Bob: As a young, single woman, Stephanie had had a lot of boyfriends; but each time there was a breakup, it was like something had been taken from her heart.
Stephanie: It was definitely different with Samuel. I just felt completely respected. I felt like I could be with him and not have to be on guard. So, it let a lot of my guard down. We were really able to go deep quickly with who we were and our relationship on a totally different level than I’d ever gone with any guy before, because the guys weren’t interested in me before; they were interested in making out.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, May 21st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll hear from Stephanie and Samuel today about a very different kind of dating relationship.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. You recognize those voices, don’t you?
Dennis: I do—my grafted-in daughter, Stephanie.
Bob: How long have they been married?
Dennis: That’s a good question. Barbara would know exactly—about ten years—close to ten years.
Bob: Their wedding—there was something special that took place at their wedding, is that right?
Dennis: Should we tell that story before they hear?
Bob: Well, I—yes.
Dennis: We let the listeners—
Bob: I think they need a little context for what we’re leading into here.
Dennis: Well, we challenged all of our kids not to kiss until their wedding kiss; and Samuel decided that he’d try it, and he did it. One of the greatest videos I’ve ever seen is of his first kiss. He nearly passes out. His brother steps in behind him after he kisses Stephanie, after I pronounce them husband and wife—
Bob: Yes, you were performing the ceremony.
Dennis: I was, and it was a great—
Bob: This was terrible.
Dennis: It was a great moment because I was kind of—and—
Bob: Yes, you were dragging it out—
Dennis: I was looking at him—
Bob: —“Just a few more things I want to say, Son.”
Dennis: —and he was not hearing a word I was saying. (Laughter)
Bob: It was terrible.
Dennis: He was not hearing a word I was saying, and all the audience was laughing—
Dennis: —because they were all—I’m getting kind of emotional about it, but the audience was for this couple and their achievement of wanting to maintain physical, emotional, sexual purity prior to marriage.
Bob: When our team got together to redo the Passport2Purity resource that we’ve created—this is the weekend experience for a father and a son or a mother and a daughter prior to the onset of puberty. The two of you get away; you get a chance to talk about peer pressure, about dating, about purity, and about human reproduction, the birds and the bees—all of that.
Dennis: It’s a weekend that you host.
Dennis: This is not a FamilyLife—
Dennis: —event—no. This is set up to be led by Mom, led by Dad. You direct the activities, and the content is all laid out for you. It’s there to help you be a winner with your son or with your daughter.
Bob: So, when we refreshed and updated this resource, which is about 15 years old—and by the way, the team’s done a great job on this.
Dennis: I agree.
Bob: The refresh looks really great, but we thought we ought to include Samuel and Stephanie’s story because Samuel was in high school when the first Passport to Purity came out.
Dennis: I think he may have been in college at the time.
Bob: We thought we ought to share that story with the young people who are going to be listening so that they can hear how one couple decided to do it. I don’t think in Passport2Purity we tell them who the young couple is that they are listening to, but we thought for FamilyLife Today listeners they ought to hear—
Dennis: —the rest of the story.
Bob: —the rest of the story. I had an opportunity to sit down with Samuel and with Stephanie and just ask them to tell us a little bit about how they met and about their courtship and their engagement and the decision they made not to kiss until the wedding kiss. I don’t think you’ve heard this yet, have you?
Dennis: I have not.
Bob: So, I thought for you and for our listeners, we’d let them hear Samuel and Stephanie’s story today, a portion of which is contained in the new Passport to Purity resource.
[Recorded audio begins]
Samuel: I remember when I was in seventh grade, I had a girlfriend. There was a lot of pressure from our friends for us to kiss and for us to kind of, I guess, consummate a seventh grade relationship. So, we went together, dated—whatever you call it—for probably about four months.
As time went on, the pressure got increasingly greater to the extent that her friends would even begin to coordinate these, kind of, moments to say, “Okay, now you can kiss.” They would go run and hide. They would kind of put us together; then, they’d go run behind the building or something.
For some reason, I didn’t think it was necessary or that it was really that worthwhile at the time to kiss my girlfriend. So, that relationship ended pretty shortly thereafter. My guess is it’s because I wouldn’t kiss her, that I wouldn’t go more into the relationship. So—
Bob: Let me stop you there and just ask, “Wasn’t there part of you that wanted to kiss her?”
Samuel: Yes, absolutely, there was part of me that wanted to kiss her—yes—but I didn’t know what to do with that part of me. I’m sure that morality or some sense of doing the right thing with a girl was there as well because in my family we talked a lot about honoring and respecting members of the opposite sex. I remember knowing that maybe if once you take that step toward another girl in a physical way, it’s kind of a slippery slope.
So, I knew that, as a seventh grader—12, 13 years old—there really wasn’t any purpose for doing that, I guess. So, I guess, I decided not to kiss for both of the fear but also because I knew at that time it wasn’t respecting her, it wasn’t maybe doing the right thing with her.
Bob: So, then, you break up. Now, you’re moving forward. New girlfriend come along?
Samuel: No, not a new girlfriend. In fact, she was my last official girlfriend until Stephanie and I got together, until we started dating. So, I guess the span of ten years she was my last girlfriend. Now, “girlfriend”—now, I did a lot of dating. I dated a lot of girls, but never had a steady girlfriend until Stephanie.
Bob: Was that a conscious decision?
Samuel: Well, I think, at the time, my decision when we broke up—when I broke up with this girl in seventh grade—was—when I made that decision to not kiss anybody until I knew it was going to be my wife, I didn’t see the point really of dating in junior high. So, I had a lot of friends that were girls. We hung out at lunch and at football games and basketball games, but I never pursued it more towards a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.
Bob: Tell us about when you met Stephanie and how you met her.
Samuel: I met Stephanie at church, at a church plant. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee after college and was on staff at a church there, and she was visiting one of her friends. The first day that I met her, she was coming out of the church office, I was coming into the church office, and we crossed paths in the parking lot.
Being the new guy to town, I just went up to her, introduced myself, said, “Hello,” and actually, made fun of her because of the way that she was animated in talking to me. I didn’t know what to do with her animation. So, I just kind of did it back at her even though that wasn’t me. She—I think she went away from there being hooked knowing that I was going to be the guy for her for the rest of her life. Wow!
Bob: Did you?
Stephanie: I did. I got in the car, was going out of town. It was Labor Day weekend. We were all going to the lake to go skiing, and I talked about him for the next 45 minutes to my girlfriend and told her, “Okay, this sounds too hokey. I can’t say he’s the guy I’m going to marry, but I want to marry a guy like him.” Because if I say he’s the guy I’m going to marry, that’s just like too movie-ish. (Laughter) I said, “…a guy like him.”
I couldn’t have told you what he looked like. I knew he was tall. I didn’t know he had facial hair. I didn’t know he had glasses. I just knew that that was who I was supposed to marry.
Bob: What—a guy like him because?
Stephanie: All of the guys that I had been around up until then were real sheepish and just didn’t seem very manly to me. Yes, he approached me with confidence and dignity and was just—looked me in the eye, said, “Hello,” introduced himself, and was just funny. I guess him imitating made me interested. There was something endearing about that.
Samuel: It was memorable.
Stephanie: Made it memorable.
Stephanie: So, I don’t know.
Bob: At what—so, you guys started to date?
Bob: When did you start to date?
Samuel: Well, we began our initial dating conversations around Christmas time, over Christmas break. Our first date was on New Year’s Eve of that year. So, four months later, after we had met, was our first date.
Bob: When did you guys have any kind of discussion about what boundaries in your relationship were going to look like?
Stephanie: The first time I remember us having boundary issue conversations was probably the first week, would you say? Yes, I would say the first week he just told me, “This is who I am. This is what I’m about, and I don’t play games. So, if I am pursuing a girl, I’m taking everything we do very seriously, and I’m not just doing it for a period of time or to have fun or—I’m being very intentional about what I’m doing.”
Bob: How did that make you feel?
Stephanie: I got butterflies. (Laughter) I was like, “Yay, me!” Yes, a little taken aback because again I had not been around—I didn’t—I don’t feel like I had the privilege of dating a man. So, I felt like, “Okay, so, this is what a man is like.”
So, after I got over the initial shock of him being so upfront with how he felt—because, basically, he was taking me out; so, he was saying, “I have feelings for you, I’m not going to play with your emotions, and I’m not going to play with my emotions.” There was just a confidence of—“Wow! This just feels so nice. It feels very”—I just felt very respected.
Bob: There comes a time in the midst of that when you’re going, “I would like you to kiss me.”
Stephanie: Absolutely. (Laughter) Yes, I mean there was definitely -- the physical attraction was there for me. So, in past relationships, that had happened pretty quickly. Kissing was just part of the relationship. I had made a choice before I met Samuel, that the next guy I dated I was not going to kiss him until I knew he was the guy I was going to marry.
So, when he approached me about not—and told me he had never kissed anyone and that he did not want to kiss until he got married, it was like, “Really? That’s how I feel too.” It was weird, too, to actually go, “Oh, this is what this is actually going to be like. I’ve heard of people doing that before, but I never thought I would be that person.”
So, it was hard to show him that I cared about him and not to physically touch him because it was hard for me to fully feel like he knew how much I cared about him and not kiss him because I was very physically attracted to him.
Bob: Unpack how that was different in your relationship with Samuel than it had been with other guys.
Stephanie: Prior to that, within probably two or three dates, we were kissing and holding hands and hanging out on the couch snuggling—pretty quick. There was just this level—I always felt that it wasn’t right, but there was also the other feeling that it felt good. So, I always wrestled with the two of trying to figure out how to fit that into—and it always felt like my desires won out over my feeling that it was wrong.
So, it was definitely different with Samuel. I just felt completely respected. I felt like I could be with him and not have to be on guard. So, it let a lot of my guard down, and we were really able to go deep quickly with who we were and our relationship on a totally different level than I’d ever gone with any guy before. Because the guys weren’t interested in me before; they were interested in making out.
Samuel: Can you say more about what was wrong about it?
Stephanie: What was wrong—
Samuel: What you felt was wrong? Was the kissing wrong?
Stephanie: Was the kissing wrong? What I wanted to—what it made me want to do past kissing I felt was wrong. I knew that it was like you had said earlier, “A slippery slope.” You start one place, and you just want to go more and more because it just feels—it’s like a drug, and I wanted more of the drug each time.
Samuel: So, when Stephanie and I got together and began dating, it went really fast; and the desire to kiss her was substantial. I questioned myself a number of times like, “What kind of decision was that to not kiss somebody,” because this was this the first relationship that I cared about somebody so much so that I wanted to express myself in a romantic way.
I’d had a number of girls that I’d cared about in college, maybe even in high school, that I could have seen myself get to a romantic level with, but the relationship never progressed that way. So, Stephanie was really the first person that I got to that place where I was faced with having to really play out my decision of “Am I going to stick by this or am I not?”
Bob: Why didn’t you just in the middle of it go, “That’s just an arbitrary thing that I decided; there’s nothing really wrong with it. Let’s just kiss?”
Samuel: Well, I think there were a couple moments that we would talk about it like, “Why not? Let’s just go ahead and kiss. Let’s—what’s the big deal? We’re going to be married anyway. We know we’re going to be married. So, why not kiss?”
For some reason, I think we both agreed that we’ve waited this long; what’s another couple months, what’s another couple weeks, what’s another couple of days? There was this sense that the momentum that you create by not doing something for a number of days, months, years, it reduces—I don’t know—the stress of having to uphold that decision. So, the longer you can abstain from something the easier it is to abstain from it.
Bob: Do you remember your first kiss?
Bob: What do you remember?
Samuel: My first kiss was the highlight of the wedding. For me, it was because it was this moment that tension had just been building up for 15 years. So, when I got the go ahead from the pastor, I went for it. (Laughter) I gave her the biggest kiss I think she maybe has ever had.
Bob: Do you remember the kiss?
Stephanie: Oh, yes. Yes, it was quite impressive and—yes, it was quite—yes, I think it was probably the biggest kiss I had ever received.
Samuel: I surprised her because we—obviously, she knew that I’d never kissed anybody. So, something that we never talked about was her fear of “Is this guy going to know what to do with me once we do open the gates of being able to express ourselves?”
One of the ways that I saw in our dating relationship that was increased because we weren’t physically romantic in our expression was our ability to express to each other in words and our ability to craft the words to accurately reflect what it was that we felt about each other. So, she knew that I could do that and that I was romantically inclined from a word standpoint; but she had no clue from the physical standpoint. So, I think I surprised—well, I don’t think, I know I surprised her when I kissed her.
Stephanie: Yes, I was very surprised when you kissed me. Because before we got on stage, I was like, “Okay, we’re just going to do a little kiss on stage, right?—because we’re going to do this for the first time in front of 300 people.” He’s like, “Yes, uh-huh, little.” Then, we got up there, and it was like, “Whoa!” But that wasn’t the first kiss on stage; we continued to kiss all the way down the aisle. I think we stopped at least three times while we walked down the aisle to kiss. I think—
Samuel: I got a little carried away with myself.
Stephanie: —we got a standing ovation too—
Samuel: We did, yes.
Stephanie: —which was pretty impressive.
Bob: Were you worried at all that maybe he’d be a bad kisser?
Stephanie: Oh, sure. That went through my mind. If I’m being honest, I’d never met a guy I didn’t like to kiss. (Laughter)
Anyway, so, I was like, “You know”—I wasn’t worried about that because I knew that God knew what we were doing and we were trying to honor Him in our actions and what we were doing and that I knew God would bless us for this stance that we had taken to honor Him in that way. So, when I would start getting this fear, I just remembered who was in control; and we have not had a problem with that since.
Bob: He’s okay?
Stephanie: He’s a good kisser, yes. He still gives me butterflies after ten years. So, I think I would say definitely he’s a good kisser.
[Recorded audio ends]
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to a conversation I had a number of months ago with Samuel and Stephanie Rainey that you hadn’t listened to before, right?
Dennis: Yes, it’s pretty cool—pretty cool to hear them reflecting on that.
Here’s what I would want a mom or a dad to hear as they hear more of a fairy tale story of a couple who did it right: Passport2Purity is a weekend getaway for a mom and a daughter or a father and a son to prepare your pre-adolescent for the adolescent years and the choices, like this, that they are going to face. It is designed to help you lead and guide your son, your daughter, to prepare them for issues like what Samuel and Stephanie faced.
Bob: During Passport2Purity, they’re going to hear a shortened version of Samuel and Stephanie’s story, but they’re going to hear a lot of other stories as well.
Dennis: They are. They’re going to hear stories of other couples who didn’t do it right. They talk about—not explicitly what they did, obviously—but they are going to talk about their regret, how they felt about it, and how they repented and dealt with mistakes they made when they were young.
I think young people have to be equipped for mistakes they will make from time to time all the way through adolescence—and know how to do that and to know that you as a parent are still going to love them, accept them; and you are there to interact with them; and “You’ve got to be free to come to me, as your mom or as your dad, and have these conversations because God accepts us when we make mistakes as well.”
Bob: Got to teach them about grace and about forgiveness, don’t we?
Dennis: No doubt about it.
Bob: I think when you have a weekend like we’ve been talking about, one of these Passport2Purity weekends, that helps the communication be in place, so that when those moments come, you can have easier conversations.
Our hope is that this summer there would be tens of thousands of moms and dads who would be heading out on the highway, going somewhere nearby, somewhere fun, and along the way listening to these CD’s and working through the travel journal that comes with the Passport2Purity kit; so that the young man, young woman, has something that they can work through, doing these projects, the interactive stuff that’s included.
But we just hope that this is a resource that will equip a lot of moms and dads to have an important series of conversations with their sons and daughters.
Find out more about Passport2Purity when you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. You can order from us online if you like. FamilyLifeToday.com is the website; or call toll-free 800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.
I was talking to a friend of mine just recently whose daughter is 15 years old, and she’s working. I said, “She’s already working? She’s got a job at 15?” He said, “Oh, yes.” He said, “She’s got her eye on a car.”
He said, “We’re doing the Dave Ramsey thing.” I said, “What is the Dave Ramsey thing?” He said, “It’s we’ll match whatever money you bring to the table so that you can buy a car.” It’s mom and dad with a matching fund for their daughter’s car purchase. So, she’s out working, saving her money, because she wants to be able to buy a car when she turns 16 or shortly thereafter.
Well, we’ve had some friends of the ministry who are doing the “Dave Ramsey thing” with us this month. They’ve come and said, “We’re going to match every donation you receive dollar for dollar up to a total of $650,000.”
They’re doing that because they hope it will be an incentive to FamilyLife Today listeners to call and make a $25, a $50, or a $100 donation. They are excited about all that’s going on here at FamilyLife, about the new Stepping Up® video series that’s coming out this fall and about the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast on August 4th.
They also know that the summer months are when things get a little slow when it comes to donations. So, they are hoping that we can head into summer with some money available to get us through; and we’d like to ask you to help make that possible.
All you have to do is go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and make a donation. When you do, it’s going to be matched dollar for dollar up to $650,000. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY, make your donation over the phone, and again, your donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar. We do appreciate your support of the ministry—always great to hear from you.
We want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow. The Bible says, “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you;” and we’re going to talk about how music can help you hide God’s Word in your heart, especially around the subject we’ve been talking about today, purity. We’ll talk with our friends from Seeds Family Worship tomorrow. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
Seeds Family Worship: (Singing)
Keep your…keep your heart,
Keep your…keep your heart….
Bob: FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.