Just after I got engaged, I signed up to a wedding planning website. The chat forum fascinates me, because there's every type of bride-to-be on there - divorcees, people who've been living with their partners for years, and people like me who haven't been married before and won't live with their husbands-to-be until after they marry. So you get quite a range of opinion on most topics.
The other day, someone posted a question: "Are you saving yourself for marriage?"
The responses were as uniform as I've ever seen them: "You must be joking", "No way", "Nobody does that any more", "We already have two children, so not really", etc.
Now, this is something I've had a problem with over the years. I don't like being treated as though I'm a freak, and I have been quite viciously verbally attacked on several occasions by people who considered it unnatural that I didn't leap into bed with every boy I liked. So I carried on doing what I thought was right, but throughout my late teens and twenties, I kept quiet and let people assume what they wanted to assume. I didn't want to have to justify my 'freakish' behaviour.
In my thirties, I got a bit bolshier - I'm proud that I didn't give in to the pressure in my youth, and I think it's good for people to see someone actually practising what the Church teaches and standing up for their beliefs.
So when I saw this thread, with all the people saying what a ridiculous idea it was that anybody should save themselves for their wedding night, I was taken right back to the times when I used to keep my mouth shut for fear of being laughed at or worse. And I decided I wouldn't put up with that. So I posted a response to the thread. I said, "Our wedding night will be the first time for both my husband to be and me. Having waited 38 years, I can easily wait another 9 months."
I then sat back and waited for the onslaught. The first response met my expectations: "You are joking, aren't you?"
Then people realised I was serious. And the next six responses were all along the lines of, "Good for you", "You need a medal", "Hats off to you" and "Good luck to you" (interspersed with "Of course, I could never do it myself", etc).
So I suppose I just want to say.... guess what?! The playground bullies do grow up - and they end up respecting you for the decisions you made that they thought were crazy at the time. I know most people who read this blog are beyond the age of getting pressure on this particular issue from their peers, but I just wanted to encourage anyone who's struggling with this sort of pressure at the moment. And to let you know that you're not the only one, as I often felt I was.