By Erin Thiele
One beautiful bright sunny morning, an adorable baby girl was born. Her parents were overjoyed. The very day she was born, her parents wrapped up a special gift for her “for he who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” It would be a gift not really for her, but for her husband whom she would meet and marry many years later.
When she was just a little girl her mother and father told her that this special gift needed to be protected, to be kept safe for her wedding day. So they were very careful whom she associated with during her years as a youth. “Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.”
Time passed very quickly as the little girl grew to become a beautiful young woman. One spring day this young girl was introduced to the man of her dreams. “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”
Both she and her parents believed him to be a good Christian and they had no indication that he would be anything less than what he appeared to be. The young couple, so in love, promptly asked her father for her hand in marriage, he agreed, and the plans for the wedding began.
The beautiful young woman beamed with excitement as she thought of the priceless gift that would soon be given to her handsome groom. For years she had carefully hidden her special and costly gift away. No matter how others had tried, no one had ever seen her gift, so carefully was it hidden from everyone.
The special day finally arrived. The wedding was beautiful. Excitement was in the air. The flowers, the cake, and the beautiful wedding attire—everything was perfect.
Soon the big event was over, but for this young woman, anticipation was still increasing. The moment she had been waiting for, dreaming about, was about to take place. The young married couple registered at the front desk of an expensive hotel and they were escorted to their room.
The bride smiled at her handsome young husband as he sat on the end of their wedding bed. All her thoughts were on the gift that she would soon present to her very special lover, her husband.
Yet strangely, her new husband’s expression was odd, he seemed distracted, concerned. But nothing could spoil this moment for them, or so she thought. With excitement ready to burst forth, she told her nervous husband to sit and wait there while she went to get her gift.
Very soon she walked toward him holding the most beautiful and magnificently wrapped gift. The paper was more beautiful than the day it had been wrapped. It was gold and white with sparkles of bright, glittery silver that shone like stars.
Gingerly, carefully, with trembling hands, he began to open the gift. But instead of joy, his face showed a heavy heart. As he folded back the delicate tissue paper, he saw the most gorgeous tuxedo he had ever seen. It was perfectly fitted for his broad muscular frame: the fabric, the cut, the velvet lapels, every detail was more exquisite than anything he had ever seen. As he looked into the face of his dear young wife, he saw tears of joy running down her beautiful cheeks. For she had been faithful to her beloved husband before her wedding day, and now, her heart overflowed with ecstasy.
As was the custom, it was now his turn to present his gift to her. So excited was this young bride about giving her gift that she had almost forgotten that she, too, would receive a wedding gift. Yet, her young husband seemed to be uneasy, his eyes fixed, staring at nothing, yet purposely his eyes never meeting hers. Undaunted, she took his strong hands in hers, and with only her eyes and a smile, she encouraged him to bring his wedding gift for her.
Slowly and deliberately, he proceeded to the closet and emerged with a box. When she first saw it, she was so stunned that the smile stayed fixed on her face. Then reality struck, and her innocent face took on a painful despondent appearance. Without his eyes meeting hers, he placed his gift on the bed next to her: he was so ashamed, he could not place it in her hands.
Together they sat in silence until she had the faith to accept the fate that lay before her. She picked up the gift, managing a small and painful smile. The wrapping paper was torn and stained, barely covering the box. The ribbon, too, was frayed, tattered, and ragged. It required very little effort to unwrap the gift; the paper simply fell onto the floor, exposing a very battered and worn box.
As she opened the box there was no longer tissue paper covering the contents. For there, lying alone at the bottom of the box was a very yellowed, ripped wedding gown. She could tell that at one time it had been a flawless pure white, but now it was yellowed, stained, torn. The buttons made of costly pearls were now missing or were hanging by only a thread.
Tears clouded her vision. Shaking, she picked up the worn-out garment, and, without a word to her husband, she made her way to the next room to change into her tattered and worn-out bridal gown, leaving him alone with her priceless, perfect tuxedo.
Within only a very few painful minutes, she and her new husband were walking down the hotel corridor, arm-in-arm, on their way to their special wedding dance. As they stood in the elevator, her eyes fixed to the floor, she could hear the people snickering behind her back.
As they walked into the ballroom, the guests stood in silence—there before them— stood the newlyweds. As the music began, horror appeared on her parents’ faces. As she took her husband’s hand and turned, they could see her entire garment. As she moved, her bridal gown began to come apart, and a button fell to the dance floor to everyone’s horror or amusement.
Many of the young women were laughing, pointing, and whispering to one another, telling each other about when they had worn this exact bridal gown. They gathered in the corner to share their stories, glancing often to catch the eye of the bride who was bright red, feeling ashamed. The young groom, too, wore a face of shame and humiliation. His tuxedo was magnificent, yet because of his impurity, he could not enjoy wearing it. He knew he had no right to wear such an expensive tux, while his wonderful and faithful young wife wore rags. He could feel the eyes of his parents as they burned on the back of his neck. He could sense the utter disgust and shock that they must be feeling as they looked at the man who had deceived them all.
Oh, how he wished he could go back. Go back to the time when he first had entertained thoughts of giving his gift to his first “real” girlfriend. As soon as it was opened the first time, the once priceless gift was much easier to give away a second and third time. Now, years later, he honestly could not even remember how many had opened that gift and worn his wife’s wedding gown that he now wished he had saved for her—the one who deserved his faithfulness.
His face burned red in shame; his guilt pierced his heart and caused him to feel sick in the pit of his stomach. There was no doubt that his young bride had always been the one for him, but he had not waited. He had lived “for today” … and now tomorrow had finally come.
Soon his shame turned to horror as he thought of all he had lost: the love and respect he once had from his young bride who had adored him, his in-laws, even his own parents who were now sharing the shame of their son who had not waited until his wedding night.
There will be no turning back… and so, for the next few months, and then years, life moved along terribly.
Without warning, his sin of unfaithfulness, which had begun years before he had met his beloved wife, incredibly began to resurface—a stronghold. Discontented at home, with his wife, basically unhappy with life, he returned to his old ways. Once again he was giving away what truly belonged to his wife. He no longer knew right from wrong, he was caught “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.” And worse, he lost all the wealth he’d worked so hard for! If only he’d kept himself “from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the seductive woman. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, do not let her catch you with her eyelids. Do not be enticed by her flatteries or lust over her beauty. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? The one who sleeps with someone other than your own wife is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, and his reproach will not be blotted out. He will suffer injury and be disgraced; dishonor will leave a permanent mark on his life.”
One dark day, his sin of unfaithfulness was discovered. When he came home from work, his young bride had taken their two young children and was gone. Where? He didn’t know. She had left him “without a word.”
With a broken heart and a life destroyed, he sat weeping uncontrollably on the end of their bed. Hours later, he still sat stunned, wondering how this nightmare had begun. The pain was unbearable. What could he do to get them back?
As you can see, my friend, dating or fooling around is not the way to find a good wife and a happy future. It is actually at the source of guys giving away what they should save for the woman they are going to marry. Don’t you agree? But if dating isn’t the answer, then should you try “courtship”? After being asked about my opinion on courtship, I have to honestly say that I do not encourage courtship since there is nowhere in the Bible that suggests this method. This is the solution that Christian parents created to counteract dating, but it also has many drawbacks and pitfalls. Though the couple guards their physical intimacy, courtship does not protect a couple's emotional intimacy, which is also very important in marriage. If you want to follow the Bible to the letter, then parents would have to be the ones to select husbands for their daughters.
Well then, how do you find the right woman if you choose not to date? I encourage young men who want a godly woman to trust God, their Heavenly Father to choose for them. Then I guarantee the right woman for you who you will find at the appointed time!
Anthony trusted God and saved himself and this can happen for you too. He says… "I remember vividly being about five or six years old and I just knew that there was only one woman that I would ever love. Only one woman I wanted to love. You go through years of doubt wondering if you’re doing things wrong. Many times I thought maybe there’s another way of going about finding a wife but deep down in my heart, deep in my soul, I just knew I simply hadn't met her yet. All those years of longing that ended when I met Kate and the longing went away. I knew that I had found the one I loved my whole life. I have loved Kate for probably about 27 years. Now I know it was Kate that I loved that whole time.
It’s been a long time coming but it’s amazing to see the Lord prove those convictions were right and prove those longings were right that it really was only one woman that I was meant to love. It’s so amazing and I’m humbled it was Kate who exceeded what I could ever want in somebody. So I’m just so thankful to the Lord."
*They met in April and four months later they were married!
Anthony's mother confirmed his conviction as well, "Anthony has told us over and over down through the years that he was saving himself. We have always been very thankful."
This allegory and its warning may have come too late because of unforeseen circumstances that have left you defiled and violated. Maybe it happened when you were very young, someone you trusted robbed you of your innocence and it left you confused, frightened, and unworthy of the love you deserve.
You may feel there’s no hope, and due to this, why hope things could be different?
Maybe it happened later, maybe a girlfriend you trusted, or maybe it was someone you didn’t know well (or didn’t know at all) who robbed you of what you wanted to save for your wedding day.
Maybe you gave in due to lies you believed about what it was to be a “real man.” No matter how you got to this hopeless state, there IS hope.
His Word can wash you, cleanse you, and His love can heal every wound—making you feel whole and clean and worthy of the love of a princess once again.
It begins with being loved by the Prince of Peace.