One woman’s candid perspective on a sensitive issue.
In the past I understood purity as the physical act of sex, something you should save for marriage. So when my marriage was destroyed by pornography and betrayal it was like an awakening to me. I had never understood the deep-rooted asphyxiation that takes place emotionally when purity is robbed and/ or never valued as something important to your mental or emotional health.
Purity is foundational to stability and mental health. When purity is taken from you at any age, or in any way, it changes your emotional and mental foundation. It changes how you view your body, your worth, and the way you will forever see your environment. This is what escaped me before when trying to understand purity. I thought of it as being a strictly physical thing. I did not understand the emotional ramifications until it played out in my own life.
We hear in the Christian realm that it is biblical to save yourself sexually for only your spouse. Even though I was raised a believer, I failed miserably in this area. There were some reasons that were not my choice, and some reasons that were my choice. As a result, I was not pure the first time I entered marriage. Naturally, I was not the second time either. What the Church failed to teach me was that purity is not just physical. Now that I am a grown adult, it is unfair to say it is anyone’s fault but my own to understand purity or to choose to live an impure lifestyle.
I did not understand until my late 30’s, in the middle of a failing marriage due to infidelity and sexual impurity, that there must be more to all of this than I realized. I mean we understand the concept of affairs and porn. and the effects you can see physically. You can witness a divorce. You can witness all that happens on both sides. What you can’t witness is the internal destruction.
How would I define purity now? Purity is about a thought. It is about the thought of whether you are used or useful, whether you are clean or unclean, whether you have value or no value, whether you have something to offer or are empty, whether you are cherished or tarnished. It is about a thought.
It’s easy to think, “I am just thinking about it. I am just looking. I am not hurting anyone.” It started as just a thought, but inevitably the thought turns to an action. “I will do as I wish. I will live in the moment and do what feels good. I will disregard the consequences for the pleasure.” The action destroys a future thought.
“I wanted him/her to like me, so I gave them what I thought they wanted. I thought I would be accepted. I thought this would change me for the better. I thought I was ready. I thought I would enjoy it. I am empty. I am void. I am tarnished.” Purity is about a thought that turns to an action that returns to a thought.
What did I do about it? I studied purity. I opened my Bible to see how God defined purity. I read every book I could about purity and sexual dysfunction. I could write for hours about what I learned. The most important thing I think I learned is that it looks different for everybody. I learned that there is no good solution to fix the over-sexualized world we live in today. I learned I am damaged. I learned I am normal. I learned I am not alone. I learned I am forgiven and I can forgive.
I learned I can reclaim my purity. Yes, in the middle of a separation and my marriage falling apart I reclaimed my purity. I am not defined by my poor choices that are in the past. I am not defined by the poor choices of others. I get to choose.
While we live in a world where others impact our purity in small ways, very destructive ways, we can choose to invest in our own emotional and mental well-being by actively seeking purity. Being married does not stop you from being pure. I encourage you to study what purity means to you. If you, like me, have struggled with the idea of purity, then I especially implore you to reclaim your purity. It was by far one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
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