Purity Does not End with a Wedding 

(Photo by Natalie Reed)

Purity Does not End with a Wedding 

By Cherise Stewart  

So much of purity culture focuses on the outside—what we wear, how we are seen by others, and whether or not we are having sex.  

For most of this year, we at Marked Ministry have been trying to combat those assumptions and many of us have written about what is happening in our hearts.  

Purity needs to be flipped inside out. Instead of looking from the outside in, we need to be looking from the inside out.  

Most of us think that purity culture ends once we are married. We think “whew! We made it!” With sex off the table, we feel that we are now free to excuse ourselves from purity.  

The problem is that purity does not end with marriage.  I would venture to say that purity of our minds and hearts becomes a bigger issue in marriage than it was outside of it.  

Our flesh is easily distracted and it is a challenge to keep our thoughts captive. We often forget that purity is not just a physical action, it is a mental activity as well. In Psalms 119:9-12, the Psalmist asks “How can a young man keep his way pure?” The answer that follows is a reminder to guard our hearts and minds by knowing His commandments and storing up His word IN our hearts so that we might not sin against Him.  

In marriage, yes, it is still important to keep our bodies pure, but I would venture to say that purity of our minds is where the real battleground lies. This is the ultimate test of what is really in our hearts.  

We need to be asking ourselves three questions about what we are allowing to take up residence in our thoughts and be aware of how these things might be impacting our relationship with our spouse and with God.  

1.What are you seeing as your reality?  

With social media at our fingertips, we are inundated with constant images of other people’s perfect lives which in turn makes us question our happiness. The more we feed ourselves these images, the more we feel that our job, home, vacations, and even our partner are not measuring up to this perfection.  

“Growing research has shown that increased usage of social media has had a negative effect on marriages and relationships. Higher levels of social media usage have led to more marital problems, infidelity, conflicts, jealousy, and eventually divorce.” (https://www.mckinleyirvin.com/resources/digital-divorce-a-guide-for-social-media-digital/how-social-media-affects-marriage/

If you are finding yourself in a constant thought trap of feeling like you will never be/have enough or asking “Why can’t my partner be like…” or just feeling genuinely unhappy with life—this is your mental battleground.  

2.Are you playing the comparison game?  

Have you ever caught yourself looking at other people’s relationships and thinking “Their marriage is perfect”, “They never fight”, or “They seem to have it all”—this is the comparison game. A game that ends in a distorted view of reality. 

Comparison breeds one of two feelings: Envy or Pride. Neither are not a good look. Neither are not healthy for our relationship with our spouse or with God.  

When we are comparing ourselves to others this can lead to unrealistic expectations that we project onto our spouse. These expectations are often unspoken and may even be subconscious. They can lead to feelings of disappointment, regret, and unhappiness in our relationship.  

If we are not careful, our thoughts about our spouses will reinforce the stories we have been telling ourselves our whole lives about not being good enough, choosing the right person, or just never being happy. Not taking out thoughts captive will lead to unhappiness with our spouses and ultimately unhappiness with ourselves.  

3.Are we aware of our wounds?  

We all carry our wounds from our childhoods. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid this. These wounds are often triggered in our marriages because we could not heal them in our family of origin, so we subconsciously try to heal them with our partner.  

If you are not aware of these wounds, they can create thoughts about your spouse that will reinforce the stories you have been telling yourself your whole life. These stories often center around not being good enough, being let down/not being able to trust, choosing the right person, or just never being happy.   

If you are having trouble forgiving your spouse, trusting your spouse, or managing your anger and disappointments, you may need to do some deeper work around these wounds. Not being aware of these feelings and thoughts will lead to unhappiness with our spouses and ultimately unhappiness with ourselves.  

This will take actively being aware and working on healing our emotional wounds by seeking counsel outside ourselves.  

How to cultivate purity in our minds? 

1. Praise and Thanksgiving.  

Psalms 150:1-3 says:

“Praise the Lord.[a] 

Praise God in his sanctuary; 

    praise him in his mighty heavens. 

2 Praise him for his acts of power; 

    praise him for his surpassing greatness. 

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, 

    praise him with the harp and lyre…” 

The psalmist ends with “Let everything that has breath, Praise the Lord!” 

Try waking up every morning and praising God for your home, your job, your spouse, your car, and your life.  If you are filling your mind with praise, it is hard for thoughts of comparison, unhappiness, and envy to take up residence in your mind. Research shows that we cannot think about two things at the same time—therefore we cannot be praising and cultivating gratitude while feeling unhappy with our lives.  

2. Monitor What You Are Feeding Your Mind 

The devil is crafty and knows how to sneak into places that feel innocent and harmless. One way is through “entertainment.” When we want to allow our minds to rest, this is where our defenses lower, and we turn on our passive brain.  

Watching and listening to shows, news, and podcasts, “is one of the most passive forms of thinking, which makes it one of the most powerful. Because we are not engaged in active thinking, we allow any number of morally suspect thoughts to enter our mind unhindered…” (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/we-become-what-we-watch

Entertainment is where we need to be the most vigilant and not let our guards down. What we allow ourselves to ingest daily will become the moral framework of our thoughts, behaviors, and decisions.  

Paul urges the Philippians to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…” (Philippians 4:8-NIV). 

Challenge yourself to be in the Word daily. Join a study, commit to reading through the Bible using a podcast (I recommend “The Bible Recap”), or write out scriptures. Knowing God’s word is the best way to challenge any untrue thoughts that might enter our heads.  

3. Pray With Your Spouse  

Taking time to actively pray with your spouse will help increase intimacy and trust in your relationship. By joining together in prayer, you will be able to hear the struggles and concerns your spouse is carrying which increases empathy. 

Often spouses think they can “mind read” and assume they know what is on their partner’s mind and heart. By taking time to pray together you are opening up the door to combat assumptions and understand your partner’s heart.  

Praying together also combats negative thoughts about our relationship. Regularly praying together “improves your communication, it improves your affection, it improves your sexual relationship with each other as a couple.”  


My hope today is that you will examine your heart and challenge yourself to reframe purity in your life and your marriage. The lie we have been told is that purity ends when we are married. My prayer is that you will challenge this assumption and work toward purifying your thoughts so that your marriage can thrive the way God intended.