Vikki Ortiz of the Chicago Tribune picked up a pleasant romantic story about a couple who committed to each other that they would not kiss until the wedding day. More precisely, the couple could and would kiss on the cheek (as demonstrated in the article's photo), but that was where it ended. The purpose of the kiss limitation was to keep the couple from breaking an abstinence pledge. Anyway, the article was picked up by the Associated Press and subsequently just about everyone in one version or another. However, if GetReligion didn't have the concept of "religion ghosts," I wouldn't be talking about this story right now because the article does not even hint at a religious motivation for the couple's primary desire to demonstrate to students that they would not have sex before they were married.
Fortunately, the article was not that two dimensional. Ortiz gave a brief, but excellent explanation on how the couple was benefiting by keeping sex out of their relationship pre-marriage:
To avoid temptation while dating, they made sure they were never alone with each other in a house. When they watched movies on the couch, they snuggled sitting straight up, never lying down.
"It really tested us and encouraged us to grow closer in our hearts and our minds, just expressing things verbally," Fabien said.
He found other ways to show LaLuz his passion -- like by cleaning her car. And washing the dishes.
The challenge with this article is that there may have been zero religious motivation for the couple. Whether or not the couple attended church or went through any sort of pre-martial counseling, religious or otherwise, is not mentioned.
However, as a reader who submitted the article to us noted, a lot of questions could have been asked about this -- primarily, why did they do it? The article briefly notes a single reason -- to prove their abstinence to the public school students they teach abstinence to -- "but is that really the rock-bottom reason?"
Also, the article gives little context about the couple's role as teachers. Why do the public schools in Chicago teach abstinence?
The other issue that this article raises is why this is considered news today. Is a couple committed to abstinence now a "man bites dog" story? I know statistics will show that most couples today have sex before marriage, let alone forgo kissing. Perhaps this explains the rather brief nature of the article? I just wish more questions had been asked and answered in one form or another.
Photo of Romeo and Juliet kissing in a painting by Sir Frank Dicksee used under a Wikimedia Commons license.