by Elisabeth Elliot Gren. It has been out of print for many years but, because of their love for our Savior and their love for people of all ages, Elisabeth and her husband Lars Gren have agreed to make it available on the internet without cost, provided no changes are made and there is no charge made to anyone receiving a copy. This booklet was written for children ages 12-15, and when distributed by adults, should be directed to children of that age.
Sex Is A Lot More Than Fun1
By: Elisabeth Elliot
“Everybody’s like ‘Did you lose your virginity yet?’” That’s what a girl in Chicago said. She was fourteen. I guess nobody had ever explained to her that you don’t really “lose it”. You give it away. Virginity is a gift you can give only once. Once in your whole life, and to only one person in the whole world. You can’t give it away again. You can’t ever replace it. Nobody can give it back to you. Shouldn’t you think twice before you let go of it? Shouldn’t you ask yourself who you really want to give it to and why? Maybe I can help you think about some angles you never heard from your friends, never learned in sex education classes at school, and no rock star ever sang about it. Maybe I can help you avoid some bad mistakes.
FOUR THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Only One Body. You’ve only got one body to live your life in. It’s nobody else’s. You’ve got to take care of it. You know—eat right, sleep and exercise and brush your teeth and all that stuff. Nobody can do your eating and sleeping and tooth-brushing for you. It’s your job. And it’s your job to guard that body even more carefully than you’d guard your bike or your stereo or whatever. You can get another bike or stereo. You can’t get another body.
The Standard Equipment. Some parts of your body are absolutely private. You don’t want the whole world looking you over—all over, I mean. That “standard equipment” that you were born with, that makes you either a boy or a girl (you don’t need me to draw any pictures), that equipment is private. It was never meant to be gawked at or handled or “invaded” by just anybody who happened along.
There’s a great secret connected with it that you might have overlooked. The Secret. The special apparatus that makes girls different from boys was designed for a special purpose. A lot of kids think that the main reason they’ve got this is so they can have fun. “Hey sex is fun” people say, “get all you can.” But a lot of kids who have swallowed that line and decided to try it have ended up like “Hey, is this all it is? I don’t
Copyright © Elisabeth Elliot (www.elisabethelliot.org) -- This material was originally printed in booklet form and was last copyrighted in 1986 by Lars Gren and Elisabeth Elliot Gren. Many thanks to Jerry B Grantham Sr for helping make it available on the internet, with permission freely given to reprint and distribute it, provided no changes are made and no charge is made to any one. know, I mean, like—did you think it was all that great?”
Sex wasn’t supposed to be some kind of extra-curricular athletics. It belongs to marriage. Somebody must have thought up sex (would you have thought of it?) I believe God did. I think he had two things in mind when He thought of it. One was marriage. The idea was to bring two people together—a man and a woman—and give them a marvelous way to become one body. Sex was meant to be an expression of their unselfish love for each other, and when it’s used that way, it means real happiness. The other thing God had in mind when He made sex is babies. Those two ideas were never meant to be separated. Something Worth Waiting For. Marriage and babies are worth waiting for. Becoming a husband and father, or a wife and mother, are things worth waiting for. There’s a right time for everything. That gift we mentioned, virginity, is much too good to waste. When we get married, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a person who had saved that gift just for you?
WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN
If you use sex just for fun, with anybody, anywhere, any old time, you’re going to miss out on the really fulfilling part of it. You might be pretty disgusted with yourself for not saving your virginity for the one you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with. How would that person feel if you didn’t save it for him or her? If you try to find happiness in a whole lot of people’s beds, you probably won’t find it in anybody’s. Then you’ll really feel cheated. You might have a little fun for awhile and then be abandoned by somebody you thought loved you. You might not have fun at all. The way it looked in the movies might not be the way it is for you. A lot of people are terribly hurt and terribly angry because they’ve been “used.” They feel as if in those few minutes of “fun” somebody stole something from them. They can’t get it back. You might get an incurable disease.
WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU
You’ve given away something priceless. Nobody mentions that anymore. They make you think virginity is some kind of disease you want to cure or something. Get rid of it the first chance you get. Know what? They lied to you! The truth is it’s something to guard and cherish and protect and save.
You might have a baby you didn’t mean to have. Would you know what to do with him? If you can’t take care of him yourself, can you imagine what it’s like to give him up? There’s only one way to be absolutely sure you won’t get a baby. Abstinence. That means you don’t have intercourse. They told you that you could have all the fun you want and not get a baby if you don’t want one. Isn’t that what they said? Well, what they didn’t tell you is that it doesn’t always work that way. Things you buy in the drugstore aren’t foolproof. People get pregnant all the time who didn’t mean to. You don’t really want a baby now do you? That’s not what you really want. A baby is the beginning of a family. A family is supposed to have a father and a mother. A father and mother should have a home to live in. Those are things worth waiting for.
You have a home to live in now, but it’s probably somebody else’s, somebody who takes care of you, gives you breakfast and a place to sleep and buys your shoes. Maybe they give you money for records and milkshakes and whatever. You’re really not ready to give
that up just yet.
Do you want to bring a baby into that scene? I doubt it. You want wait until you’ve finished school and found out what you’re supposed to do with your life, and where you’re supposed to do it, and who will share it with you. That takes awhile. Those decisions are important. They take time and a lot of thinking and, if you’re a smart kid, a lot of asking advice from people who’ve been around, people who know you and love you and understand a whole lot of things you don’t understand yet. What you need to develop is something called responsibility. All that is worth waiting for.
Think about these things before you go jumping into bed with somebody, or even just messing around. Think about this too: when a store has a bargain table, the stuff is cheap because it’s been pawed over. You don’t want your body to be a bargain. It’s worth everything to you. Don’t let it be “up for grabs.”
I said that some kids think their “equipment” is meant for nothing but fun. I think you understand that I’m not sex isn’t ever supposed to be fun. It is. But it’s not meant only for fun. It’s meant for something much better. It’s meant for love—the real kind, which is unselfish. Most guys and girls fall into the trap of thinking that if they say no to somebody who want to “love” them in physical ways, they aren’t being very kind. That’s a big mistake. If you’re strong enough and unselfish enough to say NO, you’ll be doing them a huge favor, even if they don’t think right that minute. Love is saying no. You’ll be helping them to save their body for the right time and the right person. Both of you will be glad you waited for the best thing anybody can have in this world—a family. That’s serious business.
Did you know that serious business can be fun too if it’s done right? What do I mean, right? Well for a start, think about football. You can sit read a rule book and it sounds pretty boring. If you’re like me, you can even watch a game and be bored. You can fool around on the lawn with a football, and I guess it can be fun for awhile. But if you want to know about real football, ask the guys who do it right—the real football players, They’ve learned the rules, they obey the coach, they do it the way the book and the coach tell them, and it’s great. It’s more fun than anybody who isn’t a football player can imagine.
WHAT TO DO
We were talking about sex. Sex is a lot more than a game, but it’s like football in some ways. Somebody thought up sex to begin with. It wasn’t you or me. I believe it was God. Football has rules. Sex has principles. Your body was made for God, to begin with. It wasn’t meant to be used for selfishness. Sex was made for marriage. Sensible, serious kids don’t even think of trying it before they get married. You want to be sensible, I know. You want to be serious about really are serious—like sex. Controlling your sex drive is like controlling a race horse. It certainly doesn’t ruin the horse! Far from it. It increases his strength.
Make up your mind ahead of time to be different. It will take courage to swim against the stream. The current is strong, and it’s much easier to go with the flow. But YOU CAN SAY NO! God will help you if you ask him to. Stay away from temptation. If you’re on drugs or alcohol, the lines get blurry. If you don’t want to get hooked on those things, don’t try them at all. A teensy bit might not make you a junkie or a drunk, but how much is too much? It’s not hard to get hooked on sex. How far can you go with somebody alone in the dark? How far is too far? I made a rule for myself when I was your age which seemed crazy to all my friends, but it worked. I decided I wouldn’t even hold with a boy, let alone kiss one. I wanted to save up for that.
Nobody was going to put me on any “bargain table.” You don’t get pregnant by holding hands and kissing, but those are little tastes. What’s the next thing after those? You have to draw a line. You have to decide. So what if people think you’re out of your tree? Anybody who does anything worthwhile gets laughed at. What else is new? Remember you don’t have to keep your virginity for ten years at a time. You only have to keep it for one day. Don’t worry about holding out forever. You have today and tonight. And God will certainly help you right now if you really want Him to. He has helped me for many long years, in many ways. The Bible has this promise: For the Lord God will help me. Therefore have I set my face like a flint and I know that I shall not be ashamed (Isaiah 50:7). People who know and love God will agree with me that the reason He’s said “Do this” and “Don’t do this” is because He wants to protect us. He isn’t trying
to spoil our fun—he loves us. Here’s an illustration: you’ve had a shot for something, haven’t you—an inoculation? The needle prick isn’t fun, but it’s nothing compared to the misery you’d have had if you got a disease. What I’m trying to tell you in this little book may not be what you wanted to hear, but you may avoid some awful miseries and suffering if you’ll really listen.
BUT WHAT IF YOU’VE ALREADY GIVEN AWAY YOUR VIRGINITY?
Some kids who read this have already given away their virginity. So what do you do now? It’s easy to feel discouraged and think, “Oh heck, I’ve blown it now, so I might as well go ahead and do what’s easy. Who cares?” You do. You really want what’s good and right. Other people care, too. And God cares. It’s not too late to start over. God won’t give you back your virginity, but He will forgive you for throwing it away. He will help you to begin all over again and lead a new kind of life if you ask Him to.