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Why Staying Pure for Marriage Shouldn’t Be the Goal

By: Kristen Clark

Saving my first kiss for my wedding day was a dream I had since I was young. As a 13 year old girl I remember hearing an older girl (she seemed ancient to me at the time, but was probably only 21) share how she was saving her first kiss for marriage.

I remember being so inspired by her ambitious goal that I decided, on the spot, to save my first kiss too. I loved the idea!

As the years went on and my “cute boy radar” grew stronger, I constantly remembered my commitment. No kissing boys.

As I learned more about purity and God’s calling for me to be pure, my commitment was further grounded in my heart.

However, as I time went, I made a subtle shift in my thinking without even realizing it. My motivation for “saving my first kiss” became less and less about honoring God, and more and more about just staying pure.

In my heart I knew that purity should come from a desire to honor God, but my motivations were shifting.

At first glance this may not seem like much of a problem. I mean, ultimately I did stick to my commitment and saved my first kiss for my wedding day…so what was the problem?

Shouldn’t we be motivated to stay pure for marriage? Isn’t that enough??

In short – no. It’s not enough.

If staying pure for marriage is our end goal, we’re completely missing the point. In fact, looking back on my single years and engagement, I can see now that my heart motivation was often missing the mark.

Purity is an awesome thing, but if we’re pursuing it primarily for the sake of being “pure” we’re missing it.

Staying pure for marriage shouldn’t be our primary goal as Christian girls.

Instead, staying pure out of a desire to honor God and bring Him glory should be.

There’s a HUGE difference between those two.

When our primary motivation is to stay pure for marriage, here’s often what ends up happening (I know, because it happened to me). We become consumed with thoughts like: “No touching here until marriage, no kissing there until marriage, no thinking about this until marriage, no talking about that until marriage…” And on and on the list goes.

All of these things are good, don’t get me wrong! But when those goals become the primary focus and motivation for our purity, we end up shifting our hearts away from honoring God, and instead to just obeying rules.  

And when that happens, we no longer pursue purity for God’s glory, but as a means to our own self-righteousness.

Purity is nothing more than another abstinence rule.  

When we stop seeking to honor God FIRST, we will find it hard to stay motivated long-term. Purity will become just “another thing” on the Christian to-do list. And when this happens, compromise is sure to follow.

During my engagement to Zack, we had established a list “purity rules” early on in our relationship. It was a pretty strict list. However, during moments of temptation while I was hanging out with Zack, I remember thinking things like, “Well…technically we’re not breaking any of our rules…so…this little compromise should be fine.”

Do you see what happened? Instead of asking, “Is this honoring to God? Will this bring God glory?” I was simply trying to be good enough. It was easy for me to bend the rules a little because my heart motivation wasn’t focused on God.

My goal had become to “stay pure!” instead of to “honor God.

And this is exactly why staying pure for marriage should never be the primary goal for our purity. Instead, we need to work on developing hearts that love God and want to honor Him with our thoughts and actions. Hearts that are rooted in God’s truth and desire to glorify Him with our lives (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Having the right heart motivation for purity makes all of the difference.

When we are truly living for God’s glory, it will be much easier to resist temptation. When we are tuned into loving God more than loving ourselves, we will be driven away from compromise instead of to compromise.

Purity is a beautiful and essential part of the Christian life, but it needs to be a result of our love and worship for God, not simply a rule to abide by.

Do I recommend saving your first kiss (or future kisses) for your future husband alone? Absolutely! I just encourage you do it with a heart that desires to please and honor God first.

In closing, my prayer is that our hearts would echo the prayer of Paul in Philippians 1:9-11:

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

I pray you will be a girl who embraces purity in your life for God’s glory. I pray you will be a girl who loves God so much, that you are unwilling to compromise. I pray you will be a girl whose life is a testimony of the beauty and purity of Christ.

For more on this topic, I recommend checking out these other posts:

8 Strategies to Help You Fight for Purity

Should Christian Girls Kiss Before Marriage?

I’d love to hear from you below!

  • If you were honest, do you view purity as an opportunity to glorify God, or simply another Christian rule to follow?
  • In what ways do you struggle like I did (to follow rules without doing it out of a heart for God)?

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  • Anna Duncan

    This concept is really good and is relevant to other issues besides purity. Honoring my parents for instance. If my primary goal is just to obey my parents, then I’m constantly evaluating what exactly I can do that wouldn’t be breaking the rules. But if my focus is on honoring God then honoring my parents will flow out of that. And things will go a whole lot better. Thank you for this inspiring article!!!!

  • Very good post. A great reminder for me.

  • Morgan P

    Thanks! This is so true! It’s easy to get caught up in all the good things we’re doing, instead of our motives for doing them, which is the most important thing when it comes to our actions.

    -Morgan

  • Kaela Schutz

    Love this post!!! Great job Kristen!

  • Brianna

    I honestly didn’t think that waiting until marraige was something that I would do growing up. It wasn’t until a lot later that I decided that I would honour God in that way. It’s interesting to hear from the point of view of someone who did this since they were young. Great article.

  • Kayla

    This post is a breath of fresh air. Purity is important, but there is so much pressure placed on Christians (especially girls) to follow it. I’m not going to save my body for my future husband. That’s the wrong objective. I value purity because God values it.

  • Daughter of the one True King

    Thank you so much for the above blog. It was an eye opener. Like you I was a young girl when I heard about the idea of saving my first kiss for marriage, and I was absolutely enthralled with the idea. I made that my goal from then on. And your right it has become more about living up to my commitment than honoring God. And honoring God should be our primary goal in all of life not just purity. Let us all remember to honor God with our whole lives. Praise be to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!!!

  • Doing the right thing for the right reason also matters in case God doesn’t intend for a particular young woman to marry at all. “Stay pure *for marriage*” is sticking a carrot before her that God may never intend to be there.


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