Toulouse: Do you believe in Beauty?
Christian: Yes, of course.
Christian: Love? Love. Above all things I believe in love.
Moulin Rouge (2001)
If my grandmother was alive today, I promise you she would declare we are living in the last days. Why you ask? The negative reactions to the “wait until we are married to kiss and have sex” couple in Chicago was a bit of a shock and over the top. The naysayer’s emotions range from fear to disgust to ridicule to disbelief. What exactly about this couple’s CHOICE has resulted in pulling of the hair and gnashing of the teeth? But first, a little background…
Melody LaLuz, 28, and Claudaniel Fabien, 30, married last Saturday after a two-year friendship and a one year courtship. The couple, who teach abstinence at Chicago Public School, decided that the “no-kiss, no-sex before marriage” rule would be their chosen path to a successful marriage. According to Fabien, “It really tested us and encouraged us to grow closer in our hearts and minds, just expressing things verbally. In order to keep their pledge, the couple did such things as refraining from laying down while watching movies and making sure they were never alone in the house.
While I am not a prude or a virgin, I can certainly understand why the meeting of the minds and hearts were of a higher priority than sex or anything that could possibly lead to sex for this couple. Most importantly, IT IS THEIR CHOICE…the decision of two consenting adults. While some think it is impossible to have a deep, meaningful, passionate, loving relationship without kissing and sex, for some people it is possible. And to take it a step further, there can be physical intimacy without the aforementioned sexual activities. What about holding hands, brushing the hair out of someone’s face, stroking an arm, just sitting next to someone… Let’s take it another step further, what about those great loves that were initiated by a simple exchange of glances or intense fiery relationships fueled only by love letters…
At this point, there is no doubt to my readers realize that I am a fervent believer in love and all its possibilities. Some of my favorite movies bear out expansive, over-arching, other-wordly, consuming love: Elizabeth, City of Angels, Moulin Rouge, Before Sunset, Sense and Sensibility, Just Like Heaven…even Gladiator, 300, and Bram Stroker’s Dracula (I was rooting for Dracula!). My motto (stolen from Moulin Rouge) could easily be “The greatest things you’ll ever learn is to give love…and receive love in return.”
But for those not completely consumed with love or are partial to it, let’s talk about practicality. With half the marriages ending in divorce (and I am sure most of those DID NOT abstain), does it not make sense that this couple and others would put forth alot of effort, which ever way they see fit, trying to make their marriage as strong as it can be BEFORE the vows? With the numerous couple who go into marriage with various challenges such as immaturity/youth, out-of-wedlock children situation, prior marriages/relationship baggage, infidelity before marriage, differences in morals, differences in values, differences in expectations of marriage, isn’t it incredibly responsible for this couple to spend as much time as possible talking/discussing/decision-making and not being sidetracked by that wonderful thing we call sex.
On top of that, are they not also offering children and teens (and some adults) an option to the highly sexualized American culture. Yes, sex is great…I will yell it from the mountaintops…I have yelled such appreciation at certain times in my life but I digress… The point is that intense focus on sexual activity can lead to some very undesirable situations for young people (and some older ones) so taking such a the bold step to abstain before marriage should be complimented and discussed not ridiculed.
At worst, the couple might find out they need to work on their sex life. Grab some books, watch some movies…not a bad problem to have. What did Dr. Phil say, “Sex is 10% of a good marriage and 90% of a bad marriage.” The Chicago couple’s marriage can’t turn out any worse than half of the other marriages and most likely will turn out much better.
Good luck to Melody and Claudaniel!