Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dating disasters vs. the Jewish strategy

Somehow it seems that many beautiful, intelligent, sweet women are attracting, and attracted to, Peter Pans, bad boys, men who are unwilling to commit, and destructive relationships in general. They are unhappy, but don't know any better, and don't understand how these vicious patterns ruin their lives.

I think it's very important - in case you haven't done this already - to know what you want from a relationship, and which qualities are especially important to you in your future partner. It's amazing how many people enter a relationship without a deeper thought than, "whoa, that's a really cute guy/girl, let's start hanging out and see how it goes". See what I mean? I don't think you should sit down and make a long list of demands, becoming picky and narrowing your choices. I mean compatibility in very basic things, such as for example willingness to commit and compromise, kindness, patience, maturity, and also long-term goals such as marriage and children.

That's actually how we religious Jews work things out. We focus on important, basic personal qualities, and other crucial things such as level of religious observance, and go along with them. We discuss it from the beginning, often on the first date - which is almost never a movie, because then you don't have freedom to talk and really get to know each other. The direction of the relationship is determined without too much dillydallying; if major issues arise and it's clearly a no-go, it just breaks off. It really doesn't have to take ages. We also pay attention to subtle hints which may indicate an unstable or abusive personality.

When I think about my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, from before I became observant, I see that the mistakes I made could have been prevented simply by following what I mentioned earlier. I didn't think about the direction the relationship was taking - I simply got involved with him without thinking too much. We didn't talk about long-term goals, focusing on fun. I ignored his tendency to always do things his way, his short temper, his inability to compromise, his disregard of my needs. Is it any wonder I woke up one day and realized I'm aimlessly dating an emotionally - and physically - abusive Peter Pan?

Another thing about Jewish dating is that we don't touch. At all. Until marriage. This includes kissing, hugging, and even holding hands. Also, we don't remain alone together until marriage. I know this might sound extremely weird to you, but if you think about it, I'm sure you'll find at least some sense in it. Touching is very powerful. Sex is very powerful. It creates - especially for women, but for men as well, I think - a strong connection which is very difficult to break. Sexual attraction and lust can become a factor that makes you stay with the wrong person.

That's another example of what happened with me and my ex-boyfriend. By having sex with him, I became very emotionally connected and dependent on him. I felt I gave him such a big part of myself I didn't know how to break up without destroying that part of self. If only I withheld sexual relations until the point when he first hit me, breaking up wouldn't have been so painful, and maybe I could have done it sooner.

When I finally broke up with him, I was in such pain I didn't know if I'm ever going to get married, or have a relationship again. What helped me a lot was deciding I don't want to suffer. I wanted a good, healthy relationship. This might sound very trivial - after all, who wants to be miserable? But my past attitude said just the opposite. I was stuck in a horrible relationship, and didn't realize I deserve any better.

Several times during that period, I had opportunities to start something new, with someone who appreciated me and wanted to make me happy. I then had a twisted line of thinking - "this man cares about me, but I'm so unworthy, so if he treats me right and appreciates me so much, he probably can't get anything better and this means he's a real loser". Mad, huh? But this, I think, is also part of the reason why women with low self-esteem are stuck in bad relationships, and deny the good guys who have real potential to give them a decent life and make them happy.


Terry said...

I don't know if you even realize how important this post is! There are so many young women caught in this destructive cycle. What's worse, they keep throwing good emotional currency after bad because with each bad relationship, they are left with a little less self-worth and are more vulnerable to the next 'bad boy' or abusive raltionship that comes their way. Only the love of our heavenly Father can rescue these young women from themselves. I pray that more earthly fathers will do their part by building up their daughters and training their sons.

Rebekah S. said...

Outstanding post, Anna(like always)!!

I must say, the Jewish people are amazingly wise in this area! If only we Christians lived like you do! We're so dumb half the time, that we just date and date and date, not even bothering to see what God's Word itself says on these subjects- instead of doing what the world says! So, thank you for this outstanding post, that is so needed in today's world! So many just don't realize the joy and fulfillment they could experience if they would court-rather than date. It saves so much heartache and misery! I'm only 15, but at my old church(which I'm so glad the Lord took me from!), I had the biggest crush on a boy there. I discovered that by liking him so much, I was giving pieces of my heart to him. The Lord showed me the tremendous error of my ways, and I'm so glad He did! Blessed be His name.

May you have a wonderful, peaceful week, dear Anna! :)


P.S. In this post, you revealed a lot about your past dating experince. My heart goes out to you for experiencing all this(and to all the other poor girls who have experienced the same)! Your testimony is so powerful, and will hopefully open the eyes of many young ladies, who seem to think dating is the way to go. Keep up the great work!

Rebekah S. said...

Outstanding post, Anna(as always)!! :)

I'm amazed with how wise the Jewish people are in this area!! If only we Christians lived more like you do! Too often, we Christians are too dumb, for we date and date and date, rather than obeying God's Word. We instead go after what the world says is cool and right-dating and impurity! We're really ruining our witness for God when we act like the world! I just wish more females(and males) would see the beauty of courting. They could be saved from so much misery and unfulfillment if they didn't date! At my old church(which I'm so thankful the Lord took me from!) I had a huge crush on a guy there. The Lord showed me the huge error of my ways, for I soon discovered that by liking this guy so much, I was giving pieces of my heart away to him. I'm so thankful that the Lord changed me! Blessed be His name.

I hope you have a peaceful and wonderful week, Anna!


P.S. In this post, you revealed a lot about your past dating experience. My heart goes out to you and to all the other ladies who have experienced this!! Your testimony is so powerful, and I believe the Lord will use it to show countless girls the problems of dating! Keep up the great work, Anna!

Rebekah S. said...

Oops, Anna. Please don't comment my second long comment or this one. I didn't think my first one had gone through, so I did another one. Sorry! Just ignore it. :)

Gothelittle Rose said...

Unfortunately, there are a lot of otherwise Christian families in the U.S. (and likely elsewhere, especially in Europe) who have let secular reasoning creep in, especially in the area of sexual 'freedom'. I was very lucky in that my mother's dating advice was not what you get from the television and movies!

To clarify... to me, a "date" was going out to dinner or movie or just to walk the mall with a guy with whom I did not hold hands, hug, or kiss. We did go out alone (which I was allowed to do over the age of 20) but always to public places.

I had interest in about four or five guys, actually truly dated two of them, and married the second of those. I'm blessed to have avoided many of the pitfalls around today's openly sexual culture!

Do I have a point? Well, sort of. Among smaller, less secular groups of Christian families, especially among homeschooling families, is a choosing-a-mate strategy that very closely follows what you identified as the Jewish way :) "We" do it too!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I can relate to this post, and just like you I can praise God that He has blessed me with a man after His own heart. It wasn't always this way however.

I married my first boyfriend at 18 years old, a Peter-Pan and abusive man. I was a woman with a hurting and needy heart and he was able to notice that and use it to his advantage. I was encouraged/forced to give him too much too soon, and although I loved God more than this man, I allowed myself to give all to him in fear of losing the only "love" I had ever known.

After six years of marriage and the blessing of a beautiful daughter, he left me for another woman, never to return. Rather than remain bitter, hurt, and heartbroken, I turned my eyes to my precious God and HE restored what the locust had taken and healed me. He (God) enabled me to support my daughter and build a new life, just the three of us - God, my daughter, and myself.

Out of the blue, he brought my current husband into my life. I was able to begin this new relationship WITH MY EYES OPEN AND MY HEART HEALED AND WHOLE by the grace of God - That has made all the difference.

My husband is a Godly man, a loving husband and father, and my greatest blessing. We made a decision to remain pure in all areas of physical contact until the wedding day - There is no greater joy! Our first kiss was at our wedding:-)

I shared all of this because I know that you have readers of all ages here and my words, and my testimony, may encourage just one person to remain pure or become pure again before God and in their relationship/life.

Blessings upon you Anna for sharing your heart with us. It made me feel a connection with you and I pray that God continues to use you as a light in Blog-land!


-A reader in AZ

Anonymous said...

My much turmoil you went through! I am so happy that you realized your mistakes early on. God has helped you turn your thoughts & actions around, & now, by His grace, a beautiful future awaits you! Bless you!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for opening up and sharing so deeply. I hope many single women of all ages will listen to the wisdom in this post.
God's way of doing things really is the best way.


Flower said...

This is the same way Muslims get married.


Sue said...


I have one question after learning about the courtship pattern of observant Jews, which we Americans could do well by using in whole or in part. Do you sometimes have arranged marriages? I've met two people originally from India but now living in the U.S., but whose marriages were arranged by their parents in India. They both said their marriages were as good or better as their Indian friends in the U.S. who selected their mates on their own the "American way". So I'm not necessarily agaihst arranged marriages, just wondering if they are part of marriage in your culture.



Stephanie said...


May God reward your openness and honesty, and speak to others through you.

You are the first person that I have met that has said you will have no physical contact before marriage.

When my hubby and I were engaged, we did not kiss or have other physical contact, except that we did hold hands a couple times. Keep in mind I live in North America with no one influencing us to stay away from each other... There was no cultural influence affecting our choice. I am so glad we did! I believe it is the way God wants it... Instead of "How much can we do?" ask yourself, "How much can I save for my wedding day?" Its worth the wait!

Catherine R. said...

Oh Anna, these recommendations are so wise. Our culture, educators, media, family members and society at large have all told me that it's not only okay to date with an totally aimless mindset, (save that of feeling good and having fun) but that it's expected that you engage in sexual activity because, of course, you have to 'test drive' the person to see if you are physically compatible. I didn't even know that there were people who did it differently! I learned through painful experience after experience, that this method of relating to opposite sex was basically killing me. I knew that somewhere out there, there were people who didn't have sex until they were married but I thought it was only Amish people or bizarre cult members. I had sex for the first time when I was 12 years old and by the time I realized that I wish I had waited until I got married to do it, I had the emotional trauma of many many sexual partners in my past as well as an aborted baby. Our heavenly Father has forgiven me now for my horribly misguided ways, but a past like mine is not easy to erase and I think what the world leads women to is a story like mine at best. Thank you for advocating some very wise behaviors! No! You are not old fashioned or crazy...truly it is the world that is crazy. I appreciate you so much!

Apple Cider Mama said...

Oh, Anna, I could have written this post myself, though perhaps not so eloquently.

My husband and I dated when we were in college at a school here in the states known nationwide for it's good academics...and it's rampant promiscuity. Our friends could not believe that we didn't kiss or hang out in each other's dorm rooms. But, then, they would all come to me saying, "You're so lucky. If I could just find a guy like Brian who treated me so well, then I'd be set." Well? I kept wondering, Why don't you hold out for a guy like Brian, then, instead of throwing yourself into the arms of any guy who you think is good-looking and will have you?

My heart breaks for my dear friends who find themselves in these dead-end, emotionally and physically promiscuous relationships. They get so deep that they feel they can't get out, even when the man they are with refuses to commit to them in any real way year after year after year. Let's continue praying for these women; they are so very lost, and God wants more for them.

Btw...Praise God for the transformation He has wrought in your life! He is truly good, isn't He?

Andrea said...

Anna, thank you for posting this. I enjoyed reading all of it, but your last paragraph especially has, however unintentionally, helped give me some insight into the heart of somebody very close to me. I could never understand her relationship patterns before, but . . . the way you've worded it, it was just like a light bulb popped on!

Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

In response to RebekaS's thoughts...

Please don't generalize the dating practices of Christians. I can share a number of stories of non-touch dating. Thank you.

Ewokgirl said...

I appreciate your honesty in this post. So many women need to hear this message, and who better to give it than someone who has lived it? I hope your words will bless many and perhaps keep someone from making a life-altering mistake.

Mermade said...

Anna, you are an extremely wise young woman. As I have said before, I learn so much from you as a fellow young woman who is currently thinking about marriage and my future. I just broke up with my boyfriend of five years. One of the reasons we broke up is because he would hang out with people who made me compromise my standards, and also because he ultimately had little interest in doing something productive with his life (he wanted to drop out of college, not pursue much of a career, and move in with those friends I disliked). It hurts. He is four years older than me, but I am ahead of him in terms of college credits and knowing where I want to go in life. I think he is a good person, but ultimately, it didn't work out. I also want to marry a man who cares deeply about his faith and encourages me in my walk with the Lord. My now ex-fiancee had an indifferent attitude about faith. He never discouraged me from it, but he never seemed really that into it, either.

Although I am sad that it ended, I also feel remarkably relieved and am learning so much from being single. I feel more at ease and closer to God, because I am now learning more about myself and therefore what I ultimately want out of marriage. I want a man who cares about his faith, has ambition, and surrounds himself with quality people. I will be highly selective of who I choose to date from now on. It's a learning experience. I don't regret the years I spent with him, because they are a part of my life story now, and taught me so much, but I now know what I do NOT want out of a relationship as well.

Thanks again for your post. I may link to it on my blog if I get the time today.

Holly said...

Dear Anna, would you please share the story of how you met your chatan?

Karen said...

Poor Anna! I didn't know what all you went through! Well you are a strong woman now and definitely seem to be on the right track. It is very eye-opening to see what a woman is thinking in this situation...I have always wondered what they were thinking! I felt liek I had low self esteem but I'd see girls who were prettier and just seemed to have more going for them than me, and yet they'd be with totally undeserving guys, and I never was because I guess because my dad made me expect better. I'm so sorry you didn't have that. But thank you so much for giving me some insight into this because I feel sometimes I have been too harsh on such girls for being so silly! LOL. Now I understand!!

ChRlswfe4Jesus said...

You have used your words wisely. I have to agree with no touch and never being alone as wonderful 'tools' in choosing a mate. I also see this as a Biblical way, not just a Jewish way. Dawn

Candy :) said...

HI Anna :)
I was reading your blog on bloglines like I normally do every day :) and thought I would write a comment about this post.
I think it is wise, biblical and admirable that you chose to not touch at all before marriage. I could go into a log comment here and why its so important and how I wish more young ladies would chose and DESIRE that path too. But you said it well in your post as usual :) and I just wanted to tell you I think your one amazing young lady! And may God continue to bless you and bless your upcoming marriage abundantly.
You are simply a beautiful young lady insde and out.


Anna S said...

Sue, "arranged marriage" is a somewhat vague term, I think. If you mean, "are there introductions of a potential wife/husband made by parents?" - then yes, absolutely. But after the introduction is made, it's all up to the young couple. No one is forcing anyone to marry.

Anna S said...

Holly, the story is very simple: we met through a dating website for religious Jewish singles, exchanged phone numbers, and started seeing each other. Very soon, he proposed.

Holly said...

How lovely Anna, Mazel Tov!

Zeljka said...

I am not jew, I am roman catholic, but we obviously hava a lot in common. In example - same God that we belive in :) and same standards.

I just hope I will be able to raise my children that way and not be faced with their serial dating miseries and pains. I guess I must start praying for that... now!

Rebekah S. said...

Haus Frau,

Hi! I'm sorry if I came across that way. I was not at all trying to insinuate that all dating relationships are promiscuous. I was speaking on what America's(and the cultures of other countries) culture teaches that dating is/what it's for. Many Christians have fallen prey to this sort of dating-they don't look any different from the world. I was of course not saying though, that every single Christian who dates is like the world and is impure! I was simply showing that courtship is far better than the way most Christians date. There's a really great CD lecture entitled "7 Biblical Truths Violated by Christian Dating" by Mr. S.M. Davis. It's put out by Vision Forum, and is something that many people would tremendously benefit from!

May the Lord bless you! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna for this post. Right now, I feel so sad for the decisions that I have made. I chose to remain a virgin until marriage and fell in love with a man who was a new Christian. We married almost a year and a half ago and have a baby boy together who is a few months old.

My marriage has been a disaster. It has been emotionally taxing for me. He is not really a Christian. He smokes, decided he wanted to become a "rapper" and spends every weekend in the club promoting his music. I have seen emails where he flirts with other females and encourages them to call him. He does not want me to be a stay at home mother to our child, preferring instead for him to go to daycare. A woman sent me an email telling me that they have been having an affair for almost a year. But, he vehemently denies it.

I want to get a divorce soooooo bad!!! I wish I had been wiser. I should have married a man who was a strong Christian, with longer evidence of living the Christian life. I had been wise in my relationships up until him. Me being a "silly" woman in the end and marrying this man has made my life miserable, and my parents stressed with worry, because they know that I deserve better, and think that I should leave him.

But, I want our son to grow up with both parents in the home. But, I'm wondering if that's a good enough reason to stay with someone who so obviously does not really love me or want me to be truly happy.

So, I encourage all unmarried ladies to really pray and seek God before deciding to marry someone, talk to your parents, and really know that this man leads a life of integrity. It will save you much heartache later on.

Anna, do you have any thoughts on this? What if things never get better. Do I suffer through it because I made vows? Or free myself from this emotionally destructive relationship? Any thoughts would be welcome.


MarkyMark said...

Hi Anna,

It's me again! This was a great post, one of your best yet. As one who's approached dating both ways as you have, I came to the same conclusions you did-that promiscuity is NOT the route to happiness! I wish more women would follow your example; they'd be MUCH happier if they did. I'm sorry you had to learn this in such a hard, painful way; that said, I'm so glad you learned the RIGHT LESSONS from your situation, and that you made the changes you have in your life...

Unfortunately, very, very, very few women learn the same lessons from similar experiences. They go with one bad boy, then another, and another, and another. They keep this up until their early-mid thirties; at this point, their looks are starting to fade, and the players, outlaw bikers, thugs, and bad boys (with whom they've spent their entire lives) no longer want them. When they lose their appeal to the bad boys, these women decide that they want good guys like me. Uh, Darlin', if the kitten didn't want me, I do NOT want the cat!

It's not only because I want to mean more to someone than being their 'consolation prize', though that's a major part of it. It's because, as these women (a vast majority of them, I'm afraid) have given themselves to many men, they've also lost a piece of themselves too each time they slept with a man; by the time they decide that they're ready to settle down, they're so angry, bitter, and plain USED UP that no decent guy would want them. I know I certainly wouldn't...

Now, I have some questions. I don't know if you'd prefer to answer this comment, or perhaps do a blog post instead? Such an answer would make not only a DANDY blog post; it would also be a nice follow-up to this insightful post. Now, on with my questions...

As I said before, you learned the RIGHT LESSONS from your experiences; how is it you were able to learn the right lessons, and make the needed changes, while a vast majority of women are not? Why is it you were able to learn your lesson after ONE bad relationship, while most other women take years, if not DECADES, to figure out that chasing abusive, bad boy boyfriends is counterproductive? I'm not asking these questions to be flippant; I'm asking because I'm GENUINELY curious.

I'm curious because I and other good guys I know have been on the RECEIVING end of the same type of reasoning you used towards good guys before you wised up. It's happened so often to so many guys that many of us are simply opting out of the dating game; many of us are saying 'no more'. There's a website,, where girls not only have the same reasoning (that nice guys must be losers no one else wants); they also say bad things about them. I'm not talking about little, catty comments about the shoes being out of style, either; I'm talking about stuff I'd be ashamed to say in front of the fine ladies here.

Furthermore, many guys think that girls LOVE guys who mistreat them; after all, it's the jerks who have girls by the harem. Many of us think this because actions speak louder than words; they always have, and they always will. An old African proverb says that I cannot hear what you say, for your actions speak too loud. How true it is.

I served in the US Navy about 20 years ago (my goodness, has it been THAT long?!). On my second ship, I was a mail petty officer. Each division had a mail PO, whose job it was to get the mail, and pass it out to the guys when 'mail call' was announced. I was mail PO for my division. I was honored to have such a position of trust.

Anyway, there was this guy in my division (who I'll call Danny, which is not his real name) who was a "ladies' man". A theory he often postulated was that, if you want to get the chicks, then you MUST treat them like crap. I didn't want to believe it, let alone buy into it. However, the evidence doesn't lie; Danny got more mail (almost all of it from women, BTW) then THE REST OF THE GUYS PUT TOGETHER! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes To me, that was proof positive that Danny was right. Much to my consternation, Danny seemed to be right; after all, he had the RESULTS to back him up.

The examples of beautiful movie stars & models bear this out. For example, Heather Locklear was THE cat's meow 20 years ago; she was one of the most beautiful women who ever lived, a woman who could have gotten ANY MAN ON EARTH who she wanted. Who did she end up with? Tommy Lee, rock star (member of Motley Crue), drug user, alcohol abuser, wife beater, etc. He's covered with tattoos. He's skin & bones. He's not at all good looking. In other words, he's an all-round SCUMBAG. Even so, even after Heather Locklear was done with him, he then got Pam Anderson, former Baywatch babe-wow! For someone who's such a scumbag, he must be doing SOMETHING right; after all, he got TWO of the world's most desirable, most sought after women. These are women who could have gotten any guy they wanted, yet they chose Tommy Lee.

I could go on with other famous women, but I'll save it for some other time. My point is this: it seems to me that the jerks get the girls-end of story. If girls didn't WANT guys like this, they wouldn't go after them, right?

This sort of conduct on the part of women is so prevalent that men are forming two camps in response. One camp is forsaking women altogether; I'm in that camp. Though it's far from an ideal choice, it's easier to live with that choice vs. the next one...

Another camp is the players, many of whom are former nice guys. You read that right; many nice guys are trying to become anything but. Why? Because they have learned the HARD way that a vast majority of women do not want a nice guy who will treat them right; because they've seen the jerks, players, thugs, etc. get all the chicks. Ergo, they decide that, since they want female companionship, then they too must emulate the examples set by the jerks and players of the world.

I cannot become a player; out of principle, I will not do it. Sure, I could put on an act, get chicks, etc.; but, if I form a relationship with a woman I meet this way, then sooner or later, the real me has to come out. What happens when he does? Will the woman still like me then? Will she still want me then? Finally, how solid is a relationship when it was started under false pretenses?

BTW, thanks to Kim (who hosts the 'Equal but Different' blog), I no longer believe that women truly want abusive guys. She said that, deep down, women want a guy who is dominant, who is in charge, the leader if you will. Thanks to feminist conditioning, a woman cannot bring herself to admit this. The result is massive cognitive dissonance, and the confusion that comes along with it. Thanks to the cognitive dissonance that's part & parcel of almost all modern, Western women, women don't know who they are, or what they're about anymore. Is it any WONDER that many women are on antidepressants?!

I'm going to close this out for now. I'm sorry you had your heart broken, but I'm also glad that you learned the RIGHT LESSONS from the experience. I AM curious as to how and why YOU were able to do this, while a vast majority of women out there are not; all they is blame men for yet another problem! Does that never end?! Have a nice day, and congrats on the engagement! Your husband to be is VERY lucky. Have a nice day...


Holly said...

Anna, I really appreciate your thoughts! I'm not Jewish, but I'm trying to incorporate much of the same relationship wisdom in my own life, so it was encouraging to see you doing the same. =)
God bless!

singlemomforgod said...

Thank you so much Anna, for this post. I do understand and appreciate you for holding firm the belief of biblical courtships!!

USAincognito said...

Very interesting how the Jewish community "dates." I don't think I could trust anyone to set me up with anybody. Kudos to you for sticking to your traditions. ;)

Sue said...


Thanks for your reply. The only examples about totally arranged marriages among observant Jews (usually Hasidic Jews) have been in movies and TV shows (and one Chaim Potok book) and these marriages were arranged when the "bride" and "groom" weren't even ready for kindergarten yet. Again, only on TV and movies, I've seen observant Jews (and some non-so observant ones) whose parents paid a matchmaker to find someone for their daughter or son. Son or daughter did have the right to walk away after one or two meetings if they didn't feel that this wasn't the right person for them.

I'm glad that your system is closer to that. And while you met your fiance on the Internet on a website for Jewish singles, I currently have a Christian friend who is just beginning to meet a Christian man in neutral sites (restaurants mostly since it's winter here and they live a little > 100 miles apart. She has been very happy to get to know him through e-mail and phone calls before meeting right from the start. So some Christians try an adapted method of the Jewish dating method, too.

I have already said more than enough! My lunch hour is over!

Sincere wishes for a peaceful and meaningful Sabbath.


Buffy said...

You have a very mature head on your shoulders, Anna. I think one of the lessons we ladies have to learn is the difference between a man who appears attractive on the outside and one who is good and worthy on the inside. Unfortunately society does not always give us the right guidelines for choosing our life partner. The traditional Jewish approach sounds like a good one to me.

Faith said...

Gosh, I can SO MUCH relate to this post.. I was in an abusive relationship before I became a christian.. it's like you say, intercourse works like superglue. Try to pull apart two things that have been glued together and they'll break in another point. Pieces of you go with him, pieces of him stay with you.. it's a mess!

For me, it was so bad that I suffered alzhers every now and then..

And then we did it 'your way' hehe.. no touching until marriage.. and I'm still SO happy to be married to a man that has proven himself SO patient and SO rocksteady in the Lord! :)