Instead of I love you, many young couples are after one thing, to get the other to give it up. You know what “it” is. It’s that three letter word everyone seems to participate in, but you if you are single and not dating.

I know several wonderful young adults who don’t buy into this way of looking at dating and it thrills me to see their dedication. But also pains me that they have not found that one special person to spend the rest of their lives with.

roy teresa 1973

Roy Parker and Teresa Shields 1973 at Pinnacles State Park.

If you are over 30 and single, never married and committed to being sexually abstinent until married, you are probably in the minority. However, it’s the best place to be. I say that because the alternative route is one I’ve heard many say was the worst choice they ever made.

I was a teen in the late 60s and early 70s. It was the era of free love, Woodstock, Rod Stewart and “Question Authority” bumper stickers. Several girls in my high school class ended up pregnant and mortified. It was less acceptable then.

It was also the era of the Jesus Movement, Jesus People, Jesus Freaks, Barry McGuire, Second Chapter of Acts, Love Song,  and Larry Norman.

On the flip side of the Free Sex counter culture movement was Free Love Jesus Movement. It meant the real lasting agape love of Jesus was free to all who would accept Him.

It was under these conditions I met my future husband. It was 1973. I was home for the summer from my Christian college and missing my friends back at school. I was told about a Christian Coffeehouse where a high school acquaintance was playing.

I went and the first person I met was this tall, blonde guy with a big smile, huge hands. muscular forearms and a wooden cross around his neck. He actually introduced himself to me.

He tells me now that he was the greeter on duty that night. And here all this time I thought he was coming on to me! We dated all summer mainly going to the coffeehouse. There we talked about Jesus to those who happened in off 9th Street in our downtown area.

I was beginning to fall in love and it scared me to death, especially when he asked me to marry him at the end of the summer. I had two more years of college and I was determined to get my degree.

I didn’t say no, exactly. It was more like, “Not now.” Our relationship was on again, off again for the next three years until Christmas of 1976 when he asked me to marry him.

I was living in Virginia, but was home for a week. It was an amazing week. I knew he was the man God had for me to marry, but my fear almost ruined the possibility.

He was the first man I ever wanted to be with sexually and even though we waited for marriage, it was difficult. Every other man I had ever dated repulsed me, well except for the one when I was 12. He broke my heart. You can read about that in the post, Lie #3 Food Soothes My Pain.

I had been taught all my life that sexual purity until marriage was paramount. However, to tell you the truth, it was the influence of those from my generation who were very “groovy,” committed Jesus People, who cemented my commitment to purity.

I know how it feels when it seems everyone around you is either getting married, getting pregnant before marriage or having a wild night with their newest date, to smile and be happy for them.

Sex is a major pull, but that’s what makes purity such an awesome gift to give your husband on your wedding night. It takes commitment to stand your ground in today’s society where living together before being married is an accepted way of life.

And yet most who have chosen that route have found it to be a treacherous way to go. Your heart can not only get broken, but smashed into a million pieces, stomped on and thrown in the trash.

Is marriage a thing of the past? No, it’s still God’s perfect plan. And there are still crazy people like my husband and I who have been married for nearly 38 years. If we hadn’t gotten married and decided to just live together I can guarantee you, we would not have made it this long.

It’s easier to pack your suitcase and leave than it is to break a legally binding contract. That’s why many choose the living together route and that’s why many get their hearts broken.

Love is not just a feeling, although it definitely starts there. Love is a decision, a commitment for life, a joining together through the good times and bad. It’s a commitment to encourage and lift your spouse up in every circumstance.

If a marriage doesn’t work out there is the alternative. However, I, for one, am grateful the alternative takes some effort to make happen. Marriage is a union of two bodies, souls and spirits. It’s so much more than just physical. It’s so much more that just “giving it up.”

Bottom line: Marriage is worth it. Love is worth it. Thank you Roy Parker for choosing me and I’m so glad I chose you. So very glad.


tp tree good copyTeresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and transformation coach. Now through Feb. 20, get the FREE video short course Love Yourself when you join Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching Group. Teresa’s books include  Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds, Sweet Grace Study Guide and Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation. Click on any title for more information.

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.