Courtship, Hand-Holding, Parody, and Me

I recently came upon an article titled “The Christian dating site for those saving hand-holding for marriage.” When I saw the title, I thought it was real, because saving hand-holding for marriage doesn’t actually seem foreign or that far out to me.

The article, which is actually parody, centered around this video:

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The Duggar girls are saving hand-holding for engagement.

The Duggar family has already spoken about its dating and courtship standards on the TV show. In a TLC interview about courtship, Jill Duggar and her sister Jessa Duggar, 21, explained that they would put off hand-holding with beaus until an engagement is announced and hold off on any kissing until marriage.

I’ve heard of couples going farther and not having any physical contact whatsoever until marriage. There are teachers out there who preach this. Even those who don’t go all the way with it place a huge amount of importance on hand-holding, and those who allow it do so as though it’s some kind of concession.

This is how I grew up. When Sean and I first entered a relationship when we were in college, Sean agreed to abide by whatever physical boundaries I would set. He knew I grew up in a culture that was very particular about this, and while he was not from this culture he agreed to respect my wishes. Tight after we started our relationship we went on a walk across campus—we had not yet had our conversation about boundaries. Sean reached out and took my hand, without asking. I don’t think he realized just how particular my background was on these things. It freaked me out, and while I didn’t stop him, I don’t think I would have agreed to hand-holding right off the bat if we’d had our conversation about boundaries before taking that walk.

So to me, a “Christian dating site for those saving hand-holding for marriage” sounds completely plausible. And that, perhaps, is the problem with parody.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.