Remember the “True Love Waits” movement of the early 2000s? The signing of the pledges and the wearing of the purity rings and the songs about waiting for your future husband? I was all in for that movement and was a little over-zealous in my “pursuit of purity.”
And while I still fully believe that one should wait until marriage to have sex, I think we have to be careful about the other implications that come along with “waiting.” And because I bought into some lies about waiting when I was younger, I think it’s important for our young people to know about some other things that true love should not wait for.
True love does not wait to pursue a deeper, more intimate relationship with one’s Savior.
True love does not wait to discover and use giftings and abilities for God’s Kingdom.
True love does not wait to become the full and complete person God meant him or her to be apart from a spouse.
True love does not wait to take on responsibility and serve others.
True love does not wait to “start life” until marriage.
True love does not wait to mentor and invest in the next generation.
True love does not wait to be mentored and learn from the previous generation.
True love does not wait to work on its own flaws and sins, but rather takes personal sanctification seriously.
True love does not wait for a “perfect person,” because such a one doesn’t exist. Rather true love is ready to accept and love a sinful person the way Christ does.
True love does not wait to pursue the passion Christ has created within himself or herself but plunges in with dedication.
True love doesn’t wait for these things because it knows that if you are called to love another person in marriage, that love will already have been cultivated over many years. True love knows it is a character trait built up over years of practice – begun with a foundation of loving the Lord most deeply.
It knows that the best kind of love is not the kind that expects rewards for being “good,” but it is the kind that expects to lay its life down for the good of the one who is loved.
True love does wait to express itself in complete intimacy within the confines of marriage because it knows that this design by God is beautiful as it is a picture of his love for and union with us.
But it also doesn’t wait to love whoever is in its sphere in ways that still show Christ’s sacrificial love.
True love doesn’t wait for ultimate joy and satisfaction in marriage because it knows that marriage is not the believer’s final destination. Heaven is the final destination of perfect joy, and marriage is but one signpost along the way.
True love to Christ knows He is our ultimate source of satisfaction, and that He sometimes gives us the gift of marriage and sometimes the gift of singleness, but both can point us to Him.
Teaching our young people these fuller meanings of true love can seem complex and time-consuming, but wouldn’t it be better for them to have a complete picture and not some glib little saying that can disappoint them later?
May we have the patience to wrestle through these things, both on our own and with those in our spheres of influence, so that Christ can be put more fully on display. May we not look for “quick fixes” or to simply discard all that we’ve been taught before. But rather may we refine our views about love and marriage based on what God’s Word says and not on what people say.
May we not wait to stand up for what is most valuable and what our hearts need the most—which is the redemptive love of Christ. And in this pursuit of his love, may it result in greater love for those around us.