Purity for Pre-Teen Girls

princess and the kissA few years back, my daughter was given a copy of “The Princess and the Kiss” for a birthday gift.  Back then its significance was not something she was ready to consider; but now we are all too quickly approaching her 13th birthday.  Although her father and brother I am sure will serve as worthy bodyguards, and she is still covering her eyes (and simultaneously rolling them) at kissing scenes in movies  (I mean innocent “Anne of Green Gables” types), I know the time will come when she will need to have an answer for that all-important question:  “How will I know who to give my first to, and when?”

I think of the character of Amy in the most recent “Little Women” movie, who, while still very young, said, “I’ve waited all  my life to be kissed.”  Hollywood makes much of the physical aspect of relationships, so that viewers come away with the idea that that is all there is (or at least that it is to be the primary focus).  I want Erin to have a higher-than-mere-romance reverence for this precious gift of her purity, even in its “smallest” manifestations.  The very first gesture of affection which opens the door of “romance” for even the smallest peek – even this should be reserved as holy…a carefully guarded treasure.

No, I do not believe a kiss is a small gesture between a man and woman.  As testimony to this, I’ll tell you that my husband and I did not share our first kiss until our wedding day.  I am not saying that kind of restraint is easy, or that we didn’t struggle.  The discipline was good for both of us.  There was delight in the prospect of knowing we had saved it all to enjoy with consecrated abandon.  I even had someone ask me how I knew I wanted to marry Patrick, if I had never kissed him.  That is another manifestation of the Hollywood idea…the whole “fireworks” thing as proof that “he is the one.”  My response to her was that anyone can be taught to kiss.  Simply put, it is a skill.  But integrity and purity, holiness and honorable commitment – the things that are woven into the fabric of one’s character -these are what a believer brings to offer their future spouse at the marriage altar.  The foundation of a romance between believers is much more solid than base chemistry (aka hormones).  It is not about sexual prowess, and seeking socially acceptable/church-sanctioned license to exercise it. That is the stuff for Vegas drive-thru chapels. No–every fragment of the physical relationship is intended to be fresh and new; thrilling and at the same time sacred.

I have grown to love this little book, which emphasizes the importance of preserving yourself–hopes, dreams, actions and reactions, thoughts and motives–for God first, and then for your spouse, if He wills.  No regrets, no tarnished memories.  I highly recommend this beautifully illustrated treasure, written by Jennie Bishop.  Buy it for a young girl this Christmas.

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7 thoughts on “Purity for Pre-Teen Girls

  1. sheilas. says:

    Let me say that I’ve never met you and have only seen a little snippet of a picture of your lovely face and I don’t know (or care! – as if it’s any of my business or concern) what you look like. So this is not a reflection of you or any person in particular! Probably in the majority I would agree with you and I think you are spot on. God is a spirit and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. I believe that the spirit is what is eternal and what is most important. But we can’t ignore physicality. After all God did create humans with bodies. I’m taking a chance on saying this and I don’t mean to be ungracious in the least, but it does make me cringe a little bit when I hear other women talk about “base” chemistry and seemingly write off the God-given sexual urges as well, “base” and almost uncouth. Please accept my apologies if I have misunderstood or misrepresented anything. I don’t claim to be any Georgia Peach myself, but I wonder if perhaps our men are tempted even more than they need to be in these areas because Christian wives let themselves go too much (Yes, I realize age does happen!) without even trying at all to improve upon themselves at all and view anything physical as “inferior” or “carnal.”

  2. sheilas. says:

    I went back and reread your post. Again, overall I do agree with you. Maybe it’s just me and the context and my associations and life experiences. Your post, to me, seemed a little dichotomic. On the one hand, I wholeheartedly agree that the physical aspect of a relationship is sacred and to be cherished! But on the other hand, and perhaps this is where I’m contextualizing too much from my own experiences, the same post seemed to downplay and pooh-pooh too much anything physical as “too Hollywood” and “a false fantasy.” (Do I use quotation marks too much? :)) I think I get what you’re saying in that we should teach our girls not to get wrapped up in a unrealistic, mushy, too-fantastical-to-be-real-life, delusional, false-Hollywood expectations about this part of life. I wholeheartedly agree! Perhaps I’m overreacting too much from the complete opposite extreme that I’ve seen in my own personal life with my experiences. I’ve seen women completely let themselves go after marriage becaue “I snagged him” and not try in the least to make themselves physically attractive. I realize that Hollywood and the media do distort reality, but we don’t need to take the other extreme and completely disregard the physical and make even try to make ourselves attractive to our spouses. Unfortunately I’ve seen too much of this in my experiences. Perhaps balance is the word I’m looking for.

  3. Diane says:

    Hi Sheila,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments. Please understand, I am not discounting that sexual urges occur. Hormones were created by God; but they do not define biblical love. This is where the world messes up. Attraction and lust are equated with love. Those urges are intended to be indulged in only in the proper context, and then absolutely with joyful abandon. The problem arises in that we need to govern our flesh and, as Paul said, to keep our bodies under. This needs to be learned, and early…our deceitful hearts will surely not encourage it. It is for this reason that I advocate what I discussed in my post. The flesh will gladly accept any slack it is given and always ask for more. To trust our own ability to control it is foolish. Everything about the world invites and seduces us to exercise no restraint.

    I too made selfish and thoughtless choices in relationships prior to my husband. I came from a background that encouraged “if it feels good, do it,” was not saved until late in my teens, and only by God’s grace was my purity preserved. That’s giving it to you straight. This, in part, motivated the choice to reserve all for the “appointed time.” I did not want the added struggle, the increased burden, the skewing of my thought life…there was too much at stake. I don’t believe God wants that for us either. I am in no way saying disregard the physical…I’m saying guard it. It is a gift.

    I’m not sure I’m following your connection with the “let yourself go” idea with some wives, or how it associates with this post. I have addressed some similar ideas in posts about mid-life crisis and dealing with your husband’s temptation. If you want to clarify your ideas, I’ll listen. :)

  4. sheilas. says:

    “I’m not sure I’m following your connection with the “let yourself go” idea with some wives, or how it associates with this post. I have addressed some similar ideas in posts about mid-life crisis and dealing with your husband’s temptation. If you want to clarify your ideas, I’ll listen. ”

    Thanks for the reply. I probably wasn’t clear at all and just made a desultory post that seemed to ramble in all directions. I’ll try better to explain where I at first was coming from.

    At first glance I perhaps misunderstood your post and thought that you were emphasizing ONLY the spiritual and completely disregarding the physical when it comes to teaching girls. I agree that physical union is wonderful and a part of marriage. Here is what I was trying to address: The complete abandonment by women of anything physical. In the haste to run from sexual temptation, it seems as if the pendulum has swung to the radical extreme. Or in other words, women will, once they are married, completely neglect themselves phyically and gain twice their weight and basically not even try at all to make themselves look attractive. It’s as if we (Not you specifically! I’m speaking in great generalities!)almost get a “holier-than-thou’ attitude and think we are somehow “more spiritutal” or “more mature” if we ONLY focus our lives on the spiritual. In our hast to run from all temptation, it’s as if we throw out the baby with the bathwater. Sometimes people need to be reminded that, believe it or not, sex is not evil and that God actually created it. Marriage is a place to honor the physical union. In my opinion (which may not be worth anything! :)), I see many women actually dishonor, if you will, marriage by completetly abandoning themselves without so much as lifting a finger to try to improve themselves physically.

    Maybe it’s a matter of extremes.
    The Hollywood, worldy models: Complete emphasis on the physical with little regard to the honor of marriage and love. The “Christian” model: Complete disregard of all that’s physical and even a sardonic disdain for anything related to physical attraction between spouses.

    Without trying to being crude or crass, I almost think some women practically throw their husbands into temptation and right into the lion’s den by trying to be attractive when dating, and then completely disregarding themselves physically once they get married.

  5. Diane says:

    Hi again Sheila,
    Okay, I am more on your page now. I was trying to connect your comments somehow to the topic of the post, when it is actually a bunny trail, in a fast-forward kind of way. =)

    The Christian life is about balance, and this topic is no different. While we are denying the flesh and preserving purity, we are also permitted and encouraged to revel in the physical union within the confines of marriage. If you have not seen this post (http://strengthfortoday.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/responding-correctly-to-your-christian-husbands-sexual-temptations/ )regarding the sexual temptation of Christian husbands, it would be worth a peek…not expressly because of what I have to say on the topic, but because there are some great links there that provide some very good direction. I commend them to you wholeheartedly. It will give you a better feel for where I am coming from, and I think you will agree with them as well.

    Blessings,
    ~Diane

  6. larryk12309 says:

    Thankfully one of the better shows on TV is The Duggars on TLC.

    They talk allot about kissing on that show.

    It’s a great counterpoint to iCarly.

    http://larryk12309.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/exploding-dad-alert/

  7. Diane says:

    Hi Larry,
    Thanks for visiting. I am not familiar with the shows you mentioned (we have no TV, except for PBS, and a couple “regular” channels intermittently like CBS, NBC…but we rarely watch them). I am assuming you are saying the Duggars are on the same page with the message of this book?

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