“Ask a Priest: What If I Feel I Deserve a Virgin Man?”

Q: I’m dating almost a year, both of us are Christians, but since my boyfriend has not always been one, his sexual behavior was never right. He is not virgin like me, and that makes me sad. It hurts me that I would not be the first woman he is intimate with if we get married. I just get jealous and feel hurt and get angry at him and blame him for his past life. I know that my behavior is not very Christian, but I feel like we’re not on the same level. He’s a good man and good Christian, though he still struggles with purity. Sometimes I think that I deserve a virgin man who really fights for purity. Let me know what you think about all of it, and thank you in advance. – K.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to hear that you seem to have high standards for yourself in the area of purity. Chastity is a great preparation for marriage.

It is good to remember that Christian chastity, like faith, is a grace, a gift of God. Part of the preparation for that gift is the gift of baptism.

Now, your friend apparently didn’t have the grace of baptism when he was growing up. Perhaps he received it relatively recently. This might be one reason why he has had a tougher time living chastely. He might not even have been aware of the sinful nature of non-marital relations.

All this leads to some key points.

First, what is the Christian thing to do? Certainly we are called to be forgiving, just as Christ is forgiving with us. Presumably we should be even more forgiving to those who either don’t the grace of baptism or who haven’t had it as long as we have had it.

Second, the Gospel teaches us to be forgiving, but it doesn’t demand that we marry a particular person. So, strictly speaking, you are under no obligation to stay with this man. You would need to make a prudent decision as to whether his past and present problems with purity would make him unacceptable for marriage.

This leads to a third point. No one is perfect. Everyone has made mistakes of one kind or another. But people can change. And with the grace of God, people can change a lot. Here you might ask yourself whether your friend might be a potential saint (or at least a potentially fine husband).

You might see if there are signs of improvement in him, and whether he seems to have a genuine desire to change and grow in his faith. He is a work in progress, in other words. Perhaps you could help to further that progress. At the same time, you have to realistic. If some of his flaws are, in your mind and experience, intolerable in a future husband, you don’t want to presume that they will all go away with time.

So here the question is whether you could or should stay with him and try to help him along. This is part of the dynamics of a healthy marriage — you and your spouse will ideally be helping each other grow in holiness.

Keep in mind, too, that it might not be easy in today’s world to find someone who has kept his virginity intact or been untainted by nasty stuff on the Internet.

For related reading you might find an earlier posting helpful, at https://rcspirituality.org/ask-a-priest-am-i-wrong-if-i-find-it-tough-to-date-someone-who-isnt-a-virgin/.

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