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Courtship Rules + Our First Kiss (a really vulnerable podcast episode)

I loved your responses to last week’s podcast episode on hospitality! You all inspired me by how you shared various ways you are committing open up your home.

And some of you even told me you were going to get brave and join me in my commitment to open our home up every week! That just made me so happy… and so inspired to continue on opening up our doors.

(That’s us during our courtship, in case you couldn’t figure it out! Jesse with his too big jeans on because he was so skinny that they didn’t really make jeans small enough for his waist and me with my home-sewn jumper and thrift store Birkenstocks and too small sunglasses that looked like goggles. Also, were we supposed to be posing or walking in this picture? I’m not sure! ;))

Speaking of getting brave, I’ll be honest and tell you that this week’s episode is a little vulnerable for me to put out to the world. In fact, after we recorded it, I had to set aside my fears and insecurities of what you might think when you listen to this.

Like I told you in Episode 1, our love story is unconventional… and today’s episode where Jesse and I share more of our story certainly proves that! (And it’s okay if you think it all sounds weird or crazy after you listen!)

But I hope it gives you more of a peek into our history and background… and might help you get to know us a little bit better!

In This Episode:

[01:02] – Want to know a secret? I was really scared of having older kids, especially teenagers. It hasn’t been at all how I expected!

[03:56] – I’ve fallen in love with the Libby app — and I’m not even much of an app person! I tell you why I love it so much and how I use it (including my tip for listening to books a little faster!)

[07:32] – Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron is a book I can’t stop talking about. Even if you don’t care a thing about CrossFit, you should read this book!

[10:12] – In the first episode of my podcast, my husband, Jesse, joined me as my guest. He’s back today to share the story of our unconventional courtship and engagement!

[14:41] – Jesse and I discuss the rules our parents set for our courtship, the pros and cons of a long distance relationship, and how we wished we could have gotten married sooner.

[22:41] – We talk about how weird it was to not have a parent chaperone with us at all times after we got married.

[24:45] – Our first kiss was on our wedding day… but technically not really at our wedding ceremony. You’ll have to listen in to hear the whole story!

[25:52] – I usually answer a question at the end of the podcast by myself, but today, I have Jesse help me answer a question about how we make our marriage a priority with our kids and businesses.

Links and Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

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  • sdr says:

    I’m a little too old for the Josh Harris experience, but I have no doubt that if that had a “thing” my conservative church would have been 100% on board. As it was there was a phase in my late college years (at a Christian College) where saving the first kiss for marriage became somewhat of a minor fad. You two seem to have a good attitude about it–there’s so many people from that generation that aren’t so fortunate. My husband and I met in college and married after senior year but early in our marriage we took a long break from the church probably as a result of the legalism and rules. We’re very active and involved in our church now, though we specifically chose a non-evangelical denomination.

    • Susan says:

      Have you seen the Josh Harris Ted Talk entitled “Strong Enough to be Wrong?” I’ll just let it speak for itself.

      Crystal, you and Jesse have a sweet love story. Enjoyed listening to your podcast!

    • Actually, it wasn’t he Josh Harris book that influenced my parents to have us do courtship, it was from some other sources, including Bill Gothard and ATI. I actually never read the book, though I’m familiar with some of what was in it because so many people I know have read it and talked about it. 🙂

  • Heather says:


    Thank you so much to you and Jesse for sharing your very real, honest and vulnerable podcast. I truly enjoyed listening. I too was the oldest and first in my family to do relationships, engagement and marriage, so we were the test! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about how you and Jesse plan on handling relationships with your kids as they enter their later teenage years vs. what you guys experienced.

    • Guest says:

      I agree! Would love to know if you’re planning to follow suit with your kids or if you’re making different choices.

    • Ha! Well, we’ve already had lots of conversations with them… but I kind of want to wait to see how things play out before I let you know what ends up happening. I’m careful to share things that involve my kids and their stories and futures because it’s their story to share, not mine. I know that whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting adventure and I’m sure we’ll make mistakes along the way and learn as we go!

  • Marisa says:

    Thanks, Crystal, for sharing your beautiful story with the world. It is a great way to reinforce any other families braving the unconventional way of doing things. My husband of 12 yrs and I had a very similar experience–chaperones and traditional courtship–but we (I) chose to do it that way when we were both 29 yrs old. It gave a fresh, pure start to our marriage, and we are thankful for the grace to do it that way. It shortened our courtship (4months) and engagement (9wks) while we lived in two different states. My dad even took him outside to ask all the important questions ;). And, he kissed me after our wedding, too! Keep up your inspirational work…you’re a blessing!

  • Lindsey S. says:

    It was fun to hear your story! Jesse sounded very relaxed on this podcast. We had a similar courtship story, minus the strict rules. As a teen at public school, I knew I wanted more than the relationships I saw teens around me having. I came across Josh Harris’ book at age 15 and chose to follow his advise in the book. I know a lot of people are now against Harris’ books, but I have thanked him for the way he encouraged me in my teen years, and was a big part of the reason my husband and I don’t have baggage and were able to stay pure before marriage. Both my parents and my husband’s parents never said either of us couldn’t date or be alone. Because courtship was our own choice, it worked well for us, and wasn’t restrictive…with chaperones or parents overly involved in marriage decisions. We saved our first lip kiss for our wedding too, but we practiced the dip minus the kissing several times beforehand so it would look good on stage! With our kids, we’re encouraging waiting to date/court until they’re emotionally mature, and we want to impart a courtship mindset (that relationships need to be entered into carefully), but without rules and legalism, and letting our kids make their own decisions.

    • We’re still finding our groove in doing podcasts together, but this one definitely felt less awkward for the two of us!

      And that’s so interesting about your story and your perspective! It was fascinating to me!

  • Chris says:

    The only thing similar is that my husband and I, by our own choice, saved our first kiss for our wedding day – something we have never regretted. 🙂

  • lyss says:

    So fun to hear your story! Mine is quite similar…even down to the homemade jumper and birks! lol! I remember reading your original blog when you were either courting or first married.
    Our courtship “rules” were just as strict. We not only saved our first kiss for marriage(which I actually still think is a good thing) but also we didn’t touch at all…no hand holding. While I think guidelines and even “rules” can be a really good thing, I agree with Lindsey who posted above. Kids should want to follow certain guidelines out of a desire to stay pure. But all the nit-picky ones like ‘the weekly phone call can only be 30 minutes or you’re in trouble’ are a bit much. Yep, we went through that, too!
    I’m glad to hear you still respect your parents, and see that they were only trying to do the right thing. So many people in our generation have “jumped ship” because of rules and “leagalism”. I’m sure there are cults out there teaching falsehood, but a lot of our families were/are simply trying to follow God and keep us safe.
    Thanks for being open about your story. Your attitude is a blessing! : )

  • lizajane says:

    I haven’t had a chance to listed to the podcast yet, but I have to tell you this was all new to me. I had actually never even heard of this different approach to dating and marriage. I don’t think it would have worked for me LOL, but very interesting. I’m always learning something new here!

  • Abbi says:

    It was interesting to hear your story. Out of our own choice my husband and I decided to follow the courtship model where he did ask my dad (though his dad was not involved – I hadn’t even met him) to court me before he talked to me. Neither of us had dated anyone else (by choice) we didn’t want to start a relationship with anyone without the intention of it leading to marriage. I am trying to remember if I had read Josh Harris’ book at that point of not. We just really wanted to please God by staying pure and we wanted to be able to save all of ourselves for our spouse so that is why we made those choices. We also saved our kiss for our wedding day which I agree is rather awkward but oh well. We did not have a chaperone everywhere we went – we were both away from home attending Bible college. We did choose to do a lot of things in group situations but we did still have alone time. We are thankful for the way we did things but also thankful that it was by choice not forced upon us. Now we have children of dating age. We have talked openly with our children and they know that we expect them to stay pure but have left it to them to make actual rules about things like whether they will kiss before marriage or not or ever go on a date with someone before they have decided to marry them.

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