Here’s the last reason to get married quickly—once you’ve found the right person—direct from Passion and Purity. This is Elizabeth writing on Jim’s time away at college; my comments are in parentheses. “A strange thing happened during Jim’s senior year in college. He called it his Renaissance—a new openness to social life, friendships with people he did not consider specially “spiritual,” the freedom to date if he felt like dating, (Why not marry if he felt like marrying?) and a great deal of clowning, giving vent to his native flair for acting and mimicry. (Did you have him take a drug test? Have you considered alcohol?) I heard of it secondhand and was offended. (No doubt.) What had happened to him? A psychologist could explain it easily no doubt. (I’d like to hear that explanation.) Jim’s explanation was simply that the Lord had liberated him from some old restraints, enabling him to reach out, break barriers, enjoy things. He admitted that he carried it too far. (Really?) There were some “kissing incidents” reported to me in letters from other students.” (Maybe that’s why Elizabeth Elliott recommended The Heart of the Rose!) And later, he wrote to Elizabeth, after asking forgiveness, “And I am erased. If there is more that I must do, I stand ready for reproof. Do you expect yet more of me?”12 “Yes!” I would have said, “If you can all do that, you can marry me. Since you like to take chances and live life on the edge!” But Elizabeth didn’t say that, and, “If you were waiting for the opportune moment...that was it.”13 :-) That is the number one proof that Jim Elliott needed a wife whether he could make up his mind or not. I’ve read that chapter in the book several times and still do not understand what was going on in their minds. Whilst reading, I wish I could step into the book and knock their heads together, then drag them to the nearest Justice of the Peace. :-)
Joshua Harris’ next book, Boy Meets Girl, was a good read and again, he presents his ideas in suggestion form. I enjoyed his and Shannon’s story but some of the others made my stomach churn. Yes, they are nice and all but they are not the norm. I’ve heard lots of courtship stories before but these were far out. Come on, really, how many people can afford a helicopter to whisk them away from the reception? Don’t treat this as normal! The same goes for all the courtship stories I’ve read about cross-country flights and white-horse proposals. (I’d describe myself as typically romantic but if a guy rode up on a white horse and asked me to marry him, I’d probably sock him in the jaw for embarrassing me in front of the neighbors. That, or run away, yelling, “No way!” or “Who are you again?” or “Help! He needs his head checked! Someone call 911!” I haven’t decided. :-) ) Thankfully, there are no white-horse proposals in Boy Meets Girl but there is the big issue: the first kiss.
Having never been kissed, I cannot draw from personal experience but I can say that kissing seems to be highly over-rated. So over-rated that Christians are encouraging each other to wait until the wedding day to share their first kiss in front of 10-500 people. It must be wonderful if it requires such an audience! Funny thing, I’ve never seen my parents kiss in public—they barely hold hands while out and about—and they didn’t wait until the alter to kiss. Most of my friends’ parents kissed before they got married and seem fine; it’s not like they went past kissing. Let’s see, who else kissed before marriage? Betsy and Joe (of Betsy-Tacy), Laura and Almanzo (of Little House), Jo and Fritz, Amy and Laurie (of Little Women), Anne and Gilbert (of Green Gables), Irene and Curdie (of Princess and the Goblin), Rilla and Ken (of Ingleside), my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and the list goes on. They didn’t seem to have any trouble. Josh Harris handles this subject well and doesn’t expect every couple to follow his and Shannon’s lead. But others do and try to shove this teaching down everyone’s throats. Not everyone is going to fit into this box and I don’t think it’s fair to try to make people feel bad over a non-salvation issue. I think I’d rather have my first kiss in private when I become engaged and not in front of a crowd of wedding guests. But that’s my and my fiancé’s choice, not anyone else’s. This is a personal choice for everyone and should not be mandated by any man-made rules. Case Closed.