Question:

First of all I want to thank God and ask Him to bless you for taking the time to advise everyone who came looking for answers.

I need help forgetting and forgiving her past. I have tried really hard.

I'm a fellow believer and I've been dealing with a big dilemma in my life for the past few months. I'm getting married this summer, and I love this girl. All my life I put great emphasis on myself and my future partner to be virgins when we marry, so early in our relationship I asked my now fiance, girlfriend at the time, if she is a virgin as well. Sadly, she said she is not because her boyfriend at the time raped her, which I am not holding against her. But what bothers me greatly, and I'm having a hard time getting over, is the fact that she stayed with him for another two years after the incident, and of course, sleeping with him. She says he kept abusing her, threatening that if she leaves him he will kill her family and so on.

At first I felt great pity for her, but later it just gave me the feeling that in a way she might not have minded it.

She said she confessed and repented of it, which I believe, but for some reason I still have a really hard time getting over the fact that she slept with him for another two years after the incident. There are times when she and I feel like it's not fair to me that I waited and she didn't (well, didn't leave him right away).

I have been researching Bible verses, sermons, speaker, to help me get over this. I am seriously desperate to just feel this relief as if it never happened. I have been desperately looking for someone to advise me, but sadly couldn't find anyone. I feel like this thought is just stuck in my mind and every single day is all I can think of, which puts me in a bad mood and depresses me. On one hand I'm so angry for what he did, but on the other hand I'm upset that she didn't leave him right away.

I would greatly appreciate if you could give me some advice for how to just forget her past. Sometimes I wish I would've never asked her about it.


Answer:

Let's start with a basic fact: Virginity is what people ought to strive for before their marriage because anything else involves sin. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). However, there is no verse stating that only virgins can marry. Salmon married Rahab, the harlot (Matthew 1:5). Their son, Boaz is the famous husband of Ruth. Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1:2). Therefore, a person's past does not determine their marriageable status.

The question isn't whether she had sex with someone else -- forced, intentional, or from weakness. Let's just assume for the moment that she did intentionally stayed and continued to have sex with this other boy The only true question is what is her current attitude toward sexual sins. Among the Corinthians were people who had committed all sorts of sexual sins, but they changed. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11). If God can forgive past sins, we can do no less. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).

Is the fact that she sinned going to disappear? It can't. The past cannot be undone. Can you forget what you know, and again the answer is "no." But you can accept that this was what she was once like, just as you can accept that this is how she is no longer. The only thing that is changeable is your attitude.

Why do you think that because she was caught up in sin for several years, that this is unfair to you? You have the knowledge that you had the self-control to keep yourself sexually pure. You get to experience sex as God intended it in marriage with the woman you love. You don't have the baggage of guilt from past sins. And you know that you are helping someone turn their life around. You aren't in competition with the sinful man in her past. You are better than him. You didn't give into sin and you've won her heart -- he didn't. It seems to me that you've greatly benefited from your decision to love God more than fleshly desires.

You asked this woman to be your wife, even after you learned that she was not a virgin. There was a point in your relationship when this did not matter to you. I'm not certain why you lost ground, but you have mentioned nothing that indicates there is reason not to marry her. You need to stop doubting yourself.

Hello again,

Thank you for responding to my message and sorry for taking so long to write back; it's just that I was waiting to see how things will develop and progress.

My ideal is to "just forget it all ever happened." I try not to bringup in our conversations things of the past, but things just randomly keep coming up in a normal conversation.

It's easy to say that I just have to stop thinking about it, but I've been waiting all this time to "rejoice of the wife of your youth" -- to share with someone. It's not that easy when you know that nothing she will do or experience inthe marriage lifeis new to her (you know what I mean). Even the Bible says to toliterally "know" each other sexuallyand rejoiceof each other. Honestly, the best solution so far was to just not think about it and it worked pretty good but like I said, "reminders" randomly keep coming up in conversations. She says she is also hurt seeing me hurt because of it but that doesn't change the reality.

You say I'm not in competition with the sinful man from her past but you know very well she'll compare me to him.To be honest, what really gets me is that she won't have anything newto share with me. I wish we would see things the way Jesus does, but it's not that easy. Sorry if I sound mean or harsh, it's just that this is my dilemma.

Odd. In the Song of Solomon there is a scene where the couple is older. "Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field. Let us lodge in the villages. Let's go early up to the vineyards. Let's see whether the vine has budded, its blossom is open, and the pomegranates are in flower. There I will give you my love. The mandrakes give forth fragrance. At our doors are all kinds of precious fruits, new and old, which I have stored up for you, my beloved" (Song of Solomon 7:11-13). Even though they had been married quite a while, Solomon's wife teases him that she has some old favorites and some new things to try out in their lovemaking.

The point is that you are not like the other guy. You love her, he didn't, and that is going to make a big difference. You're assuming that any comparison will leave you worse off. I don't think that is a fair judgment. You will be starting off on better ground that he could never have because both of you will know that you've given your lives to each other completely, willingly, and joyfully.

On your wedding night you are going to get to know your bride in a whole new way and she you. That is the beauty of saving sex for the marriage night. Yes, she knows what sex in general is like, but her experience with you will be her first.

I didn't say to forget what you know. You can't even if you wanted to. I said you need to accept that this was her past. Yes, she won't approach sex as a novelty. Likely the other guy wasn't so good to her, so she might have some baggage to overcome. But I think a man who loves her completely can conquer all mountains.

Hello again brother Hamilton,

I told you that I wanted to see how things progress as time goes by, and things have improved. :)

I realized I wasn't praying right about it. I was praying for God to help me forget, which is not possible, so then after you mentioned it I immediately started praying for God to help me accept things the way they are. To be honest, my attitude and the situation seemed to have changed. I felt different, accepting, which is a lot easier. I'm not saying we still don't have obstacles to overcome but that's with every couple. :)

You're right, she will have baggage for the intimate part, which is what she is really nervous about because she is afraid it will not be a pleasant experience for her, or that it might bring back memories since she was abused and forced most of the time. So I'm praying that things will be OK.

Now you mentioned "a memorable wedding night" for her. Maybe I'm being naive but in what way could I make this memorable for her?

Once again, thank you for being there for me. It has helped me through the tough moments. :) May God bless you, your family and your congregation. :)

I would like you to go through The Greatest Love Song Written and pay especially close attention to chapter 9. You, as the husband have a great deal to do with how she will perceive and enjoy sex through the years. What you do on your wedding night will set the expectations for the years to come.

Few guys are actually taught about how to have sex with a woman and as a result they generally make a number of mistakes as they come to realize it isn't quite what they imagined it to be. To learn a bit more about the mechanics of intercourse, I would like you to read the section on Intimate Relations in Preparation for a Lifetime. As you go through this material, you are bound to have questions, so let me know what concerns or questions you have.

The main point is that you need to focus on her enjoyment and not your own. Your own will be there anyway, but hers is not guaranteed unless you focus on giving her pleasure.