Over the years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about which is harder: pre-married chastity or post-married chastity. As someone who is currently straddling the line between the two, I figured I’d take a stab at a tricky topic.
Imagine your favorite food. For the sake of this post, let that food be pizza. Pizza may well be your favorite food, but when you think of your favorite food, you probably also think of the place and manner in which it is prepared. You may have spent copious amounts of hours trying different kinds of pizza, looking and longing for the one that tastes the very best for you. You may have spent years searching for the best pizza out there, only to end up with cheap imitations along the way. But deep down in your heart, you know there is that perfect pizza for you, just waiting around the corner.
The reality is that the way this pizza is prepared really matters to you. Each ingredient, each moment spent in the oven matters to the overall taste. Sure, you could go pick up a frozen pizza, but you know that it wouldn’t be as good as what you are really after.
Now imagine that all of the signs in the universe point to a certain kind of pizza being the absolute best pizza for you (and this is key: the best pizza to you may be your best friend’s least favorite pizza). With all of these signs pointing to the pizza, you simply must have a taste to confirm the signs for yourself. But wait! First you must wait a year or so hearing about this pizza, dreaming about this pizza, smelling this pizza, but you can’t have it yet. In some places you may even have to take classes on how to properly love and cherish this pizza you are about to indulge in.
At long last, after much waiting, smelling, mouth-watering anticipation you finally get to eat what you believe will be the best pizza you will ever taste in your entire life. And guess what? It is the best pizza known to your taste buds. But…as much as you love this pizza, you can’t have it every day. Instead, that pizza, the pizza you waited and waited for, will sit there every day, smelling and looking as yummy as ever, but you can’t have it every day. Too bad for you.
I’m sure we could all make a case for each stage in life being the hardest chastity-wise. The single girls would say they don’t know when their ‘perfect piece of pizza’ will come along, and the not knowing who, when, or how their life-long search for ‘pizza’ will end makes their struggle incredibly difficult. The engaged ladies would say that they know who their ‘pizza’ is, but it just sits in front of them, tempting them because they know that blessed, glorious day of pizza consumption is coming. Yes, they know who it is, so that struggle is over, but they still can’t have any pizza yet, so the wait goes on. The married gals would say their struggle for who and when are over, but the fact that, for whatever reason, they can’t have the pizza every day is even more of a struggle. Imagine it, you waited most (if not all) of your life, and there that perfect piece of pizza is, falling asleep next to you in bed at night, there when you wake up…the pizza is always there.
Who is to say which struggle is the hardest? The point is that chastity – whether you are single, engaged, or married – is hard. We can do each other a disservice by saying our struggle is harder than your struggle, or we can lift each other up in the hard times. Just because our struggles are different based on where we are at in our lives doesn’t make our frustrations any less real. On the days where the struggle seems unbearable, grab one of your gal pals and share a slice of pizza (literal pizza, don’t go sharing your significant others!) and remember that God is teaching you both through the difficulty.