Blog: Intimacy and Our Family Culture

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I love that I get to talk with marriage relationship experts for my podcast. I love talking about this subject! I have been blessed with a super amazing husband. I refer you back to my interview with Blaine and Audrey Rindlisbacher, and my interview with Ann Visser. Both awesome!!

Life hasn’t been super awesome and that is why I’m so grateful that Michael is my best friend and that he is so incredibly supportive.

I was the type of girl that had crushes on so many boys I lost count, but guess what, I never had a boyfriend! I thought my heart would break so many times. It’s not like I wasn’t cool or something. I guess I was just not cool enough, or I didn’t seem available to anyone. I don’t really know what happened. Those teen years are tough! There was one guy that I sort of dated, but that’s another story.

When I was 21 I went to Hawaii for eighteen months to serve as a missionary for my church and I swore off boys for my own good. I did pretty well. When I got home, I went to a congregation (ward) especially for singles in my church. You’d think that a large group of single people would go on a lot of dates, but no. It almost was like dating your sibling or something because you’re just around each other so much. Every once in a while someone new would move into the area and they would be like “fresh meat” that everyone went out with. I am an advocate for going on dates, so I decided that I would give any guy at my church one date because while I thought I knew everyone, I didn’t know if they were date-worthy. But there was a condition that I would not go on a second date (if they even wanted to) until we went out with someone else first. It was a stupid plan, I know. But, I’d never had a boyfriend, I’d never even kissed anyone. It almost became like a quest to make sure I would not let anyone close to me unless I knew they were worth it, because I knew I was worth it.

(This is one reason why this whole Katy Perry story bugs me. When someone wants to wait there’s a good reason. It’s also about consent and not taking advantage of someone. Lame, Katy. Super lame. It’s disturbing that this is normalized as ok).

I met Michael before my mission in the singles ward and we were in the missionary training center at the same time. We were both excited to see someone from home, but there was no romantic interest. We wrote each other a couple of times and I got home six months before he did. I had been on a few dates but no second dates, so I kind of forgot about my plan. I remember the day Michael was to get home for some reason. I was jogging around my neighborhood and thought it would be so weird to see him drive down my street! So silly.

I saw Michael in a class one evening the week he got home and I asked if he’d go to a swing dancing class on campus with me that night. He went and I gave him a ride home. During the whole ride, we talked and talked about our experiences on the mission and it was so easy to talk to him! I got home and told my roommate that I would like to go on a date with him after he has been home for a couple of months to give him time to adjust to being back home. Well, two weeks later, he asked me out! I was thrilled! We really hit it off. We were able to talk so easily. Soon, we went on two more dates, and I started to freak out! What if this guy really wants to date me, and he hasn’t had a chance to go out with anyone else?? Are we sure we want to keep going on dates with only each other?

I get that everyone has a story about how they met and how they became a couple. Maybe my story sounds kind of weird but it’s what happened and I was committed to making sure that the person I dated was really the right guy!

I told Michael about my plan to go out with other people before going out again. He thought I was telling him that I didn’t want to go out with him anymore! That evening, he had some friends over to watch a movie, and he waited until everyone left before telling me that he didn’t want to date anyone else because he really liked going out with me!

So, we started dating officially because I really did like him, and I guess he liked me too! He was super sweet. A few weeks into our relationship I had been in a car accident that totaled my car, which was also a few weeks before the start of the semester. Michael arranged his schedule so that we would be in class at the same time so he could drive me into school and pick me up after I got off of work on campus. We were able to spend a lot of time together that way, too! We rode together, and we ate lunch together, and we studied together!

Michael was my first kiss! What’s more, I was his first kiss, too! And then, we saved further intimacy for after our marriage. We didn’t live together either. I’m not saying that everyone should wait to kiss someone until they meet the person they want to marry, but for us, it worked.

I can say that it is refreshing that I don’t have any memories or regrets of giving anything away to anyone less worthy.* I can barely even remember but a few of the boys I had a crush on as a teen. This commitment has been a blessing to my marriage, and to our family. I am grateful for the experiences we have had growing our family, and developing our relationship organically over the years. I wouldn’t change anything. Looking back, I’m so glad that God didn’t let me date any other guys I had crushes on. I’m sure they were pretty awesome dudes, but He had something else in mind for me.

This is part of our family culture because we value virtue and purity. We talk to our children openly about purity and pornography at their level, and answer their questions as they ask them. If they can ask it, they are ready for the answer. We treat this discussion with sanctity and reverence.

Plus, Michael and I still date each other! Last month, we went on an amazing excursion alone, and I am still dreaming of it! I mentioned it on my Instagram that we went on a cruise, and now I’m a super fan of cruises!! Seriously! It’s a dream! You can totally book your own cruise!

*I want to be clear, though, that if this isn’t how your marriage or relationship started, OK. I don’t want to make it seem like this is the only way to have a successful marriage. Whether or not you started out this way, the important thing is knowing what your values are and what values you want to instill in your family culture. If it is something that you value now, there are ways to reinforce this standard with your children to help them make it an option. I believe it has blessed my family, and I know it will bless yours. It is possible, even in this world, to avoid being intimate before the timing is right for our children. And as for memories, regrets, or abuse, I know Jesus Christ can carry those burdens.

Check out this video:

I will leave you with this sweet story I heard once (I will link the source as well here). It is an extreme example, but it illustrates how precious our children are to us and to God, more precious than gems. P.S. I read it myself!

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About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.

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