Good Christian girls don’t talk about sex. We just obsess about it.

I was a zealot in college. Like stand-in-the-quad-and-preach-the-Gospel crazy. I didn't wave a Turn or Burn sign, though. So, that's a relief.

But I tried really hard to be spiritual. This made me depressed. I felt awful most days, especially on the days when God wouldn't lead me to an open parking spot–even after I prayed about it. 

I prayed all day every day about everything. Mostly because I was trying not to think about sex.

Which only made me think about sex more.

When Christian girls I knew talked about wanting to get married, they all wanted different things than I did. They wanted a man who "really loved the Lord" or who wanted to "serve the Lord in ministry." 

I just wanted a Christian guy who was hot and liked sex.

The one time I admitted this, the good, Christian girls frowned at me and said I "immature" and "unspiritual." Another married Christian woman told me not to think about sex because it "wasn't all it was chalked up to be."

I thought they were whacked. But I kept my  mouth shut. Maybe that's another reason why I don't do small groups!

The good news is that I got lucky. Or should I say: blessed? Yes, blessed. That's more spiritual. Heh.

Anyway, I was still a freshman in college when a very hot, Christian guy told me he liked me. A month later, he told me he loved me. We got married when I was 20.

We now have five kids. I guess you could say we like sex. We also like what happens as a result; ie. offspring.

I realize, though, that our love story is sorta an anomaly these days. I mean, yeah–my extremist background was crazy–but we got one thing right: we were encouraged to marry young.

At the very least it was considered a good thing and not a YOU'RE-THROWING-YOUR-LIFE-AWAY thing.

I feel sorry for these Christian kids whose parents are telling them to wait to get married until after college, after graduate school, after they get a good career. And then, ONLY WHEN THEY ARE FINANCIALLY SECURE, should they have children.

Here's the thing: you're never ready to have children. You're never really PREPARED for that. I mean, there's no such thing as a "good time" for having kids. That's just a bunch of crap the baby-boom generation invented because they don't want to grow old or be called Grandma.

Yes, you can be responsible. But you don't need to own a house or a SMALL REAL ESTATE EMPIRE before having kids. You don't need to be able to buy a $1500 stroller before having kids.

Lastly, you don't need to enroll your kids in a preschool that charges more than Harvard.

Shoot, you don't really need to buy a crib. Throw a blanket in the bathtub and call it a nursery.

The point is, sex is awesome and if my kids come to me at 18 and say they've met their soul-mates I'll be all: SWEEEEET! Let's have the wedding in the backyard and you guys can live here until you're financially secure!

They'll totally go for that, right?

Hey, it's better than waiting to have sex until you own a small real estate empire. Or a lame-ass Bugaboo stroller.

  • http://www.sewjenna.blogspot.com goodgirlpants

    i whole-heartedly concur with you. this post rocked my married-at-twenty world. i think i’m gonna go do it w/ my husband of almost thirteen years. peace out.

  • http://ciaoyellowbird.com Brenn

    You are so right on! I think it’s terrible that we tell young people to wait until this and that and at the same time expect these healthy young people to remain celibate the whole time!

  • http://thejcrew-kj.blogspot.com/ kathy

    Oh my goodness that’s fantastic. So true.
    Great post.

  • http://www.number17cherrytreelane.blogspot.com No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane

    I’m obsessed with this.
    If I hear one more friend tell me they are going to wait until they have a house to get pregnant.
    AArgh.

  • Charis

    I absolutely agree with you… except for one exception: I DO want my girls to, if possible, have gotten all the education they want before they have kids.

    I’m currently trying to (v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y) catch up on the education that was denied me in my single years, and and honestly irked because I don’t feel it is fair to my girls to not be able to be all there for them. And I don’t mean “all there for them” in a my-world-revolves-around-them way, but more like, I-can-barely-meet-their-needs-and-still-do-school way.

    I am honestly a bit upset that I didn’t get to at least get a small degree under my belt while I was in a season of life that wouldn’t require attention away from from home and family while THEY must be my first priority. It’s just that before marriage and kids, its perfectly right and good to have school as a first priority, but not so afterwards.

    I know that not all girls want higher education, and that’s totally up to them. But for those that do, it would be nice to have that chapter out of the way so that we can be undistracted during the early years of our family’s life and still have the education/experience completed and ready for use however God can use it.

    Now, as to enjoying sex in young marriage… that doesn’t necessarily have to equal “throwing your life away”, and when you have two responsible young ones, I say, go for it. ;^)

  • Joel F

    Love the post…all of it. Every bit of it. ok done for now.

  • http://whwhhow.blogspot.com/ Jess

    Totally with you. Ten year next Thursday since our first kiss (I wasn’t yet twenty). We had some horror years and a lot of personal baggage to work through, but we wouldn’t have worked through it apart, being together we pushed each other (at times, pushed each other’s buttons) and became better people because of it. Oh, and the sex, ten years and 4.5 years later, awesome. Five stars.

  • http://whwhhow.blogspot.com/ Jess

    That was meant to be 4.5 KID later – I’m pregnant with #5

  • http://www.pollyskitchenwindow.blogspot.com PollyS

    I agree! I was fed the line that I had to get a degree, get a good job THEN marry. What a crock.
    Now, I do realize that God has a plan for everyone, and His plan for my life was to meet my husband at 28 and marry at 31. But I can tell you that life would be oh so much easier if we had “grown up” together.
    If I knew then….I would have prayed importunately for a husband of my youth.

  • http://sue-livingandlearning.blogspot.com/ Sue

    Well, since my husband is 13 years older than I am, I guess I have to say that I’m really glad that he didn’t go off and get married when he was 20. I would have been 7 years old then. ;o)

    I do really agree with what you are saying, though, and I do not plan to encourage my kids to wait if they find the right person when they are still “too young” in the eyes of most people.

  • http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com Erin

    Oh you make me laugh:)

    I got married at 20 too, conceived our first on our honeymoon, so no we didn’t ‘wait’ till we could ‘afford children.’ Our Lord always provides.

  • http://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com terry@breathing grace

    You and I are in agreement on this one, Elizabeth. On all counts.

    It’s actually a pet peeve of mine to hear Christian women lament that they have to have sex with their husbands.

    What the??? I wrote a series of posts on the subject last year (don’t know if you read them) and was stunned by the numbers of women who felt that way. Of course, I lost all the comments when I imported to wordpres.

    Like you, we have a house full of kids and love every minute of it. I actually believe that the push to postpone marriage indefintely is part of the problem that many people have in their marriages. My husband and I grew together in ways that we probably never would have had we been 30 when we married. For those who marry late because it just works out that way, I’m not knocking it. Just saying that purposeful delaying of marriage for arbitrary reasons like college (college students are of legal marriage age, you know?) doesn’t make sense to me.

  • http://www.heathershodgepodge.blogspot.com Heather

    Totally agree. I even wrote a few posts about this last year. On one hand, I do think that college is important and if you want to go to college, you should. And if you marry young, college becomes harder to complete. But on the other hand, it is STUPID to tell young people to wait for marriage and tell them to not get married until they’re financially secure. In some cases, that’s 10 years. An awfully long time for a couple in love to date and remain pure.

  • http://www.flythroughourwindow.com Darby

    You are so right and you are so hilarious. :) I married at 21 and have absolutely no regrets! I did manage to graduate from college before our wedding but we did not purposefully delay our wedding until then. My husband was in grad school the first 3 years of our marriage and it worked out great!

  • Staying anonymous

    And here is the one dissenter.
    I was a baby when I got married. So was he. It’s been hard, hard and hard.
    We are celebrating 14 years this summer, we are committed and in for the long haul because love isn’t just a feeling (and all that jazz) but what I thought was my true love was really the first guy who paid attention to me.
    You don’t have to be financially secure to get married, but being emotionally secure is a precursor to a healthier marriage.
    Sex is great, but it isn’t everything.

  • http://www.kathleenbasi.com Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    Hilarious, Elizabeth!

    I’m with you, but Darby also makes a good point, that sex isn’t everything. But it is hard/wrong/irrational to tell people BOTH to abstain till marriage AND put off marriage. Not sure what the solution is, since I 100% believe that sex belongs within marriage, yet I also think that realistically, the “get married early” ship has sailed.

  • http://www.musingsofacatholiclady.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    AWESOME!!! Love this post…may have to link back to it when I am back to blogging after Easter!

  • Debra

    I’ll have to agree. Sort of…

    We got married before we were through school. So then we worked full time and went to school part time. After 8 years of school, we finally had our degrees! Woot! And it really made us a team – once we got married my hubby’s family didn’t pay for college (which is fine!) and we had to pay for it. Best thing for us.

    The flip side though, is that we did wait until we were financially ready to have a kid. When I got pregnant, we were debt free except for the mortgage, with a largish emergency fund. God directs in different ways – we waited until we could survive on one income and it’s a good thing we did! I ended up on bedrest and couldn’t have worked through my pregnancy even if I had wanted to work. Now, because of our hard work getting out of debt, I’m able to stay at home and my husband is able to work at a small company that probably doesn’t pay as well as others, but it’s close to home and we like the people. That kind of freedom is priceless.
    So, I guess I’m just saying, we are the exception to the rule. We were financially ready for a baby. And my stroller was a hand me down :D.

  • http://www.elizabethesther.com Elizabeth Esther

    I love the dissenters’ points. I, for one, am super glad that I finished college–in between babies and newly married life. Those early years were very difficult. But like someone else said: it forced us to grow up together. It was never easy but looking back, entirely worth it.

    Most of all, there are no formulas. I was lucky/blessed to find a man while I was young. This doesn’t happen to everyone and I totally get that. I guess I just feel for those kids who fall in love at 16,17, 18 and whose parents say: NO, wait until you’re 25.

    You really can be in true love at those young ages. Yes, sex isn’t everything. There does need to be some emotional maturity. I’m not saying early marriage is for everyone.

    But if we had listened to some of the folks who told us to wait until “Elizabeth grows up”, for example, we probably wouldn’t have ever gotten married.

    Love this discussion!!

  • http://www.laurissalynn.blogspot.com Laurissa

    I totally support getting married young. Not before your 20′s…but young.

    Now I just have to wait and see whether God’s plan for my life consists of that….or trying out the theory of getting married older…:D

  • Audrey

    Thank you!

    I got married six months ago at twenty-one and will finish school this spring. He has a year of grad school left. It’s been tough sometimes when lots of projects were all due at once, but not as hard as some people seemed to think it would be.

    And we /did/ get married in my parents’ front yard, after dating for two years and planning a wedding for three weeks. Things just worked out financially and we had a place to live really suddenly.

    I’m so frustrated that there’s so much pressure from parents and from youth groups on kids to WAIT WAIT WAIT that some girls I know have made commitments to not even DATE until they’re 21.

    I had to learn a lot emotionally before we got married and nearly married the wrong guy when I was about eighteen (he had proposed, anyway). But so much of our bodies and minds is designed to make that leap into marriage when we’re younger; I do know some people who waited and it worked out really well for them, but as a constant mantra, as the “recommendation” of our times, I think it’s causing a lot of problems.

  • http://ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com/ Young Mom

    Amen Amen Amen!! I have written about this before! Can’t agree enough and I wouldn’t change any of the choices we’ve made despite the fact that people continue to tell us how crazy we are.
    I love this post!!!

  • Ann Marie

    I just found your blog sort of by accident and am enjoying it so much. I married when I was 24, but honestly, I met my husband when I was 21 and really knew I wanted to marry him right away. We waited because we knew everyone would say we were insane if we didn’t. I look at my parents generation, who all got married young and who are for the most part still married, and I think they may have gotten it right. Plus, by the time my mom and dad were 45, all of their kids were in college and my parents had a little freedom. Not that they didn’t love having us around, but I know they liked that we were all adults at that point.

  • Cathy

    In the hotness department, Elizabeth, my husband is a stud, and incomparable. My keyboard is on fire, baby, as I write this!

    Anyway, I wrote this (see below) on Amy’s blog a couple of weeks ago, and it’s not that it bears repeating (it’s not inspired, trust me), but it just capsulizes what my husband and I have mulling over for some months now.

    We have recently been talking about our own world view, and whether we’ve unwittingly adopted a more carnal one. The courtship issue is another one over which we’ve struggled. Our conclusion is that our kids are ALL guinea pigs–”We’ve never had one like him/her before!” and, as such, each relationship w/the opposite sex is different, and should be treated that way. BUT, what we’ve come to realize is that it isn’t absolutely necessary to be finished w/college, or that the man in the relationship needs to have a top-notch career (as opposed to a job), or to own a house before you get married…particularly in this tough economic climate (if you have a job, praise God). Never mind that the ones in the relationship love Jesus, and want to walk w/Him together; daggone it, you have college debt, and you don’t have a career, and you don’t own a house!

    Finally, even those on the blogosphere who encourage courtship, “stay-at-home daughters,” etc., want their kids to wait until they have it all together before they marry. NEWS FLASH: NO ONE has it all together. We’re ALL sinners, of which I’m proud to admit: I’m one! Don’t take that too seriously, but if I wasn’t, there would be no need for Jesus. And, praise God, I need Jesus!

    There will always be glitches in a marriage, but that just makes the make-up sessions all the better!

    As I stated, it’s not inspired.

    And, oh, yeah, like you, I dig sex–w/my man, of course! Gotta throw in that qualifier. YIKES.

    Cathy

  • MV

    Hahaha. That’s funny. I love my bugaboo. I guess that’s one thing I get to enjoy having been “forced” to wait for marriage by my post-college cult. (I desperately need a double stroller now though).

    But seriously, My husband and I always tell people that we wish we had gotten married (gone to Vegas or something) the week we met (I had just finished college and he had one year left). Instead we waited years until our spiritual authorities heard from God.

    I truly think sex in early marriage would have been easier had we just gone ahead and followed our gut about where the relationship was going to end up anyway. Its taken years for me to recover and chill out from all the crap I was fed in various churches, cults, homeschool groups, small groups, etc. about sex and enjoy it. And it is Awesome. Sex is great. And that’s what I plan on telling my daughters.

    MV

  • http://www.minthegap.com MInTheGap

    There are many dads that are of this mindset, that I’ve seen, where they believe that their daughters have to learn a life skill in case the guy leaves or dies or something. Between that and the amount of people that say that kids end everything, you can definitely see why people put off having kids.

    I mean, just where I work there were three babies born within a few months. The one couple seems young (in their 20s) and just had #1. I’m early 30s and just had #4. The last one is my age and he’s having #1.

    I always think about “how old I’ll be when”. How old will I be when they can actually play ball? How old will I be when they graduate? How old will I be when they get married?

    I don’t want to not have the energy to be a part of their grown up life when they get there.

  • Rosita

    I love the post and the comments. And I completely agree with what you said. My experience was different in that I meet my husband in my later twenties, but once we decided that marriage was in our future, we moved quickly. And now we are about to celebrate 7 years and we have 3 children. (I got lucky too and I am loving it:) We didn’t have it all together, but we were committed to each other and trusted that if God brought us together, God would provide. And we still go by that.

  • Allie

    And then there are stories like this one which make me cry:
    http://autumn-alittleprincess.blogspot.com/2010/03/when-life-isnt-fairy-tale.html

  • MV

    In light of Allie’s comment linking to Autumn Jean’s story about abuse, I feel I must add to my comment from earlier. Having been open with friends and family about the fact that I wish we’d gotten married right away has gotten me into some trouble. My words were twisted and taken out of context by a childhood friend of mine who turned out to be abusive. In their case, she was the abusive one, both verbally and physically, and I thank God that the man made his own decision to get out of the relationship weeks before the wedding. She was using my story to try to get him to the alter, i.e. legally and spiritually bound, as fast as she could. After my cult experiences and seeing the signs of abusive relationships, I try to be more careful and discerning when relating my own story in person. Story is so powerful and like everything can be used for both good and evil.

    MV

  • http://www.elizabethesther.com Elizabeth Esther

    Allie: the story you linked to is so sad and I really feel for her. We definitely need to be mindful of relationships that can turn abusive. But I’m not exactly sure that her experience is germane to the point of this post. However, thank you for sharing it. It is important for all of us to be aware of situations and people that lend themselves toward abusive relationships. Thanks.

  • http://www.thoughts-of-home.blogspot.com Carole

    Thanks for getting on this soapbox.
    My husband and I will celebrate our 10 year “engagement” anniversary on Friday and are 32 and have 4 sons. Would’t trade this life for a luxury house and car ever.
    What does “financially stable” mean anyhow?
    How about “are you willing to work hard, sacrifice a lot, and love deeply?” then you’re ready to get married.

  • Another Anon

    To Staying Anonymous, you’re not the only one. I too married the first guy who paid attention to me and at the time (both in our early 20s), the chemistry was there, which I mistook for love. I knew there were huge problems before the wedding, but I didn’t have the fortitude to call it all off.

    Marriage has been really hard. We’re coming up to our five year anniversary, and I still often think I made the wrong decision. I do my best to love him, but I don’t think I’m ‘in love’ with him. Because of that, I don’t think the sex is as good as it should be. Oh well.

    That being said, I think young marriage is fine, as long as both parties understand that it’s not always easy. I think other people should mind their own business and not assume that every young marriage will turn out badly. (I think another part of this puzzle in our culture is that many people get married young and are still immature and selfish–when two selfish people won’t give in, marriage is miserable. People ‘just grow apart’ or ‘find themselves’ and it ends in divorce.)

  • Debra

    Oh, and one more thing.

    I knew my husband for 8 months before we were engaged. 6 month long engagement. Yep, super short engagement, much shorter than what my mom or his parents would have liked…..but ummm…yeah, we needed to get married soon – we weren’t going to make it otherwise!!

    So my husband and I are all for marrying young and short engagements! It takes all of three months to plan a wedding if the marriage is the focus and not the ceremony (but I’m totally cool with fabulous weddings, if that’s what the kids want!)

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    Hmmm. Well, my first two marriages followed the conception of my two oldest children children (the first when I was 15). So I’m not even sure I have the space for an opinion. My wife and I were both at or past the quarter century mark when we got married. And this year will be our 20th anniversary. The idea that my kids are having sex doesn’t freak me out. Younger son (18) doesn’t want to get married or have kids after two painful breakups.

    I guess I do think it’s silly to simultaneously tell kids not to have sex and to wait to get to married. Beyond that, not sure what I think. My experience is probably too different.

  • http://andi-horton.livejournal.com Andrea

    EE,

    it’s my guess Allie shared the link because, as the blogger was married quite young, Allie may have wanted to show another possible side of things. That is, while good marriages can start young, so can marriages with sadder endings start young, too. I was especially upset to read that certain members of Autumn’s church family tried to dismiss her concerns about what was taking place; for a young, newly-married girl without strong familial support behind her, such an attitude could have had badly dangerous consequences.

    I am reading here, as always, with avid interest! I do enjoy hearing all the lovely, ever-after tales people are sharing, whether they were wed at 19 or 39, or even later :)

  • http://andi-horton.livejournal.com Andrea

    (I should clarify– I meant to say “for a young, newly-married girl, without the type of strong familial support such as Autumn was so blessed to have behind her,” etc.)

  • http://www.thejoyofhome.blogspot.com Dianna

    My dad told me when I was in college, “If you get married before you finish college, I’ll take your car (he paid for it).” Thankfully, I didn’t meet my wonderful husband until after college. We were friends first, but it was fast after we started dating: engaged within 4 months, married within 7 months. I remember when I told my grandmother that we were dating, she said, “I just wished you would wait 10 more years before thinking about marriage!” I was 23 and told her she was crazy!! We also had our first son 6 weeks before our 1st anniversary and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world!

  • http://www.laundryandlullabiesblogspot.com Emily

    My husband and I met in college and got married the day after we graduated. Really. :) I think it is sad to tell people to wait until they’re through grad school and have a house and a solid job and and and before getting married. We didn’t know where we would live or where we would work until about a month out from the wedding…but it all worked out.

    It IS hard to finish schooling after marriage and especially after kids come along. My husband got his masters while we were having our first few kids, and it was tough! But it can be done, and we never would have wanted to postpone the kids until some indefinite point when we’d be “ready”! You’re absolutely right – that day will NEVER come.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Lydia Smith

    Thank you! I loved this :) I have a group of friends dubbed the “Lingerie circle”, and we all plan to go shopping as we get engaged :) It’s good to hear that I’m not crazy!

  • http://www.smockityfrocks.com Smockity Frocks

    I know I’m late on this, but had to say I LOVE what you have to say here, Elizabeth!

    I was 18 and my husband 21 when we married. Our 8th baby is due on our 25th wedding anniversary, so… yeah, we like IT. :)

    We have been through plenty of hard times (and marriage counseling) but it’s better now than ever. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought we would have made it this far. HOORAY for commitment!

  • Margaret

    lol. I’m probably more fundy than most of your readers, but I totally agree with this. Quite honestly, it was Christians on the far more liberal end of things that gave me the most grief about marrying young and what a waste it is and how I was supposed to go to college and “have lots of fun” (whatever that means, I gather something to do with experimenting and maybe smooching some guys just for the heck of it) and have a career before even thinking of marriage.

    I married just before I turned 20. Dh was willing to work his rear off to provide for his family, and he’s done that. We’ve been dirt poor, and that was OK. We’re still mostly-poor, and that’s OK.

    I think if my parent’s town would have allowed trailers in the back yard, they would have done that for us. :D But we did OK without that. An inheritance bought our fist house and started our real estate ventures, though we’re not an empire yet. :p

    My marriage and the resultant were definitely not a “waste” of my youth and I’d do it all over again, no regrets.

  • Margaret

    My marriage and the resultant were definitely not a “waste” of my youth

    ***********

    lol, forgot a word there. resultant what? Resultant children. :D Gorgeous, amazing, wonderful children. Wouldn’t trade them for millions.

  • Agnes

    I’m 37 and still waiting to get married. I watched lots of my friends get married at age 19-23 and you know what, it was just NOT on my radar! I wanted to travel the world and have adventures, and I did. My first boyfriend proposed but I said no. Marriage didn’t enter my mind til I was 26 and God told me to start praying for it! So I’ve been praying all this time, lived around the world, got my masters as He led, and had the TIME I needed to recover from an abusive childhood. I finally feel like I could actually cope with the intimacy and trust of marriage. I don’t fit into any boxes and I am FINALLY starting to be OK with that – I’m sick and damned tired of trying to be what people think a 37 year old *should* be. Damn the should’s.

  • Zack

    I’m a young guy reader of yours (17) and I want to thank you for writing this. Lots of Christian girls are afraid to talk about these things and hopefully this will help them. I’ve found myself in many awkward occasions where there was sexual tension but in an off-putting, awkward sort of way. Maybe this will show everyone how natural it is to have these thoughts!