Recently I was talking with a friend who planned on attending a wedding the following weekend. The groom was a college friend who had stood up in her own wedding; while the bride she had only met a few times. In the midst of our conversation about the wedding and what my friend would wear she made a comment that caught me completely off-guard.
“It’s going to be one of those super awkward weddings,” she told him, in a whisper. When I asked why, thinking perhaps the awkwardness would stem from the Catholic ceremony when she was a devout Baptist, she went on to tell me that everyone was certain both the bride and groom were still virgins. The scandal!
My friend went on to tell me all the weddings she had been to between two virgins had been strange and awkward because the two parties had no idea what they were getting themselves into. She saw it as irresponsible and something only a religious nut would blindly attempt.
It wasn’t too long ago that arriving to your wedding a virgin was still something looked upon as a good thing – even if many people found it personally impossible. Looking even further back, my grandparents generation was one of shot-gun weddings, or women who were not allowed to wear white if they had been tainted before the vows were spoken. Ideas loosened a little with my parents and older cousins generations. You were no longer expected to marry the person you slept with – as two wrongs didn’t make it right. But there was still an idea that the sexual act was something truly meant for the confines of marriage. Virginity to the altar was something to be striven for. But now…
Thinking back, I’ve been to my fair share of weddings in the last several years and while nearly every one I’ve attended has not been a wedding between two virgins, I never noticed an awkwardness during the proceedings from the party or parties who arrived to the blessed day inexperienced. In fact, at times it seemed to be the exact opposite – there was a feeling of triumph and healthy pride.
When a good friend of mine married I knew she arrived to her wedding day a virgin, while her groom did not. After the event I asked her if it is really practical and possible to make it through all the dating and engagement years while still holding firm to the conviction that sex is meant for marriage. She laughed when I asked and took a long time to answer. When she finally did I got a candid but perfect answer to my query. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my whole life. The hardest! But, man, was it worth it.”