by Dr. Randy Schroeder
Our friends and their daughter recently signed a “pact” whereby the daughter promises to remain a virgin until she is married. I understand this is a growing practice. As a parent of a teenage daughter myself, I’d like some insight on what you think about it, and whether you have ideas on other ways to deal with a teenage girl’s coming of age.
The need to experience sexual intimacy is a natural and very powerful drive for young people. Television, movies, and the Internet present sexual temptations that earlier generations did not have to confront. That, coupled with intense peer pressure, makes it extremely challenging for today’s teen to make healthy choices when it comes to sexuality. The Bible makes it clear that sexual intimacy is a gift to be enjoyed only within the marriage covenant. Whatever parents can do to help young people lead a Christ-like life is to be commended.
I think a virginity pact is a wonderful idea. By agreeing to such a pact, a teen promises to lead an abstinence-only lifestyle that honors God and respects oneself and one’s future spouse. It is important that the pact is not seen merely as a vehicle to appease parents, but as an opportunity to live as one who has been redeemed by Christ and enabled by the Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of a righteous life. In that sense, the promise is an oath also to God.
Should you choose to create a pact with your teen, I recommend that you make it concrete—and thus more likely to be achieved—by writing it down. Include the reasons and benefits of the agreement. Display the pact so that you can see it daily, and read it aloud on a regular basis. Some parents have found that giving their son or daughter a ring, bracelet, or wristband is a helpful visual reminder.
You can be proactive in talking to your teen about sexuality further “upstream,” when he or she begins showing interest in the opposite sex. Take him or her out for an elegant meal at the place and date of his or her choice. Afterward, discuss the biblical view of marriage, the sacredness of sexual chastity, the benefits of waiting until marriage for sexual intimacy, the importance of setting healthy limits to avoid temptation, the qualities to look for in a Christian spouse, and, conversely, the intolerable flaws to avoid in a future spouse. Allow time for plenty of questions and conversation, and resist like the plague the temptation to lecture!
Finally, pray for your child’s spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being, and that God would lead him or her to find a Christian spouse.