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The Virginity Syndrome

By eveningmeadows ~ 

Recently I heard a couple from my former church were getting divorced. I was quite surprised, since they were considered very spiritual. The wife was in charge of Women’s Ministries when I was at the church. I heard they had left that church and joined another one. I certainly don’t know the reasons that might have led to their separation. But the wife made a comment a while back that might be a clue.

Virginity RocksImage by ctbarna via Flickr
We all know that “keeping oneself pure until marriage” is the mantra of the xtian church. It’s supposed to prevent all those problems that those in “secular” marriages have that lead to divorce. The wife told us at one time that she and her then boyfriend had had sex before marriage. She was very bitter and angry, still, after 15 or more years of marriage. They hadn’t waited until their wedding night. She then made the comment that no one seems to understand how upsetting this is for her, and how it still affects her. I remember looking at the other women present, and was wondering if anyone was going to say, “So what?” Really, is it worth all the pain and agony she lived with her entire married life? I certainly wasn’t going to say anything because I didn’t think it was such a big deal. Perhaps the other women present felt the same way, because no one said anything.

Like I said, I don’t know what problems they had that brought them to a separation. But it got me thinking about the “True Love Waits” campaign that is always going on in the church. Virginity, especially for women, is held up as some kind of holy, lofty condition.

Let’s say a couple are both virgins, involved in religion, and decide to have sex before marriage, then when one of them feels dirty and contaminated, they decide the only thing to do that will purify themselves, is marriage. Well, maybe they were too young, maybe they weren’t good for each other and would have broken it off. But now they feel this pressure by god, religion, pastors to fix this. So they get married, and it’s a bad mix. Of course, they stay together for the next 20 years because it’s the best thing to do, and god will help them with their problems. That just doesn’t work. The problems were there from the start.

It seems that again, virginity is something that is expected from young women. Historically it seems that men could do whatever they wanted with whomever, but their future wives had to be virgins. Clean, pure, just like Jesus. It’s another burden that has to be born by women.

I was just wondering how much this true love waits thing has contributed to the divorce rate in the church. It came to mind as I was told about this couple’s divorce and the comment she had made years before. Just reminds me of the impossible standards the church has for everyone.


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