Worth the Wait
We all desire to love someone deeply and to be loved in return. Pope John Paul II states, “Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.” What does this mean? To love someone well, you must want what is best for that person, and the goal of loving someone is to help them one day enter into Heaven, but how do we love someone well in the world we live in today?
Our world is surrounded by conversations, TV shows, movies, etc., that diminish the beauty of living out the virtue of chastity. These things not only say sex is okay outside of marriage, but they also encourage and expect it. This could not be further from the truth. I am here to tell you what is actually encouraged and incredibly beautiful is creating a relationship centered around Jesus and living out the virtue of chastity together. Is it difficult? Yes. Will people make fun of you? Maybe. Will it make your relationship stronger and lead you down the path of sainthood? Absolutely. Loving someone in this way allows you to partake in the way God loves you.
Pope John Paul II said each time a married couple has sex, they are renewing their marriage vows. When a couple who is not married has sex, they are lying with their bodies because their bodies are making a promise they never made. If you are currently in a sexual relationship, ask yourself, “If I were to remove all sexual contact, would I still love/be attracted to this person or would they still love/be attracted to me?” If your answer to that question is no, remove yourself from the relationship immediately. Do not make excuses as to why you should stay in it. This will be a difficult decision to make, but it is a decision you will be grateful for in the future.
You may be asking yourself how you even begin living this virtue out in a world that tells us to do otherwise. The first step is to respect yourself and to never lower your standards. When starting a new relationship, be open and honest about where your values stand. If the other person does not agree with them, kindly say goodbye. Do not compromise your values for selfish, emotional desires. It is also just as important to find someone who not only accepts your values but encourages them. Living out physical chastity is difficult; therefore, it is necessary for the person you are in a relationship with to encourage you and call you higher. Girls, you set the standards here. If you allow only a kiss, only a kiss will happen. If you allow more, the boy will likely follow. Be uncompromising. Men, be respectful and reassuring that being chaste is a common goal and an attainable goal. To be clear, just because the girl sets the tone does not mean the responsibility should be placed all on her. Because chastity in a relationship is a shared goal, men, you should call your girlfriend higher in those tempting moments as well.
Accountability is vital when living out the virtue of chastity. Have a friend who checks up on you and asks you how you are doing. Be honest and vulnerable with them. Go to confession. You will struggle in this journey. Use the sacrament of Reconciliation to allow God to give you the graces you need in order to continue on. Remind yourself this is a beautiful journey. Try not to get frustrated with yourself and keep in mind the purpose of chastity. In times of weakness, try to meditate on the fact that there is always a Resurrection. Just because there has been a fall does not mean you go back to square one. Don’t let it destroy your motivation.
Reality of Lust
Lust is a sin the devil loves to use against us. Be aware of the difference between love and lust and the difference between affection and arousal. The devil tries to make those lines merge into one. When you are confused about where the line stands when you are caught up in the moment, ask yourself, “Is this about a feeling or about how much I love this person? Am I leading them on a path to Heaven or a path of worldly desires?” Lust can be easy to fall into. It is important to speak to your significant other about setting boundaries in the beginning of your relationship. If it leads to arousal, it is too far. If you allow one thing to be okay, the devil will trick you into thinking it is okay to go a little farther. Keep in mind when you do cross a certain line, it is difficult to go back to the other side.
Allowing yourselves to lust after each other while dating will lead into lust finding its way into your marriage. Making your wedding vows does not allow you to lust after each other, and if you’ve already made a habit of doing so, it won’t automatically go away just because you entered into the sacrament of marriage.
Whether you have a crush on someone, are dating or are engaged, you are not married. There are no vows made. This person could leave your life at any moment, and you are giving yourself completely to a person that God could have other plans for. Ask yourself “How can I guard and protect this person’s heart and soul?” Show this person affection instead of arousal. This is the difference between loving someone and lusting after them. Hold their hand, pray with them, spend time with their family, learn the little things about them that make them who they are. Imagine how comforting it is to rest in the truth that your significant other truly loves you and your heart instead of just your body. Let the Lord strengthen your relationship by asking Him specifically to help you and your significant other with this virtue. Ask and you will receive.
Tips for staying chaste by avoiding the near occasion of sin:
- Stay out of the bedroom. No good that will come from hanging out in your bedroom; save the bedroom for marriage. Stay in a well-lit living room.
- Do not hangout by yourselves past 11pm. The devil loves to tempt you during the late hours of the night.
- Be honest with each other when you are struggling or being tempted. It is normal to struggle with sexual desires; tell your significant other when you are so they can help you.
Chastity is possible. Chastity is beautiful. You are capable. You are worth the wait.