On my left ring finger I wear a ring. A simple silver ring. It has been there for years, since somewhere around 2002, so that would be a decade. Now the original band, the one saying “TRUE LOVE WAITS”, that one had to be replaced. Don’t ask me how, but somehow, somewhere, I lost it. I replaced it. The new one reads “I am My Beloved’s My Beloved’s is Mine”, referencing Song of Solomon 6:3. It is not an engagement ring, not a promise ring. I was 15 years old in 2002; it is now 2012 and I am almost 25. I would hope that if I was engaged or promised to someone ten years ago, something would have become of it.
It is a purity ring. I guess I assumed it was a more common thing, at least among the Christian community. When I got the first one, it was something just about all of the girls in the youth group did. I made a commitment to purity, to abstinence until marriage in 6th grade. But this was a ring, a physical, near constant reminder to that commitment I had made to myself and to God to preserve my body and heart for the man I would someday marry.
For years I never got any comments about the ring. Maybe the one that read “True Love Waits” was pretty obvious, many had at least heard of the True Love Waits program. Maybe as I get older, it’s more possible or likely that I am married. But in the last year and a half, I’ve been asked three times if I was married. The first time was this guy in Hardee’s, which was odd, but it didn’t really shock me.
The second time was a classmate in a class I took at UNC this past semester. Also didn’t shock me, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to talk to her about my beliefs. It always shocks me the response I get. “That’s cool or a good thing to do.” But you can tell they’d never think of choosing that for themselves as if it’s too difficult.
But today shocked almost irritated me. Maybe because she didn’t take the time to see it or see what it said but automatically assumed. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a fan of the person that asked due to other reasons. But it bothered me that she automatically thought that this stone-less ring was an engagement ring and gave me this shocked look when I said it was a purity ring, as if she’d never heard of such a concept, even though I know she was brought up in a Christian home.
But why is purity so often considered such a lofty, unattainable goal? Why is it so often seen as something we should all do, but very rarely is it done? This is even among the church. It seems that when I tell people I’m saving myself for my husband I get 2 responses. These are responses I get from Christians and nonChristians alike.
“That’s great.” Said plainly that’s a good encouragement, but so often I also get the ‘but I could never do it’ (said or implied). It’s like they are setting me up on this pedestal, often thinking I’ve got a ‘holier than though’ attitude, even though I don’t do anything to give that off.
The other response is ‘are you serious?’ I got that response from Christian friends when I told her I didn’t believe in high school dating. That’s another post on another day, but she got all defensive.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23