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The History and Meaning of the Purity Ring

purity ring

“True Love Waits” and “The Silver Ring Thing” are just some of the most common names that the purity ring is known by. This little ring practice has become almost a cultural taboo, a great controversy, and you are lucky to see this type of ring anywhere outside the Christian church. However, many individuals have no idea of the purpose or significance this simple ring may hold for a truly dedicated individual. Read on to discover the purpose and history of this controversial phenomenon.

What Are They?

First, you may be asking “what is a purity ring?”. The purity ring definition is a ring that is worn on the third finger of the left hand by a single teen or adult who wants to show that they have made a commitment to remain sexually pure and abstinent until marriage. The practice is done in many ways and can vary from individual to individual on how the tradition and process are carried out. It is mainly meant to serve as a symbolic dedication to sexual abstinence. Once a marriage takes place, the purity ring is removed and replaced with a wedding band. Sometimes, the purity ring wearers choose to replace their purity ring with an engagement ring until the marriage happens.

Where Did the Tradition Start?

It is important to understand that in the practice of Christianity, the Bible dictates God desires purity and sexual abstinence outside of the marriage bed. For many Christians, they take this command very seriously and the purity ring is essentially part of that dedication they feel toward the God they serve. Christians are not required to wear a purity ring, but many of them choose or feel like they should in order to help themselves and to please God.

A purity rings meaning stems from the start of the tradition. The first actual “purity ring” was created back in the early 1990s when the Bush administration first began to promote abstinence for young people. Places such as Lifeway Christian Bookstore and The Silver Ring Thing started with the promotion of a ring designed with the words “true love waits.”.It is also suggested that those who created the ring and tradition got inspiration from the bands that nuns would wear to signify their commitment to God and the church. Although there is much controversy over where and why the actual creation of this tradition began, the meaning for it remains the same.

Whom Are They For?

Purity rings can be for anyone, even those who are non-religious. Even though the ring practice was initially created by those who were trying to be pure in the sight of God, the ring is mainly just a symbol of sexual abstinence until marriage. If you have chosen that path and wish to remain sexually abstinent until you are married, you can wear a purity ring regardless of your religious stance or not. It mainly appeals to:

  • Young Christians.
  • Single individuals, no matter what age.
  • It is important to realize that there are not only purity rings for girls. There are many available options of purity ring for guys as well and it mainly just depends on your preference as to whether or not you want a ring or not.
  • Most people who wear the rings are virgins who are choosing to make that vow early on. However, many individuals who have had sex at some point decide that they want to begin an abstinent lifestyle. If this is the case, they can also choose to wear a purity ring if they wish.
  • Anyone can choose to remain abstinent or even purchase a ring as part of that symbolism and dedication. The main point is to make sure that you are sincere in your dedication and commitment if you choose to wear a purity ring.
  • If you are just flippant about the decision then a ring will only confuse others and take up space on your finger.

What Is the Benefit?

Based on the purity ring meaning, the main benefit is to remain pure in the sight of God, and follow the Biblical teaching of sexual purity. This is a great way to let others know about that commitment and help hold you accountable. It is almost always worn on the same finger as a wedding band would be worn, as a constant reminder of the pledge that you have made and to help keep you from being tempted otherwise.

What Are the Options?

Many may be wondering, “what are purity rings options?” There are really an endless amount of options because a purity ring does not have to have a specific design. It is more about the symbolism of it than what is actually on it.

  • The most common design for a purity ring is inscribed with the statement “True Love Waits.” This was the original design and marketing on the idea of the purity ring and relates back to waiting for someone who was willing to wait for you. This can not only include sexual purity, but someone who has the same ideals as you do.
  • Many purity rings for women or girls purity rings are designed with a more dainty appearance. Many females opt for something like a “key to my heart” ring or even a simple pink stone or something of the like.
  • Men’s purity rings are oftentimes a bit more manly. A lot of guys who choose to wear a purity ring may go for the traditional “True Love Waits,” but many of them go for a darker metal or a wide band inscribed with a simple symbol such as a cross or a fish (both Christian symbols).
  • There are so many designs and options out there, mostly in the form of a simple band. It really depends on a personal preference as to what sort of ring you choose to get as your purity ring.
  • It is important to realize that when it comes to marriage traditions, it is common for girls to get engagement rings or wedding bands. If you choose a blank band or a diamond ring as your purity ring, just be prepared to have people think that you are engaged or married. Otherwise, you can choose whatever type of ring you desire.
  • Many options are available at the main Purity Ring Website.

Pop Culture References

The purity ring has been mentioned and worn by quite a few celebrities, though many of them no longer claim abstinence. Some of the most popular were Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and Jessica Simpson. The idea of the purity ring has been present in pop culture, presented in both a positive and negative light over the years. Many people feel as though the purity ring is another form of Christian brain washing; however, most individuals who wear a purity ring choose to do so.

The Difference Between a Purity Ring and a Promise Ring

Technically, purity rings are a branch of promise rings, but they are not the exact same thing. Promise rings are mostly used by a significant other (boyfriend/girlfriend) to make a commitment to their love of their dedication to them. This is generally a small-stoned ring that is worn where an engagement ring or wedding band would be worn and is presented by a significant other to their partner. Promise rings can also be used frequently to make a commitment to yourself (the essential link to a purity ring), but they are more commonly exchanged between loves who want to show their dedication to one another, especially if an engagement will not be taking place very soon.

Purity Ring Advocates

“The Silver Ring Thing” is one of the most common abstinence advocates. They travel around the nation speaking to young people and providing information and challenges to remain abstinent until marriage. Many of these places receive federal grants and funding due to the Bush administration, and even “The Silver Ring Thing” has received over one million dollars to promote their cause. It is important to realize that not every organization that promotes abstinence is funded by the government, but the government does value this principle and teaching.

These rings are wide spread and can be worn anywhere or virtually by anyone. The main purpose is to pledge to oneself (or to God) that you will remain sexually moral until marriage. Many individuals define “sexually moral” differently than others, so it is technically up to you as to how you choose to define it for yourself, or if you choose to define it at all. Either way, this practice can be demonstrated by anyone.

As you can see, there is quite a bit to know about purity rings. Although this simple practice has been made fun of by those who do not understand, it is heavily meaningful and special to those who choose to participate in the tradition. It is important for you to be educated about this practice and those it affects, and choose to accept rather than to judge these decisions. Learning about this simple piece of jewelry is the first step to accepting.

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