If you were home schooled or ran around in Fundamentalist Christian circles, you’ve probably heard of something called purity culture or purity rings.
You can get a purity ring in just about any Christian book store, or at any purity culture event, like the Silver Ring Thing.
Mine looked like this…
Some children actually signed a contract when they received or bought their rings. These contracts were not legally binding because the youth were underage at the time of signing them, but many children were led to believe that they were.
I grew up in a fundamentalist-minded, Christian homeschool group. The parents in this group wanted the best for their children. So, they turned to the purity culture promises.
Do this and your child will never have a broken heart. Follow this formula for your child’s relationship and they’ll never deal with the pain of a break up. Do things God’s way and your child’s relationship will be blessed.
Except the promises of purity culture crumbled. They were well intended lies, nothing more.
Kiss dating goodbye, but don’t kiss before marriage. If you screw up, you are the equivalent of chewed gum, spat in water, dirty, unclean, a whore, etc.
But you know what? That’s wrong.
To think that there is a formula for relationships to work out perfectly is foolish!
Those parents wanted what they thought was best for their kids. They suffered broken hearts and didn’t want to see their children do the same.
But they were wrong.
What they didn’t know is this: If you follow all of the rules, all of the legalism, and buy into all that purity culture says is true, your spouse will still break your heart.
I do not know one single couple on this earth that has not experienced a broken heart.
My husband has broken my heart before. And you know what? That’s okay. I knew that someday that would happen, because we told each other it would.
We weren’t waiting with bated breath for it to happen, but we weren’t surprised either. We had realistic expectations on our side.
Relationships are hard, whether you choose to wait or not. And waiting will not guarantee that you will always be happy and love each other the same way you did when you fell in love.
I don’t regret my decision to wait, but I do regret the purity culture lies that I believed to make it there. I was naive. I was a jerk to people who chose not to wait. If you are one of those people, I’m sorry.
I want my son to learn from this. I want him to know:
- Whether you wait or not, that is your choice. I’ll love you no matter what. There are risks and benefits to every decision you make in life, and this is no exception. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are literally trying to sell you something.
- If you decide to wait and mess up, you can always find forgiveness. Your mistakes don’t define you. You aren’t dirty.
- There is no magic ring or formula that will protect your heart from the world and the pain it holds.
- It’s normal to have your heart broken, it’s part of the world we live in. People are imperfect humans and it will happen someday.
- I followed the purity culture, and I’d do it again if I had the choice because it was part of who I now am, but I want better for you.
I love you, Bubba!
New Crunchy Mom
If you enjoyed this post, please consider buying my book on purity culture, legalism, and spiritual abuse called The Scarlet Virgins!
“A chewed up piece of gum.”
These cringe-worthy phrases from Christian purity culture ingrained themselves in the minds of the impressionable youth of my generation. Fearing the destruction of their children’s bodies and souls as the world around them became caught up in pushing a progressive sexual agenda, our parents and thought leaders rose up and sought to fight back against the lewdness and promiscuity surrounding us.
Unfortunately, their approach was entangled with fear and pain, going so far as to criminalize all forms of affection. This bore fruit of unprecedented physical, mental, and spiritual consequences as our worth and identity were found in what we did and didn’t do sexually, not in Christ and His sacrifice for us. The heavy-handed and legalistic emphasis on sexual-purity-at-all-costs left a legacy of emotional and spiritual devastation in its wake that follows many even into adulthood.
This book takes a vulnerable look at these issues through the eyes of someone who experienced it firsthand. It seeks to identify what purity culture got wrong and bring peace to the hearts of those whom it has wounded so deeply, by exposing the truth: It is Christ who makes us pure.