On Love

Wedding of Gareth Warren and Lindsay Marsh

Gareth Warren started a new chapter in his life -- spiritually and romantically -- with help from a book written by the woman who would become his future wife, Lindsay Marsh.
By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gareth Warren didn't know what to think in the summer of 2008 when the grandmother of his godson handed him a book titled "The Best Sex of My Life."

Then he read the subtitle: "A Guide to Purity."

"She just said, 'I want to give this to you,' " says Warren, who wasn't exactly focused on sexual purification at that point.

In his dating life, the 26-year-old assistant vice president at GE Capital had always gravitated toward models and cheerleaders. His relationships were usually fun, but ultimately unfulfilling.

"It'd feel great when you're out with people, but when you come to a certain point after you had sex, it's like the conversation ended because you don't have a friendship," he says. "There's no substance to it. It's surface."

Over the next few months he occasionally picked up the book, reading a chapter at a time. Author Lindsay Marsh describes her Shaker Heights, Ohio, upbringing in a home where virginity was valued but not explicitly discussed. During high school her sexual interactions with a boyfriend were quickly escalating when she found out he was sleeping with another girl. Dejected, she turned to her faith for solace. In the years that followed, Marsh's virginity became increasingly important to her, eventually inspiring her to write the book and launch an organization, Worth the Wait Revolution, which encourages others to reserve sex for marriage.

The book "guided me in the right direction," says Warren, who stopped listening to music with hyper-sexualized lyrics and cut ties with a woman whose values didn't match up with what he now believed.

In early February 2009, days after attending a church ceremony with his godson's family, the woman who gave him the book asked if he'd be interested in being set up with a young lady who'd been seated in the row behind them. Her name was Lindsay Marsh.

"I was like, 'Wow,' " he says. "Because I read the book, I feel like I know who she is, and I know all about her."

Marsh, an anesthesiologist who was then 32, knew very little about Warren, but she'd been attending the Spirit of Faith Christian Center since she was a freshman at George Washington University and she trusted the opinion of the woman playing cupid.

Marsh had noticed Warren sitting in front of her that Sunday and thought, Oooh, he's nice looking. It had been years since she dated anyone seriously; while she believed she was meant to have a husband, she was unwilling to waste time seeing men who didn't share her moral code.

"For me, any level of dating would've been dating with a purpose in mind," she says. "I knew I desired marriage. I knew I desired a family, and I knew I desired to do things the right way -- a proper way -- in that dating relationship. So if someone wasn't willing to accommodate those simple goals, then it just wasn't worth it."

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