Answering “Preparing To Be A Help Meet” – Touching Before Marriage?

Answering “Preparing To Be A Help Meet” – Touching Before Marriage? March 30, 2016

AnsweringAnother installment of giving better answers to the questions asked at Debi Pearl’s site message board for the book ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’. Many young ladies ask questions on all sorts of different subjects brought up by the book. There was just one big problem, many of the answers stray into either the outright bad and emotionally unhealthy to dangerous. Yes, typical Debi Pearl borderline abusive. Here’s what we’re going to be doing here at NLQ. Every week, once or twice a week, I’ll be posting up one of the questions from the message board and ask you, our readers, to answer that poor soul’s question in a way that is logical,  rational and the best possible solution, in other words 180 degree turn from Debi and friends answers. As always all spelling and grammar in the posting is unchanged from the original author.

On to today’s question:

Touching before marriage

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!

She received a lot of answers that mostly went like this one.

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.

But, all my ramblings aside, consider what could be a stumbling block to your purity. Also, I think you need to think about what your future husband would think of each interaction. Would he want you kissing someone other than him? Or holding hands? Or you snuggling up beside someone other than him?

One way I heard it put is- do you want him doing “_____” with someone other than you? Then don’t you do it with someone else.

The best Bible verse I can think of that applies to this is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, don’t be doing something that you want your husband to save for you.

and this one…

Well, I am not one of those people who say DON’T or anything. What I will say is that it is easy for things to get out of hand.

My last relationship with my fiancee’ was ruined and we had to break things off because of how quickly “just holding hands” can get thrown over the bridge.

We NEVER intended to go as far as we did, and it scared us how far we let it go. The only thing he could reason in himself was to break off the engagement before things got worse.

We are both left with pain, a sense of betrayal, and the loss of someone we loved dearly. Even now, what we did brings me guilt and shame.

I also miss him so much, and still love him so desperately.

I am not trying to say touching is bad. What I am trying to say is to be careful. I thought I knew my limits. We tried to bathe everything in prayer. But we are human, and we fall. And it is so easy to do so. I don’t want others to experience the pain and suffering I have felt, so this is my warning to you:

What do you think?

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  • Hannah

    What the actual everlasting fuck? Why is touching someone of the opposite sex seen as so bad? My thoughts on this are thus, we humans are social creatures, and something as simple as a hug can reduce stress, depression, release endorphins that make you feel good, and a bunch of other good stuff. I also think that learning what normal interaction with the other sex is can help when you’re older and trying to avoid actual sex, whether it’s for religious reasons or because the only boys you know are creepy and you don’t want to go anywhere near them, (gross generalisation there, but my reasoning as a teenager.) I am married, I hug men who are not my husband and have never once wanted to jump into bed with them, (I know, it’s shocking!) I even do it at church, where the young men and young woman also hug each other, because it’s NORMAL. It’s what you do when you’re friends with someone. My home teacher even kisses me on the cheek, because he’s lovely and it’s his thing.

    As for other stuff, I didn’t lose my virginity to my husband, but I don’t think it’s ever bothered him, I had one boyfriend before I met him, he had quite a few girlfriends before me but didn’t sleep with anyone until me, (which he didn’t tell me until we’d been together for about two years, I’d always assumed he had.) I regret sleeping with my ex, but only because he was an arsehole who just wanted a virgin to deflower and once he’d done that he didn’t want me anymore. It was a nasty learning curve but saved me from something even nastier a few years later. (Have I rambled on enough yet? Probably.)
    Anyway, I didn’t wait till I was married, and I don’t regret it.

    That second reply breaks my heart. Why put yourself through that much pain? So you went a little too far? So what? You didn’t need to break up. If you love each other that much, stay together, work out whatever sin you think you’ve committed (the Atonement is a wonderful thing, use it!) and then get married when you think you’re ready.

    Oh boy, reminds me of the Elders who used to ask me if I’d been keeping the Law of Chastity (I hadn’t, though I tried for about a fortnight) when I first started being Mormon, and demanding I get married or get my fiance to move out. They were the ones from Utah, the ones from anywhere else didn’t ask such impertinent questions, and I probably shouldn’t have been so honest and told them it was none of their business. They even tried to get our bishop to talk to me, he was lovely about it and was just happy I was coming to church.
    (If anyone has read the whole thing, congratulations, here’s a cookie!)

  • Nea

    Holy. Freaking. Crap.

    1) It’s one thing to have boundaries that include “I don’t like to be touched without warning” — it’s quite another to be so sexually repressed that a side hug is something that makes you “regret allowing.” Also, it sounds from that story that it was NOT something she allowed or consented to, and still she blames herself for being caught off guard. Look, hon, once upon a time I was grabbed from behind by a really drunk guy at a party who hugged me really tight and started swaying back and forth slurring “I wanna dance! Le’s daaaance!” I didn’t like it, I didn’t ask for it, I got free as soon as possible… but I don’t “regret allowing” it because I didn’t allow it, he’s the only one responsible for his behavior, and I’m not a chewed piece of gum because it happened.

    2) You do not owe one damn thing to someone you have not met and may not meet! Your allowing a peck or a squeeze is not deliberately cheating on Joe Shmoe from Idaho you’ll meet 15 years from now.

    3) The two of you loved each other and then broke it off because you got hot for each other too? That is the saddest story I have ever heard. (Funniest story I ever heard – the friend of mine who looked at a guy at a party and said “I wanna fuck him but not talk to him in the morning.” He must have been a good conversationalist, because that one-night stand turned into a marriage six months later.)

    4) Wanna know a secret? Boundaries are really easy to maintain when you’ve never been punished for having them. Really. I promise. I know guys who give fantastic grope and yet I didn’t bang any of ’em. One of them I was hot as hell for and he was hot for me… but we had incompatible views of the future and so we could both acknowledge it, even get seriously handsy, but keep it in our pants. (His new girlfriend is a lovely lady.)

  • FrequentFlyer

    I do not understand the one who said she and her fiance broke up because things went too far too fast. If they didn’t feel right about doing whatever they did before marriage, why not just move the wedding date up and live happily ever after? There had to be another reason, right?

  • AuntKaylea

    So. Fear of sex makes/has made sex into a god because everything here is focused on something other than a right relationship with Jesus and with one another. In other words, the Bible does not address these questions because it does not reduce relationships to mere rules.

    The standard is kindness and compassion. I.e. Is it compassionate to hug someone who has lost a loved one? Should we refuse compassion based on (insert category – age, race, gender). Against kindness, gentleness, grace there is no law. The problem is in seeing every touch as sexual because it is buying into a perverted world view. Jesus touched people. We have the freedom to do so in non-perverse ways too.

  • Maura Hart

    holy crap

  • ShinyZubat

    That one confused me too. I assume there must be more to that story, because otherwise it makes zero sense.

  • Astrin Ymris

    My theory is that keeping the faithful in a constant state of worry that they may have thought or felt something “wrong” makes it a lot easier to control them. If young women are angsting over an accidental frission of arousal, they’re not asking themselves for more dangerous questions like “Do I really want to spend the next 25 years of my life as a sexbot/broodmare/domestic slave?” or “If it’s impossible for any human being to understand God’s Will, how can Bill Gothard know how God wants everyone to live?”

  • SAO

    He broke it off, so obviously, she tempted him, making her a Jezebel type, who would be a bad wife. Frankly, she dodged a bullet.

  • SAO

    I find saving the first “I love you,” for your spouse to be problematic. If you don’t love him before marriage, you won’t magically start loving him after saying, “I do,” and you shouldn’t marry anyone you don’t love, so if you can’t honestly say, “I love you,” before the wedding, you should cancel the wedding.

    If you do love your BF or fiance, saying it will make them happy. Often people feel doubt as they think about marriage — this is the rest of my life, am I making the right choice? A simple, “I love you,” can do a lot to put doubt at ease, but you’re denying it for some stupid game. That means you’re placing a higher value of winning a points in a purity game or one-upping your friends than on your BF or fiance’s feelings.

    Frankly, I vote not only for kissing and touching before marriage, but for sleeping with the guy. But, I’m only going to make the argument for kissing and touching here. Marital intimacy takes time to develop. It’s tough to go from not even holding hands to being naked and sweaty. Further, women often don’t know what pleases them and trying to figure it out on your honeymoon is not a recipe for a great start to your marriage. Kiss, touch, get to know each other’s clothed bodies. Talk about what feels good. If you do that, your wedding night and honeymoon are much more likely to be a success. There’s nothing like good sex to cement a relationship, but good sex takes practice.

  • ShinyZubat

    Ahh, NOW it makes sense. :

  • Anonyme

    “Also, I think you need to think about what your future husband would
    think of each interaction. Would he want you kissing someone other than
    him? Or holding hands? Or you snuggling up beside someone other than

    If a man or woman you want to date/marry is uncomfortable that you’ve had past relationships, then (s)he’s obviously not the right person for you. Anyone who is threatened by relationships that no longer exist is insecure and possibly afraid of commitment.

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    This passion for purity really saddens me, because it seems so damn useless. I grant that if you’re really trying to save sex for marriage, I might not agree that it’s a good idea, but your call. However, this business of sexualizing EVERYTHING is ridiculous. I am a happily married woman who will happily hug an old friend who I seldom see, regardless of whether that friend happens to be a guy… and none of this damned side-hug silliness, either.

    But then I believe that I can love many, many people, and that love doesn’t have to involve sexual attraction. I also believe that it’s my responsibility to behave properly; even on occasions when I’m attracted to someone who isn’t my husband, I keep that attraction to myself (though I will freely confess that Neil deGrasse Tyson is hot 🙂 ). It seems to me that these Fundagelical Christians aren’t willing to demand that their young people practice acting like fully-functioning adults around members of the opposite sex. That’s a very sad thing.

  • zizania

    Oh, for pity’s sake. A bunch of us spent Wednesday afternoon helping an elderly friend of ours pack up and clean her apartment. There was a lot of hugging, male and female, when when went our separate ways afterward. I can pretty much guarantee that no one was tempted to snog in the elevator as they left. Well, maybe me, but I was with my husband.

  • hotapplepie

    I know some couples who were forced to break off an engagement because they held hands/kissed before marriage. Speaking from experience, something as simple as getting into a long-term relationship without permission of the parents and church can land you in the same boat. The fanaticism of these religious control-freaks has no bounds. Nothing is sacred. It sounds ridiculous, but when you are controlled and manipulated by elders who tell you they know God’s will for your life, you listen, even though the emotional repercussions might be catastrophic.

  • gimpi1

    This. My neighbor passed away last week, and I brought over a pot of chowder and some homemade bread to the family, and hugged everyone while offering condolences. Then, I went to the funeral this week, and again hugged the grieving widower, the sisters of the lady who had passed, her daughter and grandson, everyone. Because that’s a way to show connection, caring and support. And, as you say, there was no elicit making-out at the reception after the funeral. Not all touch is sexual, and even touch that can be sexual can also be just comforting.

  • Nightshade

    This attitude has a lot to do with my ‘touch me not’ attitude now. It makes it difficult if not impossible to separate sexual and non-sexual touching, and for me at least has led to not wanting to be touched by anyone except my partner and very close family members. Meeting new people is a challenge, because I don’t want them to hug me, or shake my hand, or even get too close in my personal space.