Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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


We've hit a new low - the title of the chapter is triggering for me.  I'm going to need to move through this chapter in smaller bits than usual.   My wedding day was bittersweet.  My best friend, Jess, died in a car accident the day before the wedding driving to help us decorate for the reception.  I was alternating between numbed shock, pain, exhaustion, gratitude for being surrounded by friends and family and happiness I was marrying my husband.    

I'm certain nothing Debi says is going to help anyone facing a similar situation.


The Wedding Day... The Most special day in your whole life must be planned with care, right?  I am here to tell you it's not the day that needs special attention: it's the night following.  Most girls and their mothers get so caught up in the Big Day that they overextend themselves physically and emotionally.  In this chapter I want to encourage you not to plan an elaborate wedding.
 
*Giggles*

Why does Debi care if the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE is too tired to have sex the night after the wedding?
She is talking about sex, right? I ask because she's never actually used the words "sexual intercourse" despite alluding to it in nearly every chapter in the book.

Today's weddings often foreshadow the coming marriage: stressful.  All the extra details are added to impress all in attendance and those who hear about it with the magnificence of this glorious event.  Many girls look back on the days before their wedding and wish they had spent less time and money on useless pomp and staging and more time getting rested and refreshed for the days that followed the wedding. 

I did not like the idea of planning a wedding - mine or anyone else's.  I had as simple of a wedding as I could pull off because I hated the idea of keeping track of all the details. 
I wonder how much of Debi's deep, deep dislike of elaborate weddings comes from the fact she had 8 or 10 days to get ready for her wedding.  I think most women have certain details they want in their wedding - personal things unique to themselves.  I wonder how many dreams Debi had to give up in her whirlwind wedding...









 When a girl drives away from her wedding and feels like sleeping for three days just to recover, it sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

*Glares*

You can't always control that, Debi.  And honestly, Debi is old enough that she's got to know people who had emotionally draining weddings. 


Bluntly, I didn't marry Michael Pearl.  You married a psychopath who tortured you during your honeymoon.

 I married Nico - an amazing man who made the painful months after Jess' death survivable. 
  

Believe it or not, it takes a lot of emotional and physical energy to be a wife during the first week of marriage.  Your firsts are going to need all your strength and focus.  If you falter there, it can attach a negative association to the experience.  Not a good thing.  Think about it: if you were going on a ski trip, would you exhaust yourself beforehand?

I am so glad I didn't read that paragraph when I was 14 or 15 years old. 

Debi manages to make sexual intercourse sound like a horrifying ordeal that you need to have courage and endurance to survive.

Sexual intercourse is not an trial by ordeal - even the first time. My first time was quite pleasant - I did have a twinge of discomfort at one point, but all I needed to do was shift my body slightly. I'd like to thank everyone who recommended personal lubricant because lube makes sex more pleasant for both parties. 









Of course, what no one takes into consideration is that extreme stress throws a girl's hormones into chaos, so many wedding nights start out with the bride on her period - two weeks early. 

Say, what?!  

I've never heard of anyone getting a period two weeks early on their wedding night.

Also, I thought Debi claimed earlier in the book that most weddings happen the week AFTER the bride's period which leads to having a daughter.....yeah.  (It still doesn't make any sense.)  In that case, having an early period would mean it came three weeks before the wedding.

Did anyone actually plan their wedding around their period? I planned mine around the dates I was off for the summer and the dates my church was available.  I never thought about bothering to time my period - but I knew I could use birth control to time my period like most women for the last 50 years or so.


 You do not want this to happen to you.  Yet almost everyone makes the same mistakes.  It is time to step away from tradition and be wise in your wedding planning.  Work from the premise that the week before the wedding is all about being your very best relaxed and energized self on your honeymoon.

If you want to do that, go for it.  As DebiAdvice goes, this one won't hurt.

AntiPearl: A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Cinderella - Part 6

We are at the last section of the Leah/David courtship where Leah shares her post-marital advice.

Post-marriage thoughts:
No Regrets
Do you know how nice it is when we look through family photo albums at Christmas to never see David with another girl? 


No.  I assume Leah means with another girlfriend, but either way, seeing a photo of your husband with an ex shouldn't be traumatic.









 Do you know how wonderful it is that David doesn't have to hear about my past boyfriends?

Nope. 





  Do you know how many times I have thanked the Lord while falling asleep that he helped me wait for a guy like my David?
No. 






When you are single, sometimes it is hard to picture yourself married.  But if you can, try. 


What does "If you can, try" mean?  Are some people that lacking in imagination?




 Try to think about the way you will feel when your spouse is proposing, looking into your eyes, and understand it's not worth messing around with other guys.


But what if a promising relationship falls apart?  What if David hadn't proposed after telling Leah he loved her?  Would that be "messing around"?



 Try to think of how happy you will be on your wedding night, when you are giving the ultimate gift  with no hint of regret. 

Eww.  Just...eww.

*waves hands in front of face*

Plus, this idolization of the wedding night sex is creepy.  It's not like you never have sex with your spouse after the first night.  Maybe they don't know that....



 Try to remember that you are building habits of faithfulness or distrust that will affect your marriage.  What will you tell your children someday?  What you are doing now will affect your future!



I've heard lots of stories about other people my parents and other relatives dated before marrying their spouse.  Again - not a traumatic moment.

Actually, hearing Opa talking about how he met Oma was awesome - and wonderfully AntiPearl!  He got a ride to a dance about 4 miles away in Holland.  He saw a lovely young woman going down a canal in a boat.  He asked the guy who gave him a ride who the "amply endowed" (except a bit less polished...and a bit more graphic.... term) woman was in the boat.  Turns out the woman in the boat - Oma - was his ride's younger sister and Opa was walking home.    He said knowing who Oma was well-worth the walk.  They've been married over 60 years now.


So, yeah.  You can be attracted to someone because they have nice breasts and still have a satisfying and long lasting marriage.



Learning to be a help meet before and after marriage:

I never appreciated my mother's example of a biblical help meet until I got married.  Shortly after getting married, I remember meeting with about ten other young wives.  We were discussing respecting our husbands.  The question was, "Is this something you were taught growing up?" Every single woman said it was the first time they heard these concepts.  Most said they were brought up the opposite.  "I was taught I was a princess and to be independent.  I didn't need a man."  They agreed with the truth and the principles, but they struggled to tear away from years of wrong training and examples.


"The Truth and The Principles" makes the cult-like nature of the Pearls' clear.

It was then that I started to realize the power of my mother's example.  Of all the areas of conflict in our marriage, unconditional submission, respect and honor was never in question.  Of course, the first year of marriage, I was learning by trial and error what came across as respectful.  But I never struggled with should I respect him, should I honor him, should I submit to him?




I am more curious about the nature of their early conflicts. 

If Leah was submitting unconditionally, there shouldn't have been any external conflicts. 

 Leah may have been dying inside while David flails around trying to figure things out without any advice from his wife, but their marriage should be externally conflict free.

Sounds horrible, really, but the Pearls are clear that happiness means crushing your heart and soul every day.

  I knew the answer from my mother's example and years of my parents training me in the way I should go with a husband.  Now that we are expecting a baby, I am so excited about modeling these same truths and principles because it not only affects your child's marriage, but so many other marriages by example!  Marriage is an exponential ministry; what your example teaches now will multiply across generations.



Ah...nothing like rationalization.  Over time, everyone will be equally miserable.

When I started dating David, I asked my mother to give me her top three books on how to be a good wife.  One of them was Debi Pearl's Created To Be His Help Meet.  I read all three, but I read Created four times during our courtship and engagement.  I then read one chapter a day through the first several months of our marriage.  The concepts changed my life so dramatically that a friend and I are planning to start a group of young wives to go through the book.

Oh, great.  Buy the book; read it until you stop questioning the craziness.

If her mother was such a great example, what about "Created" changed Leah's life?  I put bets on new ways to insult other women.






Find a marriage mentor:
David and I purposed never to seek marital advice from our parents or friends after marriage.  We wanted to honor and respect each other publicly.


There is a huge gulf from asking for advice about your marriage from people you trust and disrespecting your spouse publicly. 



 We do, however, believe in mentoring and accountability.  I started meeting for marriage mentoring with a older, godly woman once a month after we got married.



I bet the woman is Debi Pearl. 

 I had never met her before, but a friend I trust recommended her to me.



How on Earth is talking to a random stranger about your marriage more respectful than talking to friends or family members?


  Every month, I keep a list detailing areas where David and I had conflict or just general marriage questions.  Usually the first Thursday of each month I drive to her house.  We pray then I ask her the questions on my list.  Each session lasts two to three hours.  We always end in prayer.


That sounds absolutely hideous.  THREE HOURS on marital problems once a month...ouch....


  She is the only one I open up to about conflict in our marriage.


How about David?  Does David honestly know about your conflict or are you just stuffing all your feelings inside? 


  I cannot tell you how much it has helped me to have an older, godly woman telling me, "Good job - that was hard, but you did the right thing." or "That is very normal - welcome to the club." or "I understand how your are feeling; however...."  I praise God for the priceless hours of biblical counsel.


Net outcome: Older woman keeping Leah toeing the party line.

If we invest time and energy in other areas of life, shouldn't we be devoting time to our coming marriage?
-David and Leah



Leah wrote 90% of the chapter.  She deserves first billing.

AntiPearl:Love withers under constraints: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Cinderella-Part 5


















Today, Leah lays out another example of how courtship creates angst, confusion and general insanity.

David and I met at his work.  He was giving a presentation and I was sitting in the front row.  After the meeting, we talked briefly but we both thought the same thing, "What are the chances they know the Lord?"  I later called David with a work question and suddenly he was talking about God.  I remember hanging up the phone and thinking, "I totally misjudged this guy!"

Interesting.  I would like to go on the record that I've NEVER thought "Hmmm.  Is that speaker a saved Christian?" before.  Likewise, if I call someone on business - even business for a ministry - and the business owner starts talking about God, I'd be freaked out.


We talked for a good three months over the phone.  No flirting, just theology, ideals and life.  I grew frustrated and complained to my parents, "He never says he likes me.  What kind of girl does he think I am?  I don't continue a relationship with a guy if it is not going anywhere." 

Nice attempt at boundary setting by Leah!  Leah wants a relationship.  If David doesn't want to be in a relationship, Leah has the right to leave. 

Good job, Leah!
 



My praying mama soothed, "Honey, he is studying you now to make an informed decision."

Leah's mama, your advice sucks.  Your daughter IS studying David.  She's found it annoying as hell that he won't state his interest. 

Who cares if David is studying her? You snooze, you lose. 

[Input from Nico: What the mom was actually saying "Oh Leah, don't forget you are just an object to be studied."]


During that time, another young man approached my dad about courting me.  He was forward and flirty. 

Yay!  A guy who is interested in you and willing to move towards a relationship - sounds good.


 Dad unveiled his hesitations and reservations, but said the ultimate choice was mine.  I am so thankful I was seeking the Lord during this season and knew His voice from years of Bible study and prayer.  As soon as Dad told me it was my decision I felt a huge check in my spirit.  This wasn't my husband.

I'm getting confused.  If a guy approaches Leah's dad, he's too forward and flirty and not worth a relationship.  David, on the other hand, who in three months hasn't moved towards a relationship is too slow.

Does Leah actually want to be in a relationship?




 I told the young man "no" and the next week David asked me out on our first date - dinner and a comedy show.

Magical thinking flows through this book.  Leah proves her worth to date David by rejecting a flawed previous suitor.  As a result of that, David wants to date her!  Magical!

Of course, in real life, Leah could very well have waited another 3 years for David to get around to showing interest - don't forget Ellie.




David still wasn't flirty, and the next morning I wondered if I had done the right thing. 

Now, I am very confused.  I thought flirty was the kiss of death.

Oh, wait.  I've been using logic again.

Actually, anything David does must be right because Leah married David.  As such, every guy she ever ran into before must be hideously flawed. 



 But in my prayer journal I wrote in all capital letters: LEAH, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO YOU IS A MAN AFTER GOD'S HEART AND THAT IS WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY ADMIRED IN DAVID.


*snickers*

Thanks for sharing the caps.  To me, the caps show how insane this situation has become.  Since courtship must lead inexorably toward marriage, any nervousness or disappointment must be overcome by grounding in "God's will".


My relationship guideline was a few dates, then the suitor meets with Dad.  After two more dates, David didn't have to be asked- he called Dad up and they met at Starbucks.

Did Leah give David her dad's number?  Did David know her dad?  Did David use his cyber-stalker skills that Debi insists all men have to hunt her dad down?





Dad was prepared with questions he had gathered for years.  Dad even called some of David's references.  The outcome: "Leah, you should be very honored that a man like David wants to pursue a relationship with you."

Which is more disturbing - the dad's list of questions or the fact he thinks David is too good for his daughter? 

I have no problems with reference checking - of course, I don't know that I would believe them, but whatever works.


After Dad blessed our relationship, David blossomed into the romantic every girl loves.  While we dated, I tried to think ten years down our marriage - if I felt like I was leaving, what would keep me in?

Why would you think about that ? You aren't married.  You aren't engaged.  Neither you nor David should have this much pressure toward a marriage this early in a relationship.

The thought kept coming back that God called David and me into this marriage.

Oh, Leah.  You are so screwed.  You are not thinking clearly - at all.  If the best quality of a partner is "God wants me to marry him", you are with the wrong person.

I leaned on this reflection heavily as it was confirmed through parents, friends and prayer.  It was hard to hear my parents analyze David, but I stood fast in the thought that if it was God's will, it would work itself out.  David and I both told each other that God was more important than the other, and that if God called us in or out of this relationship, blessed be the Lord.  It was such a peace-we were merely discovering God's will.

Not a good sign, either.  Both David and Leah are keeping themselves emotionally distant.


I remember the day David told me "I love you" for the first time.  We took a walk with his dog and on the top of a beautiful hill he said "I love you, Leah." He then shocked me by saying "And I've only said that to two other girls."  Immediately I started thinking, who else?  Man way to ruin the moment.  David finished, "My mom and sister."  Do you have any idea how much that meant to me?  I went home and implored my brothers to do the same for their future wives.

Leah is much more gentle than I am.  David: EPIC FAIL.  EPIC FREAKING FAIL, DUDE.


After a year of courtship, David proposed to me in front of 1,100 people at a work convention.  We had never gone ring shopping and Dad had cautioned me, "Let David lead; don't push."  I had no idea what was happening.  Suddenly David was pushing me to center stage and getting on one knee.  The crowd went wild and stood to their feet.  David looked up, "Leah Grace Driggers, you are a godly woman of character.  I love you with everything I have within me.  I would be honored if you would be my wife.  Will you marry me?"  I couldn't say anything.  I just sobbed and nodded yes.  It was worth the wait.

That sounds nice.


After a seven month engagement and intense pre-marital counseling, we married a year ago.  Marriage is the greatest gift the Lord has given me.  No one told me how awesome marriage is--waking up next to my loved every morning, watching him take a second helping of my cooking and just realized I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.  That is my Cinderella story that I waited for, shaped in heaven.  Girls, don't give up and don't settle for less.

After all, who wants to be with a flirty,  outgoing guy?  Better to hope a guy who is sending you vague signals gets around to doing something.


Become the girl of a godly man's dreams.  And don't mess around with guys that aren't your godly prince.  I can't wait to hear your story!




Become the woman of your own dreams.  If you want a relationship, take steps to make it happen.  Have fun.

AntiPearl: Infatuation is when you think he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners. Love is when you realize that he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford — but you'll take him anyway. ~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975








Sunday, January 11, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Cinderella - Part 4

I, Leah, grew up in Texas, the oldest of five home-educated children.  I loved to play golf, tennis, and chess.  I graduated from the Culinary School of Fort Worth and Thomas Edison State College with a Bachelor's in Business Administration. 

Whoa!  Two people with actual college degrees. 

 The Culinary School of Fort Worth has accreditation through ACCET.  The curriculum appears to be comparable to a certificate program through a local community college.  Leah also probably completed her courses for Thomas Edison State College online - possibly through College Plus.   

 I worked as a reporter for a national political magazine and then at an adoption agency with young mothers-to-be in the residential program. 

Later in the chapter, Leah mentions her maiden name was "Driggers".  By using my good friend Google, I found that she had bylines at WORLD magazines from 2000-2002.  She covered the basic range of conservative political obsessions from sexuality to GOP coverage to home-schooling.

 One of the early articles she wrote was on maternity homes.  I found the article itself to be well-written, but very sad.  Most of the girls interviewed were at the houses to spare their family embarrassment.  It's like reading something out of the 1950's dragged forward into the 2000's.

 I told my parents I was looking for three things in a future husband: a man of God, a man of character and a man that commanded respect.  If he sought the Lord, I could trust him when our views differed because I knew he was praying.  If he had character, I'd never wonder where he was at night or what he was doing on the computer.  If I respected him, honor and submission would be easier.

Clearly, her liberal arts education didn't get her to look too deeply at her life.  

  • Man of God - Faith and prayer does not necessarily lead to the best decision-making skills.  Case-in-point: Michael Pearl.
  • Man of Character - Life brings many challenges besides worrying if your husband is having an affair.  I'm more interested if Leah's David would be brave enough to risk dissension in his church to protect the congregants from an abusive pastor.  Is Leah's David humble enough to treat Leah as a partner in marriage rather than a dependent child?
  • Man that Commands Respect - Better that he earns respect through his actions in life. 
Some other points Leah neglects to think about:
  • Sexual attraction - Chemistry is important.
  • Friendship - Marriage is better when you like your spouse.  (I feel stupid writing that, but it's so very true.)
  • Compatible habits - How neat is the house?  What temperature do you like the house set at?  What time do you go to bed?  What time do you get up at?  What's a normal vacation look like?  (No one's going to match up perfectly, but polar opposites should be aware of potential conflicts before marriage.)  
  • Similar goals - Do you want kids?  How many?  How much time will you spend with each family?  What are your career goals?  How important is learning to you?  (I broke off a promising relationship because my boyfriend felt that once you got to a job you like, your formal and informal education should end.  I literally gasped when he said that.  I love to learn new things and couldn't imagine being in a long-term relationship with someone who didn't feel the same way.  Notice - he wasn't a bad guy or an epic mistake a la the Pearl stories.  We were just poorly suited for each other.  I hope he's met and married a nice lady.)  How important is traveling for fun or for career?  


David was born in San Diego and moved to Texas when he was 13 years old, the second oldest of four children.  He played baseball and graduated from Oral Roberts University with a degree in finance.  David was looking "for a woman with a godly character that had a heart for the Lord with a strong foundation in the Word."

Oh!  So would David be willing to marry a Catholic theology major?  Hm?

On another topic, all of the guys seem to be looking for a cog.  A woman who just happens to be the right shape to fit into this life without changing anything at all. 


 I've seen this once or twice in person when I was dating online. Instead of asking questions to get to know the other person, you'd get a list like "Would you be willing to move to ______ to further my career?" "I want a wife who will help with my parents as they age.  Would you have any problems with this?" 

I never bothered replying to those types.  I'm far too interesting to subjugate my entire life to a self-important spouse.


From David:
A lot of the girls I met had no substance or character.  I would ask them questions about the Bible and marriage roles, but their answers were light and shallow. 

Flashback from college!  I went to a fairly liberal, small Catholic college.  While there, I met the super-conservatives through a roommate.  They were nice folks and gave me a good chance to argue with their more insane ideas.

For women who don't like a good heated discussion, there's always another option.  Be flighty.  Refuse to answer the question.  Be shallow.  Eventually, the other person will get fed up and leave.

But I digress:  Wasn't David so busy running after the Lord that he didn't have time to look left or right?

 Although many loved the Lord, they didn't know the Bible well and had little moral fiber.  It seemed they had no strong, secure relationship in the Lord. 

I have no idea how David was scoring a woman's relationship with the Lord.  I assume there is a rubric somewhere on line.....

 I wanted a girl that was so steadfastly grounded in the Lord that she would continue to seek Him even if the relationship didn't work out.

Not your problem or your business, David.  You are very nosy, FYI.

 I wanted a girl that had built character through turning toward the Lord through trials.  I also watched to see if she respected her father.

What if her father isn't worth the respect?  Can you twist your head around that one, David?  

[David launches into a boring sermon on trusting in God.  Forgive my refusal to inflict it on you.]

Also, you must not try and compare your past, failed relationships to what God may have for you in the future. Even if you've experienced unsuccessful relationships, you shouldn't become cynical about future relationships.  When you find the right one, there will be a peace.

Good save, David.  This is the first time anyone in this book implies that people can have more than one romantic relationship and not be totally ruined.

Of course, that topic was covered much more thoroughly in Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" which was published in 1811.

Yes, we are rehashing an argument from over 200 years ago.  


Although Leah was beautiful and attractive, the biggest draw for me was finding out that we shared a common passion for the Lord and that we both had a strong, personal relationship with Him.  She knew all the Vacation Bible School songs I grew up with - and the Bible stories.

*Giggles*

I'm sure this is a result of a poor editing choice - but I LOVE the idea that David was looking for the depth of a woman's relationship with the Lord based on her memory of VBS songs.

 She was grounded in the Word and more importantly, you could tell she had built character and faith from years of walking with God as a single woman.  She had truly established a strong relationship with God."

Got it.  Leah knows God; David knows God; marriage will ensue.

AntiPearl:“Colonel Brandon was now as happy, as all those who best loved him, believed he deserved to be;—in Marianne he was consoled for every past affliction;—her regard and her society restored his mind to animation, and his spirits to cheerfulness; and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend. Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby.” 
― Jane AustenSense and Sensibility

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Cinderella - Part 3

I found this next part confusing.  Leah is the author, but spends most of the time talking about David.  I'm pretty sure Leah is an actual person - not a Debi character - because bits of the story seem plausible.

David flew to Papua New Guinea for a two-month mission trip with orphans when he was 13 years old. 

Did David go to Papau New Guinea to work with orphans OR take a group of orphans on a two-month mission trip to Papau New Guinea?  

I have strong negative opinions about charity tourism. Kids need permanence, not a revolving cast of foreigners who appear for a few months then disappear again.  The kids have had enough loss in their lives; adding a new loss to get ChristianityBraggingPoints is twisted.

I'd be more impressed if he raised some money for the orphanage and sent it. Oh, and skipped the bragging.


 He felt directed to start building businesses to support and serve orphans worldwide.  He graduated with a finance degree, started his business and also volunteered with the youth at his church.

A non-ministry based career!  YAY!  They do exist!

Of course, you have to explain how it supports Christianity in a very direct, obvious manner.

Side note: Churches have more ministries than working with the kids, setting up socialization for unmarried adults, cooking for meetings and cleaning up...or they should.  With his finance degree, David should be on the finance 
committee in the parish/congregation or helping people get debt-free, or something adult.

Side note 2: Each church should have a board of elders/finance committee/etc that produces one public budget per year.  If your church doesn't have this, you are at high risk for misappropriation of funds.  We're all human, so transparency is critical.


  As far as dating, David didn't look to the left or right.  "If she wasn't marriage material, why date her?"  He was already honoring his future wife while many of his friends were dating around all through high school, college and afterwards.

David couldn't know if any girls were marriage material if he wasn't looking left or right.  

Humility is a virtue that is missing in this story.  We're on the second humblebrag in 50 words.


My husband and I both dated other people before we met each other.  I cared  about how he treated his previous girlfriends because that was a glimpse into his character.

After 27 years of waiting, David was the first guy I took to church, the first guy I took to a wedding and the first guy I brought home to Thanksgiving dinner.  Each "first" was like a special present I saved for him.  Once you realize a man is going to be your husband, you will wish you had not given any guy in your past any attention at all.

Ok, now Leah's diving into the absurd.  She's stated that she doesn't date, didn't date and now magically KNOWS that everyone else who dated is wracked with regret.

Wrong, Leah.  

There are also some HUGE problems with this "first" time as a gift mantra.

Problem One: Awesome firsts that you can't anticipate
I grew up in the city.  One of my favorite things on the farm has been watching calves be born.  It's such a magical process.  I will sit somewhere out of the way and laugh with sheer joy at the first minutes of a calf's life.  My husband grew up watching this and sharing it with me has allowed him to see the whole process with fresh eyes.

Tell me: How could I have predicted this?  How could he?


Problem Two: Idolization of first times

Apply the same logic to child-rearing
Since the first time is the only time that counts, my parents took me to the museum once as a child.  We went to the zoo once.  We watched one movie.  We went to one play.  We played at each playground once.


It's that stupid when you apply it to dating  courtship.

FYI: I went to all of those - minus the playground - on dates with men who I did not marry.  Going with my husband is absolutely awesome because he's awesome.

Problem Three: Widows, Widowers and Divorced Persons

Do these people become taboo?  Have substandard second marriages due to using up all the "firsts" on their previous marriage?

What a hurtful idea.

When I met David's friends, they all said the same thing: "Leah, you have the greatest guy in the whole world!  David has waited for you for a long time - we tried to set him up, but he wouldn't even give other girls the time of day.  You must be one special girl!"  How awesome that David honored me all those years!  I felt like a celebrity.

Weirdly enough, I had NEARLY the EXACT same things said to me when Nico introduced me to people!  Just cut out "we tried to set him up....of day."  

Plus, that bit is rather rude toward the other girls...or is a veiled warning that David is an oddball.

"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8).  Your single years are a unique opportunity for you to grow in your relationship with the Lord, preparing you to enter marriage with a solid faith, so you won't have to totally depend on your spouse for your faith. 

I have no idea how you would depend on your spouse for your faith.  That makes no sense at all.

Some of my sweetest times with the Lord were during my single years.  Once you marry, you will never again have that complete, utter dependence on the Lord.  

Leah must have had an idyllic - and probably short - marriage so far.  Even in the best marriage, people will need to depend on the Lord because living with another human being can be deeply frustrating at time.

We all have friends that "cannot" be single - they must always have someone.  But I would encourage you to relish these times with just you and the Lord. 

It's ironic that Leah and Debi keep harping on the extreme of people who cannot be alone without realizing that they advocate the harmful extreme of always being alone except for a future spouse.

 "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him" (Isaiah 64:4)  When it is time to enter a relationship, you will know Him and be able to discern if this is His will.

Leah's advocating discernment in relationships!  I'm gonna hope that she means discerning if the relationship is healthy and productive for BOTH partners instead of the "mold yourself to him" method of the Pearls.

AntiPearl:The first time I sang in the church choir; two hundred people changed their religion.