Pop singer Ciara has shared why she and her husband-Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson-were so vocal about remaining abstinent until they were married and encouraged girls to never feel they need to "give away" their bodies to men.
"We women think with our hearts and with our minds. When we see a guy, we envision what he's like and whether this could be something special," she said in a recent interview with Cosmopolitan South Africa. "Guys see us from an exterior point of view - that's something I learned along the way as a woman ... You shouldn't feel like you have to give your body away to get someone to like you."
Ciara, who has a child with former boyfriend Future, and Wilson, who was previously married, surprised fans when they announced they planned on waiting until they got married to have sex. While the couple's commitment to purity was mocked by many in the secular media, Ciara said she's glad her husband publicly opened up about the decision.
"I have to give credit to my husband for sharing those views," she said. "It's awesome how it all worked out."
The singer told Cosmopolitan that, as Christians, she and Wilson sought to have a deep and lasting friendship before they got married.
She advised: "I really believe that when you focus on a friendship, you have the opportunity to build a strong foundation for a relationship - and once you know you're really great friends and you're what we call 'equally yoked,' where you share the same values or the same outlook on life, it kind of sets the tone. Knowing that you'll always have the friendship and that you can always go back to it is very important, and very powerful."
The couple, who married in July, are now expecting their first child together. Ciara said she hopes her story of redemption inspires other women who may be going through something similar.
"I think that people can learn from your experiences when they happen in front of the world," she said. "You never know what someone else is going through, and you never know how sharing your situation might help them with theirs."
In an interview with Essence magazine last May, the "I Bet" singer recalled praying she would end up with a God-fearing man.
"I decided to trust that God had a plan for me, and move forward one day at a time," Ciara told Essence Magazine as the May 2016 covergirl. "I remember telling my friend the kind of guy I wanted: a God-fearing man with a very fun spirit who loves kids and would really, truly care for me. I was very specific because I do believe you can have it all."
She later told Page Six: "I feel very confident in the love that we have for each other, and only God knows where it's going to go. God knows everything that's to come in the future, and I think it's best to let him keep taking control of things. Life is sweet, and I'm very thankful for all the great things happening in my life. I'm very happy."