Preparing To Be A Help Meet – Blog – Touching Before Marriage

Preparing To Be A Help Meet – Blog – Touching Before Marriage March 4, 2015

Helpmeetby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

Due to a crazy-busy schedule, I’ve fallen off my pace of blogging Preparing to be a Help Meet because typing in the quotes from the book is surprisingly time-consuming. In lieu, I offer my most choice selections from the blog with the same name.

What levels of hell have Mike and Debi wrought? Apparently they’ve moved beyond beating the shit out of children and started messing with an entire generation’s sexual life….

 Q: So I’m just wondering exactly how much touching a Christian couple can do before marriage. What is appropriate? Is it okay to hold hands? Kiss? Or should you not even touch at all? And if possible, could you give me Bible verses that talk about this subject? Thank you!

Back when I was a teenager in the 1990’s, we had discussions about premarital sexuality between peers. Bluntly, our discussions focused on how far beyond passionate kissing you could go before hitting forbidden sexual territory before marriage.

I’m feeling wistful that I had the freedom to assume passionate kissing was definitely allowed before marriage because I’m finding a group of girls/women who are arguing about holding hands as sexual activity.

I know people who have touched while engaged and before. But for me I know I’m very vulnerable (and I would be a mess with all those doubled emotions that come with touching) so I’ve only allowed myself holding hands, but while engaged. I think its different for certain people but I never did really like how kissing is ‘okay’ while engaged. And yet I don’t have verses to prove this. But I know it will be special and that God made a man and woman to be intimate once married.
I mean think about it do you think Rebecca and Issac were aloud to hold hands or kiss before the wedding night? God knows your heart too, pray about it and discuss it with him.

The message is a little muddled, but boils down to “I have too many feelings if a guy touches me, so only hand-holding before marriage.”

Do I think Rebecca and Issac were allowed to hold hands or kiss before the wedding night? I doubt they knew each other for more than about 2 days between the moment the marriage was arranged and when they were legally married. That relationship was more like the marriages of royalty during the Middle Ages when a bride and groom would be married by proxy before she left her home country to so no one could kidnap and rape the bride as a way to prevent the marriage. (Charming, isn’t it?)

A: I have come to the conclusion of being completely “hands off” until at least I am engaged. No holding hands, kissing, snuggling, etc. I would be okay with touching if it is completely of a non-romantic practical bent. For example if he was helping me up a steep incline while hiking or during family prayer. I allow a few select men to give me side hugs but they are all men I have come to trust and are more like uncles or grandfathers to me. Until recently I held that I would keep this standard until the marriage ceremony, but I have began to wonder about holding hands after I am engaged. I guess that is when I would most be prone to stumbling, so I should hold my ground even then.

Something that I read was that we should see how many “firsts” we can save for our husbands. Our first kiss, our first candlelight dinner, our first “I love you”, etc. I thought it was a really fun idea.

Twice I have regretted the level of contact that I have allowed. One was when I was 14 and in a square dance with a group of young people. One of the fellows began to hold me really close and it really bothered me. I wish I had never gotten into the dance (I was pressured into it) and now hold to only dancing with my brothers or other girls. The other time was when I was 19 and a guy friend whom I new was interested in me caught me off guard with a side hug. Now, I wish I had slipped out of his grasp instead of allowing the hug. I think part of the reason I regret these things is because I later found out in both cases the guys were not of the noblest of character in how they treated women.

For me, touch is something I am very sensitive too and I know it would be very easy for me to stumble, or have incorrect thoughts, if I allowed physical touch into a relationship. Even if it is hard, and sometimes awkward now, I am sure I and my husband will be glad I have made these choice.


First, separating all physical touch out between “romantic” and “non-romantic practical bent” is going to lead to lots of hiking trips up steep inclines and hours of daydreaming about how wonderful family prayer time is. Just saying.
Second, I don’t think the “save everything” for your husband was supposed to devolve into a numbered list. Did “first time I petted a shark*” or “first time I crashed an entomology department open house” make it on your list? And yet, those are two of Nico and I’s favorite memories.

(*Actually, it was Nico’s first time petting a shark. I had petted sharks before. Nico promises my previous shark petting experience in no way decreased his pleasure in shark petting. Bet that’s a load off of everyone’s mind.)

Third, I wish the last paragraph was a satire of a The Big Bang Theory episode….but I don’t think it is. I’ve done a lot of square dancing. I’m struggling to see how a guy could hold a girl in an overly sexual way while square dancing. In teaching, we joke about the non-sexuality of a “side hug”. In fact, we often share stories of our best techniques to smoothly move a student who tries to get a full-frontal hug into a side hug before any accidental touching happens.

Editor’s note: They say great minds think alike. Yesterday NLQ Founder Vyckie Garrison and I talked about doing a new series here at NLQ involving the questions from the message board at the Preparing To Be A Help Meet site and ask our readers to answer those questions in a healthy way that would never occur to Debi Pearl and her followers. The new series will be called ‘Answering Preparing To Be A Help Meet’. Mel is certainly someone with a ‘great mind’ even if I cannot make that same claim, but we’re both on the same track with the questions from PTBAHM. Mel’s new article is right along that same line. How would you answer the questions above?


Preparing To Be A Help Meet Review

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | 

Part 7 |  Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19Part 20

Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 |Part 26 | Part 27

Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31 | Part 32 | Part 33 |Part 34

Part 35 | Part 36 | Part 37 | Part 38 | Part 39 | Part 40 | Part 41

Part 42 | Part 43 | Part 44 | Part 45 | Part 46 | Part 47 |Part 48

Part 49 | Part 50 | Part 51 | Part 52 | Part 53 | Part 54 |Part 55

Part 56 | Part 57 | Part 58 | Part 59 | Part 60 | Part 61 | Part 62

Part 63

Read everything by Mel!

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She’s a wise fount of knowledge about things involving living with a farmer and farming. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide


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  • Nea

    I keep thinking of how Debi melted because Michael touched her hand. Because he made Such A Big Freaking Deal out of ever touching women, both of them over invested that slight touch to the point that she proposed that very evening.

  • Rachel

    I guess I’m just a Dirty Whore then, because I freely (and happily) share full-frontal hugs with all genders. I study Spanish and so I work with a lot of individuals from all over the world, each with a different cultural code on what level of touch is expected. The Brazilians and Colombians that I work with love hugs. The Spanish and French kiss on both cheeks, whereas the Chileans kiss just one. Sometimes accidents happen because I’m not used to kissing as a greeting–just recently I thought a woman was going in for a hug so I leaned in, but it turns out she was going for a kiss on the cheek, so she got my neck instead. Oops! Also, I frequently walk arm-in-arm with my best (male) friend. I tend to feel that I’ve got a lot of love to give, so why be stingy? 😉

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I’ve become more anti-hug when it comes to strangers over the years.
    When I was a teenager and in my early 20’s I hugged nearly everyone –
    the only time it bothered me was when the person felt it necessary to
    lift me up off the ground while hugging. I may be 5’1″ but that doesn’t
    make it ok to hug me in such a way that I’m at least a foot off the
    ground! That’s probably the best way to ensure I want to kick you in the shin – and depending on the circumstances actually do so – when I’ve got my feet on the ground again.

    Man, when I think back to the stuff I did with the random boy(s) I met every summer the week I went to church camp, and compare it to these ladies getting all prudish over hand holding when not engaged, or side hugs they wish they had avoiding because it’s taking from the firsts they can give their future husbands…I haven’t been struck down by God despite my immoral slutty actions. How on earth can they marry someone or even know they love the person without hand holding, making out, and so on..?!

  • Julia

    Because God will tell you if it’s the right person. But only if you’re actually keeping your heart pure enough to listen and only if you and daddy are praying enough.

  • Aimee Shulman

    No no, daddy will tell you if it’s the right person and you just have to assume that God agrees because obviously there should be no difference in your obedience to your dad versus to God

  • Gypsy Rose B

    There’s certainly nothing wrong with setting boundaries about who you share your space with. If you feel someone is dancing too close to you or hugging you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you should be able to. Of course, to a CP girl that would be telling a man he’s doing something wrong and that’s unacceptable. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to be more emotionally connected or committed to someone before becoming intimate with them. It’s because this kind of agency isn’t allowed that they feel such extreme bans on contact are necessary. It’s really a shame.

  • Brennan

    I feel so bad for the girl who wrote the second “answer.” It’s like a case study in how women internalize blame when someone else transgresses their boundaries. Both of the examples she gives of “allowing” too much contact boil down to “A guy I didn’t know that well got a little handsy. I didn’t feel like I could push him away at the time, so it’s clearly my fault.” She’ll never see how the emphasis on female passivity made her feel helpless, or how the emphasis on female “purity” made her feel guilty. She’ll just go on blaming herself. And, most likely, she’ll blame any other victim of sexual harassment or violence for “allowing” it to happen.

  • KarenH

    Oh the sexual cesspool that is square dancing…..

  • SAO

    There’s so much wrong with this. Take sharing the first “I love you” with your husband. I strongly believe one shouldn’t marry someone one doesn’t love. And she isn’t going to magically start loving him the minute she says, “I do.” So, she is either
    1) not sharing her feelings with him, deliberately not telling him something that he’d probably like to her, or
    2) she’s planning on telling a lie after she marries, or
    3) she may never love him and never tell him so.

    None of these options sound like “fun ideas” to me. They sound like deception disguised as virtue.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I don’t expect God to bathe my most perfect mate in sunlight and sparkles to point him out to me – admittedly I haven’t kept any part of me pure, but my God doesn’t care about that. Praying for the wisdom to recognize the best option doesn’t need anyone but me to be involved.

    But really, I hope their dad is great at seeing past the facade of even the most skilled sociopath, as it would suck if they handed over a daughter to one of those..

  • Nea

    deception disguised as virtue.

    IMO, that neatly sums up the entire cults of patriarchy and purity.

  • Anonyme

    I think its sad that these women have been programmed to think that even affectionate touching compromises their standards and values, and that allowing something as simple as holding hands or hugging could be the gateway to pre-marital sex. They have obviously been conditioned to think that women have no control and don’t know how to draw limits after even the most innocent physical contact. I hug my “guy friends” and nothing comes of it. Touching is not always about sex by far. You can see it throughout many animal species, including other primates, whether it’s for greeting, increasing bond among family members, etc.

  • gimpi1

    Wow… I… I’m speechless, and that does not happen often.

    The whole idea that people spend time obsessing about HOLDING HANDS WHILE ENGAGED is so strange that I can’t wrap my head around it. I dated and made out in high school. I had a few serious romances in college and after. My husband was my best-buddy for years before we became romantically involved. I assure you, this sort of idiotic artificial barrier would have prevented our relationship from ever developing.

    At some point, this whole “purity” thing has devolved into madness. That’s all I can call this sort of obsessive fussing over normal, human interaction. This is obsessive-compulsive disorder being applied to relationships, not religious scruples.

  • gimpi1

    ” I may be 5’1″ but that doesn’t make it ok to hug me in such a way that I’m at least a foot off the

    Ahh, that takes me back. I’m under 5’2″, and I dated a fellow that was 6’8″ when I was in my 20’s. Sometimes, he’d pick me up in that sort of hug just to get the crick out of his neck. Slow-dancing could be almost obscene.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I went on 2 dates with a guy who was 6’7″ and that was entirely enough for me to be sick of the commentary from others when we walked by!

    I do imagine that it would have been a good thing for my knees to combine the height difference with the optimal use of stairs. 😉

  • Nea

    Yeah, me and my tall guy always kissed on the stairs. I also knew that I was infatuated when looking up at him = looking straight up his nose and I could still sincerely say “You look wonderful.”

  • gimpi1

    We broke up for other reasons, but “height-incompatibility” was always something we were aware of. I have a photo of us talking together, me craning my head back, him bent over almost double… there’s no way it wasn’t uncomfortable.

    It was my first lesson in how something that looks good from the outside can be a pain. I’ve always hated being short – not being able to reach things, finding stairs just a bit hard to climb, scrambling to keep up with my longer-legged friends – but being unusually tall can be a pain, too. Bumping your head, not fitting comfortably in many cars, muscle-aches from sitting in low chairs with your knees almost around your ears – that’s a pain, too

    The long and the short of it (Ha) is that no one has it easy, and we can all use a hand in life. Hanging out with him helped me understand that.

  • Nicole

    I saved my first homemade porn video for my spouse.

    Oh, was that not what they were referring to?