Please allow me to apologize if the conversation I’m about to start is causing you to have flashbacks of those awkward talks about the birds and the bees with your parents. Just take a deep breath and relax. Our little chat is not going to be like that. Our conversation is going to be more like the ones you have with your girlfriends over coffee about how you can’t believe that you just had to buy your youngest her first deodorant ever.
I have two children, ages 9 and 12, so maybe you’re like me and you’ve already had some of these chats with your friends. During these conversations, my friends and I usually hope that our children will remain pure until their wedding night in this sexually saturated world we’re living in and then we talk about how difficult it is to find appropriate clothing for our daughters, but our chats have never gone beyond virginity and modesty.
What I’d like to suggest is that we may be missing something very important – sexual purity encompasses more than just virginity and modesty. If our conversations about purity with our young people are only centered on those two issues, then we are not preparing them to remain sexually pure in their teen years and beyond – including their marriages.
It wasn’t until I became aware of my own husband’s struggle with sexual purity that my perspective on how he and I should be training our children shifted. If my husband and I are going to truly train our children to be sexually pure, we need to be teaching them how to battle temptations before things get physical. That means we need to be teaching them how to guard their eyes and their thought life because, whether we feel ready for it or not, our children are eventually going to be attracted to members of the opposite sex. They are going to be experiencing lots of overwhelming and foreign feelings and they will be tempted to objectify and lust after people. It is within our flesh nature to do so. And if they do not learn how to deal with tempting situations, it’s very possible that they will carry lust right into their marriages.
For some reason, I believed that once a man married, he would no longer be tempted to lust after other women, but that simply isn’t true. Equally false is that lust is just a “male issue”. While it’s true that men may struggle more with lust to some degree, women are just as susceptible. Recent statistics show that 1 in every 3 women visit adult websites weekly*. The stories of Potiphar’s wife and Joseph (Genesis 39), as well as David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) are great examples of how lust is indifferent to gender. These stories also teach us the process by which both David and Potiphar’s wife fell into sin: first they noticed with their eyes, then they coveted, and finally, they acted on their desires.
I understand how overwhelming it can feel to be unsure of how to teach your children about total sexual purity. I want to offer you some very practical tools that you can pass on to your children when they reach “that age”. Please click the link below to view these tools, and feel free to print them out so you can refer back to them again later.
I really do wish that we were sitting around a table having coffee together because there is so much more I could share with you and I’m certain that I could learn from you as well. Maybe we will have the joy of actually doing that someday, but why not start here? What are some of your ideas for training your children in total sexual purity?
* New York Times, 8/22/15