by Rory Partin
A couple of years ago I spent some time in Africa. It was an incredible trip — one that gave Africa a very special place in my heart. This culturally rich world captured my imagination and brought my spirit alive, mainly the daring, crazy part of my spirit. I did all kinds of wacky stuff. I ate caterpillars and warthog. I went bungee jumping off of a suspension bridge hundreds of feet over a gorge. I felt new!
One day while driving down a narrow dirt road through the bush, I came upon a pride of six young lions. They just lay there — right in the middle of the road — totally blocking my way. Being the brave, daring, crazy person I had become since being in Africa, I quickly made everyone roll up their windows, lock all the doors and be silent. Yep, that was my brave manhood kickin’ in! Ha. Ha. Ha.
Eventually, the pride decided to get up and walk off, right down the middle of the road. I followed them closely, in my car, until the “kings of the jungle,” turned and disappeared into the dense bush surrounding the narrow dirt road. I was left with a sense of awe at the power and beauty of such animals. They could have easily broken the windows and made a quick snack of us all. What an awesome experience!
This is crazy . . . but hey, that’s the kind of guy I am . . . so use your imagination here, okay? What if I had gotten out of the van to get a good picture of the lions? What if I’d tried to pet one? What if I had hung fresh raw steaks around my neck? What if I’d approached the young lions wearing warthog sausages dripping with? Yeah, I know what you’re saying: “Uh, Rory . . . it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that you would’ve ended up on their breakfast menu!”
But why? All I wanted to do was get their attention so I could pet ’em and love on them a little. Again, I can almost hear you Brio Girls saying, “Duh, Rory! That’s just how lions are made! It’s their nature. You approach them wearing sausage juice and they’re gonna attack!”
Can I be honest? I mean . . . really, really honest? Like from a guy-to-a-girl honest? Don’t get mad, okay? I’m gonna give it to you straight. Here goes! Just as a lion would be tempted to attack someone wearing sausages, it’s the same to guys when girls wear things designed to arouse certain instincts and attentions in males. (Okay, go ahead and get mad. I know you want to! But you said I could be honest, remember?)
So often girls wear clothing that’s tight, low-necked or short-skirted and expect guys not to react the way God designed them. Listen, Brio Sisses, when you wear revealing clothes that show a little extra this or a little extra that, it brings one thing and one thing only to a guy’s mind. Sex. That’s how God wired us.
That’s not to say we don’t have a responsibility to live self-controlled, pure lives. But a lion is a lion, and a guy is a guy; I don’t care who he is. So, help us out. I was the most “godly” young man a parent could ask for. I was truly head-over-heels in love with my Lord and Savior. I prayed at least an hour every day, read and studied my Bible, and felt I was being used by God in my school and community. But I was still a lousy example of what God wanted me to be in my dating life. Give me an inch, and I’d see it as an invitation to go a mile.
I was 28 when I got married, and God helped me remain a virgin. The woman I married — Jeni Varnadeau — was also a virgin. And though 28 years was a long time for me to wait, I’ve gotta tell you that Jeni was certainly worth it! Wow!
I had determined long ago that I wanted to marry a virgin, someone who cared enough for me even before we met, to save herself for me the way I had for her. My dating relationship with Jeni was the purest relationship I’d ever experienced. What made it pure? Jeni set standards for herself in how she dressed and in how she acted toward me that helped me keep my thoughts pure and our relationship pure. I wanted it that way, but without her help I probably would have fallen right back into the same old rut. It’s possible to lead a pure life, but it’s not easy. And we guys need your help!
Before I met Jeni, I had some unspiritual relationships with other Christian girls. (Yes, Christian girls.) You’ve got to understand that your innocent hand on a guy’s thigh . . . or a nice innocent back rub from you . . . is not so innocent in a guy’s mind and imagination.
(Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, Not my boyfriend. He’s a Christian!) As I said before, I don’t care who the guy is. I was the guy you’re thinking of right now who would never have a thought like that, or, if he did, he would certainly never act on it. Right. Think again.
Two years ago, Jeni and I went on a Brio missions trip and during “Girls Only Night,” I snuck in the back door and couldn’t believe that some of you are unaware as to how sexually wired guys are! I care about you. I think you Brio Girls are like an awesome subculture among yourselves. You’re incredible! So I wanna give it to you straight.
Don’t give a guy the benefit of the doubt. Trust should never be automatically granted; it should be earned. Don’t put yourself alone with guys — that’s an unwise situation. You don’t need to just watch out for the backseat of a car; you need to watch out everywhere. Anywhere you’re alone with a guy is an opportunity for him to be tempted. That’s just the way it is. So what are you saying, Rory? Never spend any alone time with a guy? I’m saying be careful! Don’t assume just because your guy friend is a Christian that he’s beyond yielding to temptation.
One of my Christian friends got pregnant in her boyfriend’s hospital room while he was recovering from a terrible car accident that left him partially paralyzed. Sounds impossible, huh? I’m telling you — guys are wired like sexual time bombs. That’s simply how God created men. And, yes, it’s our responsibility to be wise and to stay out of stupid situations where we’re alone and will battle temptation, but we guys need your help!
You can actually help us keep our thoughts and actions pure by suggesting we do stuff in groups instead of being alone. When you dress modestly, we’re not thinking, Where’d she find that — Goodwill? Believe me, we’re thinking, Whew! Finally, a girl who’s smart enough not to flaunt it. Seriously. I promise that’s what we’re thinking!
The Bottom Line
Nobody said it was easy ‒ it certainly wasn’t for me ‒ but it was well worth it to date a young lady who was modest and helped me keep our dates pure.
Okay, I’ll wrap this up now. But I wanna tell you one more story. I played football in high school, and one year several of us took home economics for an easy A. The teacher was a Christian. One day after a very candid discussion with the class about sex, she asked how many guys in the class had already had sex. Many of the football players boldly raised their hands, bragging, despite the fact that many of their girlfriends were in the class with them. Then she asked how many in the class planned to marry a virgin. Every single one of those guys raised his hand.
So, what’s that mean? It means, Brio Sisses, that the guy you’re with may say he’s a Christian. He may tell you he loves you, and you’re the most important person in the world to him. But if he’s pressuring you for sex, pleeeeeze don’t think that will make your relationship stronger. Because deep in the bottom of his soul . . . he wants to marry a virgin!
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
This article appeared in Brio magazine. Copyright © 2001 Rory Partin. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Photo/Illustration by Ron Nickel.
Hey, we’d love to have some feedback from you! If you’ve got a comment about this article, send it to [email protected] Please include your name, age and mailing address.
We Brio editors, Susie and Marty, will eagerly try to read every single message (count on it!) and will assume you are giving us permission to reprint your comments, if we so choose, in Brio Online.
But, we can’t promise we’ll send a response to every email. We’d never finish the next issue of Brio if we did! So, anything you really need an answer to must be sent via snail mail. Write to Brio, Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO 80995. Thanks. We hope to hear from you!