Home dating/courtship Preserving Their Purity

Preserving Their Purity

by Kelly Crawford

Even though I’ve touched on this subject before, it is, perhaps, one of the closest to my heart, and one I think the Christian community is desperate to hear.

We have all but abandoned the idea of true purity in the upbringing of our children, even laughing and scorning the “extreme” ideas when they are brought up.

Tell a typical person (even a believer) that you expect your children to wait until marriage for their first kiss, and you will almost definitely be met with laughter. I’ve had a pastor laugh at me for saying it. Or better yet, that your children will not be dating until they are ready for marriage.

And yet, not so very long ago, it was common even among non-believers.

Having had such a tainted past full of immoral relationships and heart-giving years, I knew when I had children I would do anything to try to prevent that for them.

Which can be odd to some; I talked to a friend who claimed that all her intimate relationships helped shape who she is and prepared her for marriage. She is divorced now. I don’t believe that jargon for a minute.

We have allowed a godless culture to dictate what is normal to us. And the culture has no authority in our lives concerning matters of importance. Is it because the Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kiss before marriage” that we take the culture’s clues? (Even though it DOES say “It is not good for a man to touch a woman”.)

We must create “normal” for our children. We must love them enough to not care about the scorn of those around us.

Practicing intimate relationships (this includes more than just physical) in preparation for marriage doesn’t even make good sense logically. Add to that the counsel of Scripture and Christians ought not be caught dead buying into the dating game.

I get sick to my stomach when we visit a church and the teenagers are hugged up on each other. Physically ill, because I know the damage already done and continuing to be done, and I know that with marriages already at odds, the baggage kids are carrying into them isn’t increasing their chances of strong, lasting unions.

Parents…pour your hearts into considering this issue. Dating is not just a cute, popular thing to do with harmless effects. It is party to the devastating divorce rate wreaking more and more havoc on our society.

Sometimes I see parents who are battling nervous breakdowns, raising their grandchildren because of their grown children’s marital turmoil, and I wonder how much of it is the stinging effect of the “innocent” dating life? Perhaps parenting isn’t as easy as “getting them out of the house”. If we want them to be a part of the “fun, dating life”, we shouldn’t be alarmed when they also become a part of the divorce statistics.

And of course, most everyone one of us dated. Not everyone with dating baggage gets a divorce. I am pointing out, though, that the stats are way too high–especially for Christians. We’re doing something terribly wrong.

I beg you, be willing to be “odd” to save your children the deepest heartache.

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Sandy January 30, 2009 - 10:07 pm

Is it any wonder that our country is in the state it is in when doing anything even remotely biblical draws scorn from the church and is called extreme? After taking a good look at the culture, my kids decided on their own not to date. Now, if kids can figure it out…

mrshester January 30, 2009 - 10:47 pm

I’ve enjoyed watching the Duggars. I recently saw the episode in which their oldest son was married. They courted, had never even kissed before their vows! That blew my mind and made my heart swell, I was close to tears the whole show. And I have read your views on dating and courting here and if I could only turn back the hands of time, this is how I would have conducted myself. Now I can only take my regrets and lessons and use them in the future.

And I agree about couples in church. I think even married couples should take this into consideration. Church is for worshiping our Savior and God, not PDA. There is time for that away from church, and it certainly should be a red flag for parents whose children cannot even “stay off” each other in this time. I have a feeling I won’t be very popular with my kids or their suitors, lol.

Giann January 30, 2009 - 10:51 pm

Is that Old Testament Law “that a man should not touch a woman”? I was just wondering. I value my purity enough not to date or kiss before marriage. I am saving myself for my future spouse. I do agree with Sandy……


Giann January 30, 2009 - 10:55 pm

Btw, I did watch the Duggar Wedding! Beautiful!


Kim from Canada January 30, 2009 - 11:03 pm

YES! Emotional purity is just as important as physical purity. If your heart is given away (once or multiple times) before marriage, of course it effects your marriage!

I wrote an allegorical story about it on my blog awhile back for some girls to read. Your welcome to check it out (look under courtship tag)

Word Warrior January 30, 2009 - 11:45 pm


Actually Paul suggested “it is not good for a man to touch a woman”, and the Old Testament law gives us the picture of the father being responsible for his daughter’s chastity.

shanie81 January 30, 2009 - 11:51 pm

I really see the virtue in this. Last year, my stepdaughter (gee, product of dating… I’m 27, my7 Step- Baby is 17) went through just a brutal situation. She was “in love” (yikes) and when he broke up with her, she ended up IN THERAPY. It was a daily occurance that I ran out of the office because I had a crying call from her. Why? She just wasn’t ready. And her Mom and Granny thought it was ‘ctue’ that she and Tyler were so infatuated. She’s recovered but it got so bad before that, that she (a pretty devouted Christian, despite the fact that her father and I are Taoists) even stopped going to church because she ‘couldn’t stand seeing him.’ And I know for a FACT that I put my family through the same thing. And it affected me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held my wonderful husband accountable for other guys mistakes. And vice versa. Also, it hurts me, every time I say ‘I love you’ that I’ve said it to others. I’m watching him right now, playing with our pet bunny, and I can’t help but wonder if he feels the same way. We’ve moved past it for the most part, b ut it will always linger…

Mrs. Lady Sofia January 31, 2009 - 12:12 am

Even though I don’t have my own children, I agree that children should not be “dating” “just for fun.” Just the other day while I was at work in the Learning Lab at the elementary school that I work at, a 9 year old boy in 4th grade was getting “excited” because he got a girl’s phone number and wanted to take her out on a date. I just shook my head. Why do 9 year old children need to be “dating?”

Anyway, I also agree with Mrs. Hester’s sentiment: if I have any children, I wouldn’t be very popular with them or their “friends” because I wouldn’t let them “date” or give-in to letting them have unnecessary gadgets like having cell phones.

bbmommy2 January 31, 2009 - 12:53 am

I, like others here, had some rough teen years. Jumped into adult relationships way too early. If I could go back, I would have protected my purity until marriage.

When you know better you do better right. I know that my children will be different. For one thing they will not have to deal with the ugly peer pressure. The need to fit in, the right cloths, the boy/girl relationships way too early in life.

Until our family began watching the Duggar family, I never realized that kids now days even considered not dating etc. How Wonderful!!!

Had this discussion (no dating)with my mother and sister the other day, they think I am crazy and this kind of thing will never happen. Need I say how different I am from my Dear Mother and Sister. My sister is currently pregnant with an athiest man’s baby whom she has had casual relations with over the past year. She has been separated from her husband for seven years but are still Biblically/legally married. He too is an athiest and they have a nine year old son that he rarely sees. I bring this up as a big picture of a life I do not want for my children. Let me say, that I love my sister so very much. I pray for her daily and we lovingly await the arrival of this precious baby.

Bethany Hudson January 31, 2009 - 1:15 am

The sad thing is that what we call “courting” today is actually a little more akin to what “dating” first was. What our grandparents knew as dating does not exist anymore. If we’re lucky, kids are just in very serious emotionally committed relationships…but in most cases they are just “hooking up”: all the physical intimacy with no relational commitment whatsoever! Neither of these approaches is Biblical. You’re right: we truly need to fight for our children’s purity in our world today. We will be mocked, and so will our kids, but we (and our children) will be the stronger and the better for it all.

Misty Smith January 31, 2009 - 1:57 am

“I beg you, be willing to be “odd” to save your children the deepest heartache.”

I’m in!!!

Quinn January 31, 2009 - 8:45 am

I actually grew up being told, “Try before you buy.”!!!
So it’s very refreshing to read posts like this. I know I’m going to be doing things a whole lot differently, so I’m always on the look out for practical ideas on courtship.

I watched a little bit of 20/20 before I went to bed last night. They were following different dating couples, including an arranged marriage. What I found interesting was the statistic that only 5-7% of arranged marriages end up in divorce. Probably because they view marriage as more of a partnership than a love affair.

Vera Prince January 31, 2009 - 1:18 pm

The idea of a fairy tale romance and that marriage is about “true love” is very modern idea. Because we expect “true love” fairy tale style, if, even for a moment it fades or wanes, we think nothing about ending that relationship and searching for the next true love.

Civilla January 31, 2009 - 1:31 pm

My older son has come to the decision on his own that he will not date. The younger one is too shy to date — we’ll probably have to arrange a marriage for him!

Civilla January 31, 2009 - 1:32 pm

Dumb question: what channel is the Duggar’s show on?

mrshester January 31, 2009 - 2:39 pm

I’ve seen the Duggars on both TLC and Discovery Health channels, I think TLC is actually airing the shows leading up to their marriage and the family’s latest bundle of joy together. They appear to be such a delightful group of people, a very peculiar people, if you get my meaning 🙂 I like them very much. I think my husband is warming up to them as well…I watch them pretty regular and don’t mind watching the reruns and he hasn’t objected yet, lol.

bbmommy2 January 31, 2009 - 7:44 pm

The Duggar’s show is called “Seventeen and counting” and I think the show comes on Tuesday nights now. Reruns are usually on at different times during the week on TLC. They are such a loving joyful family. Love the way they are raising wonderful children. Using some of their homeschool and chore (they call it jurisdictions) ideas with my own family.

Good Day to you all!!

lazarquita February 1, 2009 - 6:28 pm

My husband and I did “date” before we got married. However, though we carried on a “dating” relationship for five years before we were ready for marriage, he was very respectful and we saved our purity for marriage. We did kiss before we were married, but we don’t generally feel robbed about that.

We were the couple who sat very close together in church. He always had his arm around me. But that didn’t mean anything about our behavior outside church, other than that we were very fond of one another.

Mind you, I think that avoiding intimacy (and I don’t just mean physical intimacy) prior to marriage is really important. We are not to arouse or awaken or stir up love before its time. It is not God’s way to move from one “intimate” relationship to another to another to another. We were created by our Almighty God for pair bonding, not serial dating. Still, I think there are ways to maintain purity without necessarily seeming odd…though peculiar isn’t always a bad thing, of course. =D

When Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:1 that it was good for a man not to touch a woman, he meant EVER. He was saying that it was good for a man to be celibate his entire life. It wasn’t a statement about hand holding or hugging before marriage; it was a statement affirming the call to singleness and “touch” was a euphemism for the marital act (much like Adam “knowing” his wife Eve). In fact, the ESV comes right out and says it: “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” Just my .02.

God bless you!

Tracy February 2, 2009 - 9:08 am


Mickey February 4, 2009 - 6:26 pm

Although I am not a mother yet, I am def. willing to be “odd” for my future children. My parents were willing for me and it has done so much good for me, although I did go against them for a while and made a big mistake by pretty much dating for a while, I still have my first kiss and am that much more determined to be “odd” for my children. Thank you so much for this article.

authenticallyme February 6, 2009 - 2:49 pm

I do agree, for the most part.

I wonder though, how does one get to know another person intimately, without crossing certain ’emotional’ boundaries? In todays world, if I were a single woman, Id really want to know a man before I married him. Id want to know a TON about his past, the way he lives on a daily basis….and opportunities for those ‘sandpaper’ moments where we could see how we would deal with conflict. Esp with the issue of pornography, gaming, etc around now so easily via the internet, Id want to have many conversations about that. MANY.

In any event, I agree about the chastity (physical) issues. It is more the emotional ‘purity’ I was asking about.

Word Warrior February 6, 2009 - 2:58 pm


Getting to really know a person is precisely why we reject modern dating; additionly, it is not necessary to become “intimate” in order to get to know a person the way you described.

With the alternative method of preparing for marriage, the couple would engage together as families more than anything. In this way, she gets to see how he reacts in the “sandpaper” moments, which are so easy to hide if a couple is always alone.

She can see how he treats his mother (very important clue) and how he relates to others in his family and in various circumstances.

In this way, they can really get to know one another without the pressure of intimacy and physical temptations.

Also, we believe it is a blessing that parents help guide their children in the process of finding a spouse.

My daughter trust her father and me and we know her as intimately as anyone. When it comes time to make crucial choices about a spouse, it will be very helpful for her to have our objective input about why a man may or may not make a good husband. We can point out obstacles or positive qualities that she may not otherwise see. (This used to be very common.) So there are many ways this method allows people to get to know each other much better than traditional dating.

authenticallyme February 11, 2009 - 1:08 am

Im not saying i dont agree with points youve made on modern dating…i do. I suppose I am confused as to how ‘sandpaper’ moments would arise in a room full of people….people put on masks. I do think it is important to have some sort of rapport, alone….or at times. I also think it is very important to be family oriented….I suppose it is a fine line between keeping oneself pure (and the other) while still being able to talk to some degree about important issues, one-on-one. But how can either person trust themself when never once in a situation where they are alone? I know in life my character is built at those times i *am* tempted…and do not fulfill those temptations……makes people stronger. Again, not supporting todays dating ideas…..but for me realizing some things that my husband and I never discussed about our intimate selves (i dont mean physical stuff….i mean our ‘issues’, weaknesses, strengths, things that we have been through, our goals, etc)would have been better brought out in the open earlier on, prior to marriage. I see many people today getting married with never discussing these things, and they are important!

ty for taking the time to reply before; I know you are super-busy!


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