Sunday, March 29, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet - The Wedding: Part Four

Debi starts asking questions about when Yetta and Kent were dating.  Debi tries really hard to make Yetta fit Debi's mold...but she just can't quite do it.

Q: Do you remember the first time you felt you and Kent might become a couple?
A: Over time I saw he was really genuine.  Like I said, after music practice he would often stand at my truck and talk.  As my respect grew, I knew I was seeing him as the man he was ...the kind of man I wanted.  He was slowly winning my affection.

Q: Everyone knew you and Kent were friends.  What rocked the boat into the love boat?
A: Well, one night his sister invited me to eat dinner with her family, and Kent was there.  After dinner he walked me to my truck.  While we stood at my truck, he told me straight out that he wanted to be more than friends.  We were both adults; there was never a boy-likes-girl crush thing.  We both knew that when he said "more than friends" he meant we were considering our future together.  He had already run my respect and admiration.  I gladly said yes.


"What rocked the boat into the love boat?"  What a silly question, Debi.  Did you expect Yetta to reply "Why, a tsunami of passion!"

Yetta and Kent are adults who became friends, then lovers.  They have a wonderful story based on mutual respect and love.  I wish this kind of relationship for all the young ladies who read Debi's books rather than the Pearl crazy.

Q: After that you were a couple, people knew.  How did everyone react?

A: Everyone was really happy for us.

Q:Would a negative reaction from family or close friends have made a difference?

A: Yes.  If someone we loved and respected had questioned either one of us, we would have listened and considered.  We both have seen many couples make bad decisions and live to regret it.  We wanted to do it right.This is my favorite part so far.  Yetta and Kent would thoughtfully considered any objection by others, but they would make the final decision. 

Plus, neither Yetta nor Kent's parents (or brothers) have made an appearance in terms of being involved with their relationship.

Q: So you went places together and were known as a couple for several months.  Why wait so long?

Because going places and being known as a couple is normal for Americans....

A: We both were cautious, knowing that this was the rest of our lives, and we wanted to talk out everything before we married.  All our convictions, all our family ideas, all our little whatevers were addressed.  There would be no surprises to mar our marriage.  It takes time.  We didn't beat around the bush about anything.  He knew exactly what I thought about every major issue, and I knew what he wanted.  We agreed on issues ahead of time.
 I'm very glad that they discussed potential issues ahead of time. 
I hope they don't have any major surprises between them - but life often brings surprises and you learn much more about your spouse and yourself during the marriage.

[Side note from the Kingly Man: I'm not sure what "wait so long" means here.  Several months isn't very long by most people's standards.  This seems to be implying that couples should get married really fast.  I'm not a proponent of long, drawn-out relationships, but not everyone is going to feel comfortable being proposed to after dating for only a few months.]

I agree with the Kingly Man.  (I feel strange writing that, but it is true.)   Yeah, some folks have a good marriage after a very short time dating but most people want to know someone for longer than one season before marrying them.

Q: So when did he pop the question?

A: It wasn't like that for us.  Love came softly, so we both knew it was right.  We just set the date.

I like Yetta and Kent.  I hope they have a long and happy marriage.
AntiPearl:  The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: The Wedding - Part Three

Today, we get to meet Yetta, the bride that Debi was so impressed by.  She's been married for two weeks at the time of the interview.  

Q: I have to start with this question first because it is so unusual: How old are you?
A: I am 34 years old.

Q: That is pretty old to be just getting married.  Do you want to explain to us why?
A: I had other men interested in me from time to time, but I never was interested because I knew I needed to respect and honor my man.  Until Kent, I never met a man I truly wanted.

Actually, the correct answer to that question is a blank stare or "You are very rude."

I know Debi finds math hard, but according to the CDC from 2006-2010 the percentage of women who have been married at least once by age is:
By 20 years - 13%
By 25 years - 44%
By 30 years - 68%
By 35 years - 78%
By 40 years - 84%

This means that roughly 32% of women will marry after age 30.  

Q: So how did you meet your man?
A: When he moved into our community, he started coming to our church.  He joined the church music group and I was a part of that small group.

Yet again, the only place to meet a partner is at church.  I wonder how Debi thinks atheists meet their spouses.....

Q: Did you immediately set your sights on the new man in town?
A: No, I liked him, but never gave him a thought as a possible husband because he is seven years younger than I am, and I always said I would never marry a man younger than myself.

May none of us ever live somewhere where the marriage prospects are so slim that new people are mobbed by the unmarried....

Q: So, what changed your mind?  How did you become a couple?
A: First, we became good friends.  For months, after music practice, he would walk me out to my truck and we would talk.  I saw that he was really growing in the Lord.  I learned to respect him.  I thought, he is such a cool guy, but he is too young.

What does "growing in the Lord" mean?  I'd like to know a little more about what Yetta saw in Kent that made her respect him.

Q: He seems a little shy to me.  He is a true priest-like Steady Man.  How did he first try to get your attention?
A: He picked (teased) on me, that's how!  In our community, usually once a month, someone in our area will plan an evening (for adult singles) for playing board games.  They always invite people from other churches and groups to come,  It is a way to step out of our little world and invite others in.  We play games like, What Would it be like if _____ were President?  Kent would always stick my name is.  Like, "Would Yetta rather be president or in prison?  I kept saying, "Why do you always put my name in these crazy things?".

OMG!  Honest-to-God flirting!  Kent flirted with Yetta and they still got married! 

Q: That was pretty bold, yet you still didn't notice he was singling you out?
A: My family (I have several sisters) started telling me that they thought he was showing me a lot of attention, but I still wasn't so sure.

In Debi's world, walking a girl out to her truck and some of the mildest flirting is "bold".  How did her sons ever get married? 

Q: When did you start to feel that he might be trying to get your womanly attention?
A: Well, I was involved in a car accident.  It wasn't a terrible crash; I just had a busted lip and was sore all over, but he came over as soon as he heard.  I could see that he was truly concerned.  It was then that I began to suspect that he cared for me more than just a friend.  But still I wondered, because I was friends with his sister for a long time before I met him, and I had told her plenty of times that I would never marry a man younger than myself.

Kent's concern reflects well on him.  I'm also glad that he wasn't so worried about how others would perceive him visiting Yetta to go into hiding like some of the other men in this book would have.Q:Why were you so sure you would not consider a younger man?
A: A couple years before I met Kent, I had this other fellow if he could get to know me.  He was 30 and I was 32.  After only a few months of correspondence and two dates I knew he was too young for me, so I cut off the relationship.  He seemed to lack maturity, which I figured was due to him being two years younger.  It was a good experience for me, because when I got to know Kent, I saw that he was mature, wise and sober-minded.  I was able to reflect back and see that age didn't have anything to do with that level of maturity.  Sometimes the only way you can know what you want is to find out what you don't want.

Bingo, Yetta.  

Dating requires emotional intimacy with another person and can lead to some pain when the relationship ends.  I guess that the courtship model offers the mirage of protecting the heart by avoiding a break up - but it's a mirage. 

 Breakups teach lessons - how to treat partners and how you want to be treated; what qualities are nice in a partner and which are essential; that life moves on even when pain happens.

AntiPearl: In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

Robert Frost

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet Blog: Wedding Music Angst!

Learning to judge people is a skill that must be refined over time.  Here's a question that lets the girls practice sharpening their nails - or not.

(All spelling is from the original.)

I’m a born again Christian and the Lord has really been busy with me this year. I really desire to follow Him and be obedient to Him.
I am a bit confused about something and I wonder if some of you ladies could help and give me your opinions and maybe some scripture to back up?
A few years ago, I promised my (worldy) friend that I would sing at her wedding. She loves that song by Shania Twain (You’re still the one) and she wanted me to sing that if she ever got married one day. At the time when she asked me, I kind of agreed to it, but not definitely. I also didn’t know who her future husband would be. I was still immature and we were both still at school. Im 23 years of age now by the way.
Anyway, she is now getting married. She is not saved and has been living with her boyfriend for over a year now. I am sure that they have been sleeping together (although she hasn’t told me directly; she has only said that they sleep in the same bed and shower together, which is already way overboard!! and ungodly and they should never have been staying together!!)

Nothing good ever comes of using euphemisms for sex.  Clearly, if she said she is sleeping in the same bed, they are sleeping together in the same bed.

Now, in the absence of other details, sleeping in the same bed doesn't necessarily mean they are having sex.

On the flip side,  I'd be pretty comfortable hazarding a guess that a couple who showers together is probably either having sex or is being careful after cooking meth.  (Guess which I find less problematic?)

I didn’t approve of their relationship from the beginning, but I am glad that they are now getting married. They are both ungodly and hopefully this will draw them closer to the Lord and bring about their salvation.
Now she wants me to sing that song “You’re still the one” at their wedding. Please google the lyrics. I don’t really feel comfortable, but am unsure. I made her a promise?? Am i still obliged to keep it, against my convictions??
The reason I feel a bit uncomfortable, is basically because the song is speaking about the fact that they are still together after all these years etc etc… But fact is, I havn’t approved of their ungodly relationship and the way that they have done things. So how can I sing that song about them?
What do you ladies think?? What would you do in the situation?? Thanks, Talitha

At this point, I could care less what choice Talitha makes.  I'm more concerned that she can't make up her mind to either:
1) Sing a song at a wedding she is glad is happening  OR
2) Politely decline due to some vaguely worded illness.

Here are some choice responses:

A1: I think that as long as they are still getting married. My Mom and Dad are still together which is a huge miracle. (my mom got pregnant with me at 17 yrs.) But also if it goes agianst your conciense then mabye you shouldn’t sing it. Always listen to that voice inside of you that is usually God speaking. You could ask her if you could sing a different song.

So, ask for a different song and sing...unless God doesn't want you to. 

A2:You said she hasn’t told you directly that she is sleeping with her boyfriend. If they are living together, sleeping in the same bed, and showering together, they are sleeping together. No, I don’t think you are obliged to keep your promise. If you feel uncomfortable now about potentially singing this song for her, you are going to be feeling much worse actually singing it at her wedding. If your inner alarm bell is going off, I think that is a pretty good sign that you shouldn’t do it. Ask yourself this question: Would you have regrets if you did sing for her? If you decide not to sing, pray for the right words to say to her to explain why you won’t sing for her wedding. If she doesn’t like what she is hearing from you, she is just going to have to deal with it. She can’t make you do it; and if she tries to guilt you into doing it, stick to your convictions. I hope this helps you.

Use this occasion to pound your convictions into the bride!  Be clear that the fact that they are 'sleeping' together is the only reason you won't sing for them.  Remember, Jesus is all about the public shaming!

A3:It is funny that you ask that question. My sister just got married last fall. My mother asked me to arrange some flowers for the alter. Thinking about arranging the flowers for her wedding I immediatly said yes. Later I thought about it and realized where the flowers were going — on an alter in a catholic church! I didn’t know what to do, I had all ready commited and no-one else was able to do it. I had planned to attend the ceremony (her being my sister) but not the service. I did end up arranging the flowers. I did feel a little uneasy, but it was for my sister’s wedding. Out side of arranging the flowers I did not partake in the wedding at all, just attended. There is not really anything wrong with flowers, is there anything wrong with the song? However, like I said, it was where the flowers were going that made me uneasy. Where is the wedding taking place? Could you sing it at the reception instead of the ceremony?

Have you thought about the fact they could be getting married in another denomination!  Have you thought about that!!  I mean, I totes freaked because my flowers were going to end up in a Catholic Church, but sucked it up because it was my sister. 

(I am really confused by the last comment.  You can't plop flowers on the altar in a Catholic church.  You could put them in front of the altar.  Some couples place some flowers in front of a statue of Mary; I can see why that might freak the sister out.  I don't know how she was going to the ceremony but not the service, either.  I guess she could have stayed from the beginning to the end of the vows and high-tailed it out before the rest of the Mass but that would be very tacky unless she was sitting in a back corner - and sitting the sister of the bride in a back corner is tacky, too.  Sigh.)

Preparing to Be a Helpmeet: Blog - Touching before Marriage

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.