(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONTENT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
Holding Integrity in a World of Sexuality
Thoughts for the Married Girl
By Michelle Ochen
Somehow I imagined that if I had kept sexual integrity as a single woman that all of God’s richest blessings would rain down on my wedding night and every moment onward that my husband and I entered the bedroom of intimacy—I mean we were both virgins so we deserve a perfect sexual life, right? I was naive in thinking that one’s sexual integrity was only a challenge before marriage and that those challenges suddenly go away with a wedding band. Perhaps I am not the only naive one.
How wrong I was in my imaginations! Quickly after the wedding vows I woke up to realize that maintaining sexual integrity in marriage can be as hard as outside of marriage. Suddenly the world’s lack of sexual integrity knocked on our bedroom door, the graphic description of what intimacy is, the standards of a perfect body in a silk outfit, sexy dance moves, and knowledge that no virgin has but the world is ready to teach; all these things came together to bring great insecurity, hurt, and pressure to a young woman pursuing God’s design in sex. After less than a year of marriage, I had no idea what intimacy was even supposed to mean. The lies of the enemy had snuck into our bedroom, and I was destroyed by the ungodly pressures of this world. I felt that there was an expectation the world was requiring of me, an image to mimic that my spirit was unwilling to compromise to. We are not called to compare ourselves to ungodliness, and that is the picture the world gives. The ladies on the covers of magazines, the sex advice columns, the internet sites, none of these things give godly guidance. Shaken by the damage the world had compared me to, I desperately sought God’s standards for a women’s sexuality within marriage.
“Conduct” is the word the Lord gave me. His word says that our conduct should be worthy of the gospel, not worthy of the world’s acceptance, not even worthy of our husband’s fleshly desires, but worthy of the gospel. This word “conduct” pertains to all aspects of a person’s life, the way they speak, the way they dress, the way they display emotion. It is more than an appearance, it is the way one walks day to day. The integrity they choose in modesty, in word choice, in decisions. 1 Peter 3 says that a woman’s conduct has power and that her focus should not only be on the outward appearance, but that a deeper attention ought to be given to the inner woman, the person of the heart. Certainly we should embrace our womanhood, but with an integrity that the world simply lacks. I had once heard that the outward goes away when the lights turn off, and the person on the inside is what enables true intimacy. Sex is sex, but intimacy comes from a heart of acceptance and connection to your spouse. God instructs women to pay more attention to the lady of the heart than the lady of the body. To pursue a gentle heart, not a perfect body. For if the inside is beautiful, wrinkles, weight, and gray hair cannot change her. Inner beauty cannot age, inner beauty can only mature into deeper beauty.
My challenge to the reader is this: try to live up to the world’s standards and your heart will ache, but make your heart beautiful and even the world will wonder how. There is a beauty from within that comes when a woman chooses God’s standards over the world’s, when she chooses sexual integrity, taking the path of God’s design and shuns the pressures of this world’s sexuality. Ask the Lord for direction in your sexuality; He knows how He designed it to be, and He has a way for true intimacy to take place without compromising your standards to the world’s cheapened image of sexuality.