It’s Not about Abstinence

01 Sep

Every now and then someone asks me if I’m engaged. No, I’m not. They ask if I have a promise ring. I laugh. Then they ask if the band on my hand is a purity ring. At one time, I would have said yes. Now I’m more hesitant.

The ring is a simple, silver band with a line of seven crosses etched on one side and “John 3:16” on the other. My parents gave it to me for Christmas about five or six years ago. They didn’t call it a purity ring, but it fit perfectly on my ring finger.

SONY DSCI remember my hand feeling heavy and I would play with the ring constantly. Now I’m used to the weight of it. But after a while of wearing anything, you stop being so consciously aware. It doesn’t attract your attention until it attracts someone else’s.

On the occasion that someone does notice my ring, it comes as something of a surprise. Like when a new acquaintance comments on your eye color. “Oh,” I say. “I guess my eyes are blue.” It’s such an unconscious fact that it’s startling to have it pointed out.

“Yes, I do wear a ring.”

“Is it a purity ring?”

“Um, I suppose…it could be…in a way.”

The difficulty is my ring doesn’t mean to me that I’m “waiting until marriage.” It’s no “true love waits” message. Sexual abstinence can’t prevent sin. Jesus said adultery happens as soon as lust enters your mind (Matt. 5:27-28). Sin doesn’t begin with the physical act. Sin comes out of the heart.

Wedding rings signify vows made between two people. They’ve committed themselves to the needs of each other. Instead of abstinence, the goal is faithfulness. In all ways, not just sex. The ring reminds a spouse to be faithful to their partner while also saying their partner has promised to be faithful in return.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God proved himself faithful to me even before I loved him, even before I knew him. He gave me his son; his son gave me his life. And he continues to love me every day. Jesus Christ is the love of my life (Isa. 62:5). That’s why I wear my ring.

My ring reminds me to be faithful to Jesus. And it reminds me that Jesus is faithful to me (Matt. 28:20). He’s promised to love me and do everything for my good. I’ve promised the same for him. We’ve made our vows.


Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “It’s Not about Abstinence

  1. kohl3014

    November 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Emily, I think you miss the point. Guys use rings to figure out who is legal to hit on and who is “off the market.” Girls that wear purity rings are screwing up the whole system. That said, I like your blog, even these really old post.-Zach.

    PS: I don’t normally comment on people’s blogs. But the ring thing is something that gets me fired up.

    • Emily R

      November 20, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Zach. Thanks for reading. I know the typical view of wearing/not wearing a ring. It seems YOU missed MY point. I’ve altered the system to fit me. Instead of a ring symbolizing that I’m “taken” (as if I’m a product to be claimed) by a husband or fiancée, it shows that I’m committed to and loved by the one perfect man who trumps all others. That doesn’t mean I might not wear another ring of a different kind someday, but for now, that’s the most important thing I want ANY guy to know who’s considering hitting on me. Besides, I’d rather a man know me well enough to know my relationship status before he decides to ask me out. If wearing a ring dissuades a few strangers from flirting with me, that’s no loss in my mind. One final point and I’m done: the “system” is already broken without my messing with it. No ring doesn’t tell a man whether a woman is single, and while it may be “legal”, boyfriends don’t usually respond well to other men flirting with their girlfriends. It’s better to not assume and just ask if someone is seeing anyone. Since you feel strongly about this issue, I felt the need to clarify my meaning.


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