Monday, December 8, 2008

"I’m sorry. I just hallucinated. What!?"

In which I rant
and tell stories about first times

Go on. Do it.

Do a Google search for "Duggars no kissing before marriage " and see what you find.

I'll wait.

. . .

See that? Yep. Apparently, it's a hot topic right now.

I got inexplicably stuck watching their show 17 Kids and Counting the other night. Again! All the while asking myself "how on earth does it happen that I start watching this show and can't stop"? Well, it might be because last Tuesday night's show was a bit of a train wreck. An awkward, squicky train wreck.

During said wreck, I learned that the Duggars have taught their children not to date, but to go through a period of a biblical courtship, which involves both chaperoned dates and not having any form of physical intimacy until marriage. As part of this courtship, they may hold hands but not kiss or really even hug until their wedding day.

As one who is religious, I respect much of what the Duggars teach their kids. I admire them and think of what the world would be like if every parent taught their kids even a third of the Duggar House Guidelines. And to be fair, I really respect Josh Duggar's desire to "not have anything compromise my love for Anna before we're married".

But no kissing until your wedding day? Isn't that day already loaded with enough pressure for one day already? Like, say, *cough* s-e-x?

I got all curious and thoughtful (look out!) and pulled out the For the Strength of the Youth on this one (we have about 10 copies) and took a(nother) look at what the youth in my church are being taught.

What I found is this:
Dating is preparation for marriage,
so, starting at age 16, date people with high standards
and date in group or double date settings.
In order to avoid temptation,
avoid spending too much time with just one person -
there will be plenty of time to choose just one later.
Do not do anything before marriage
to arouse the powerful emotions
that must be expressed only in marriage,
including passionate kissing and
inappropriate touching, talking and other activities.

OK. I totally get the warning about passionate kissing. It's practically a "gateway" act for the touching and "other activities". But a peck on the cheek? A frontal hug? Eskimo kisses?


Just clawing, cloying hand holding and sideways hugging to celebrate your engagement? (If you think I'm exaggerating, watch this episode sometime. I'm so not kidding.)

I remember my last first kiss. It was FANtastic! It happened at the end of my 3rd date with my husband under the 3rd tree from the end of the playground at Edison Elementary. We were 17. Our "group date" (us + 1) had fizzled, so there we stood, kissing under that tree on the playground.

It wasn't awkward at all so I can't necessarily use that argument against Josh D. ~ but if I could have, I would have issued him this warning: the two first kisses I had before my last one were incredibly awkward. So much so that "awkward" does not even begin to cover it. I thought each of those guys was attractive, started "dating" them, kissed them and BAM! it felt like I was kissing my brother and the fledgling attraction died.

And my wedding night? Even after 5+ years of dating and intimacy well beyond holding hands (which hand holding we did on our - wait for it - first date), it was still a little hard to navigate. A little awkward. I cannot imagine trying to go through all the stages of intimacy in one night, much less adapting to abruptly being left alone after being constantly chaperoned.

Thankfully, we knew each other very well and had learned how to communicate with each other so that we could talk about it honestly and openly without being too embarrassed. Even so, it still took months and years of misunderstandings, arguments, prayers, reading self-help books, and talking about it to iron out certain related issues. And these issues were certainly not from the "baggage" of having dated other people before marriage. (Again, not kidding! Watch. the. episode.)

That said, much like the Duggar parents, I have certain regrets about "going too far" when we were dating. (Although our "too far" is probably much worse than their "too far" given the whole kissing thing.) So, I understand teaching kids about exercising restraint and caution during their dating years. (Interestingly, M has no such regrets.) To me, not kissing before marriage smacks of extremism reminiscent of the Old Testament Jewish custom of not taking too many steps on the sabbath.

Even so, I'm sure Josh and Anna are managing just fine. They have faith. And Josh apparently talks these things through with his dad quite a bit. And this is one topic his dad knows plenty about. So, I'm sure they're fine.

But it still squicks me out!

[Title quote is from "Legally Blonde"]

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I had no idea. That's... hilarious? No, that's not the word I'm looking for. But I totally agree. Going from nothing to everything all in one night can not be easy. Just the conversations Caleb and I had prior to marriage about our concerns, fears, and expectations for that first night was especially helpful in avoiding major problems. If they can't even be left alone together, how on earth can they get to know each other? I mean, what are you going to talk about when your parents or chaperone are hovering over you? The weather? Adjusting to marriage is hard enough. I think a couple needs time to spend together and be even just a little bit intimate. For goodness sake, if they are old enough to get married, they ought to be old enough to be trusted to be alone for a few minutes without ripping each other's clothes off.

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