The Birds and the Bees — Christian style
Do you hear it? It’s the do-not-date mantra that resonates within the Christian community.
“The Birds and The Bees” is never a comfortable discussion between a parent and child. But it’s okay – the Christian literary giants have taken care of it. Just browse through any Christian bookstore and the myriad of sexual purity novels will overwhelm you. Then imagine for a moment the pressure they put on those curious teenagers with their lusty ways and good intentions. Imagine that sort of overwhelm.
It’s big. I know. I was one of those Christian youths who took the do-not-date challenge. I personally read seven books on purity, and barely scratched the surface.
The philosophy behind “kissing dating goodbye” – as Joshua Harris puts it in his novel, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” – is that we need to save ourselves completely for our future spouse. We cannot compromise a fraction of our emotional or physical purity, because it would be stealing from our future marriage. Distancing yourself from the opposite sex is the only way to accomplish abstinence. And while that’s probably true, the results are not what you might think.
If you tell a child to go sit in a corner and not think about a pink and purple polka-dotted elephant, I’ll give you one guess as to what he’ll be thinking about: a pink and purple polka-dotted elephant. Telling a post-pubescent stripling to not think about the opposite sex is equally as effective.
After filling my brain with astronomical amounts of the sexual antidote (purity books, of course), the result was an obsession with my future husband. I stopped thinking to myself, “Wow, he’s cute,” and started thinking, “Maybe he’s the one.” I even had a journal that I kept for his eyes only, to be given to him after our wedding day.
I was 15 when I met “the one”. We liked each other at 16, managed to hold off on dating for a year, and finally began to date at 17. We shared the do-not-date mentality, and so the step to date basically meant we were intending to get married.
A month after graduating high school, we were husband and wife. It wasn’t long until we realized the romance of love is not finding “the one.” It’s knowing that you could be with any number of people and make it work, but you specifically chose that one person. It’s not destiny, it’s decision. That is real romance.
It was a painful revelation to us both. It’s like an auctioneer accepting the first sincere bidder as opposed to holding out for the highest bidder. We were in love. We were each other’s first. We were convinced that the first should be the last.
While in some ways we have less baggage because of this, we also have more. After spending the first year of marriage resenting our hasty decision for commitment, we learned to lament the experiences we forfeited together – because quite frankly – no one else understands that sort of loss like we do.
June 24 will be our four-year anniversary, and we now how two beautiful daughters. I’m excited to help them do their make-up for their first date, and to hear about their first kiss. I’m excited to instill self-respect in my girls. Yes, I’m even excited to have that really awkward “Birds and Bees” talk. And really, isn’t that the best that any parent can do?