To Have But Not to Hold? Waiting Until the Wedding Night

Once upon a time there was the idea that nice young ladies waited until their wedding nights to be intimate with their husbands. Never mind that plenty of those brides were already “in a family way” by the time they got to the altar, that was what everyone subscribed to publicly. Times have certainly changed, but in recent years there has been a backlash against society’s more casual attitude towards sex, and that has included a renewed interest in making the wedding night special by waiting for it – even among couples who have been living together for years. Read more about the trend of a maintaining a period of abstinence before the wedding night as well as the trend about couples saving everything for their first night as husband and wife.

A few years ago, I read about the “revirginization” trend in the Sunday New York Times. The general concept is that a few weeks or even a few months before their wedding, engaged couples stop having intimate relations so that their wedding night will be like the first time. It’s a bit like closing the barn door after the horse is out, but nonetheless the trend has caught on among some groups. It allows couples, even those who already share a home, to feel more traditional for their weddings.

Weddings, after all, are a time when even the most modern woman tends to feel more sentimental. This is why even as trends come and go in the fashion world, classics like lace and pearl bridal jewelry remain in style for brides year after year. Some brides will even wear the same wedding gown or pearl bridal jewelry as their mothers did, so perhaps it should not be so surprising that they are hoping to make their wedding nights as special as they imagine they were for brides a generation or two ago.

In addition to couples who decide to abstain from intimacy in the weeks leading up to their wedding, there are now couples who genuinely save themselves for marriage, in every possible way. Certainly this is nothing new, but it has been brought into the public eye by shows like “19 Kids and Counting”, which chronicles the lives of the very large and very religious Duggar family, proponents of the ultra-conservative Quiverfull movement. When their eldest son Josh was married last year, one of the central features of the wedding was that he and his bride-to-be Anna saved their first kiss for the end of their wedding ceremony. While not too many passionate young couples are likely to limit their affection to chaste hugs for their entire courtship, anytime an idea is featured on a television show, it gains some currency in the culture at large. The “Virgin Lips” movement, as it is sometimes called, has more adherents than one might think.

In the end, the decision to wait a little, wait a lot, or become a temporary born-again virgin for two weeks to make the honeymoon more thrilling are highly personal decisions which every couple must make for themselves. Brides and grooms-to-be should do their best to follow their hearts rather than trends, whether permissive or restrictive. When a couple can decide together on the best path for their intimate relationship, it will surely help them to start out their marriage on the right foot, whatever they decide.