Love One Another! 7/2006 → Christian family
My wife and I have been married for 25 years. We have three children. I want to relate a fairly recent experience that brought home to us the great value of remaining chaste for marriage. It may help you in your struggle.
My wife and I were very young when we met. She was sixteen years old; I was seventeen. At that time I was far from living the Gospel values; in fact, I hardly knew the faith at all. I had not been practising it for years. I never attended religion classes and was not confirmed like most Catholics of my age. At first our relationship had little effect on my religious belief and practice; eventually, however, my future wife talked me into attending Sunday Mass with her. I did not feel the need to go. Certainly I did not go out of a sense of conviction. I just wanted to be with her. It would take many years before my attitude to God changed.
Meanwhile, our feelings for each other grew deeper – slowly, naturally, without coercion. We spent a great deal of time together, rejoicing in each other’s presence. Despite a growing need to show affection for each other, we were always aware of the need to remain pure. We placed great value on the virtue of chastity. We saw it as a gift to be bestowed on each another. The fact that neither of us had had earlier “relationships” no doubt strengthened our appreciation of this gift. Of course it was not easy, but by God’s grace we did not give in to our sensuality. So, after five years of being together, we made it to our wedding day. Going to Confession, in preparation for the event, we were spared the embarrassment of confessing the sin of impurity.
After completing theological studies, I went on to work as a catechist in a high school. I spent a great deal of time discussing chaste living with the senior students. During one of these marriage and family life classes, a student raised her hand and asked, “Did you manage to stay pure until your wedding day?” I had been asked this question many times before and I was glad of the opportunity to give my witness. Unruffled, I answered: “Look at my face. If I had a guilty conscience, I would be blushing right now. But you don’t see me blushing. Yes, my wife-to-be and I kept faith with the sixth commandment.” I said this with great pride and joy. It was only then that I realized that my eighteen-year-old daughter was sitting at the back of the class. She had been taking the course with me. I had never before had the chance of mentioning this fact to her. Now, thanks to her fellow-student’s question, I was able to bear witness to our chastity in public. Indescribable joy swept over me in an instant as I understood that chaste living had been worth the effort. At home I told my wife about the incident. That day, almost twenty years after our wedding day, we realized the full value of saving our virginity for marriage.
Friends! Stay pure! Entrust this area of your life to Jesus so that one day you too may be able to give your children the most powerful motivation to practise purity in their lives.