I have a friend from Minnesota who has been influential in my walk. When new to the Christian faith, he once reminded me how being a Christian doesn’t mean we must change our personalities. “If you’ve always liked a certain style of shirts”, he said, “you don’t have to change styles after conversion.”
I’ve never seen anything wrong with an ANR. I have even imagined it to be the default for every couple, at least for a season. Extreme intimacy is part of my genetic make up, it’s the language I speak, and it’ll be uncharacteristic of God to require the abandonment of the very personality and physical longings He blessed me with.
Let’s recall that a fetish is:
a. a strong sexual attraction to objects or body parts that are typically non-sexual,
b. something that’s more commonly held by men, and
c. something without which the person cannot fully enjoy sex.
In the case of Couples Nursing, none of the above is true, so for most people, it doesn’t meet any of the criteria required to be considered a fetish.
Jesus came to change our characters, not our personalities. If you’re a person who requires more intimacy than most people, the Bible gives you the freedom to pursue it to your heart’s delight, as long as it doesn’t eclipse your devotion to God, and is kept within the covenant of marriage.
I’ve found that it takes a certain type of person to really want an ANR. ANR desire completely transcends sex, religion, race, color, socio-economic background and sexual appetite.
Now, when we consider the profile traits of the ANR-interested woman, especially the trait of being a nurturer, we see that Couples Nursing goes beyond personality and also touches on character. Even the most ferocious ANR bashers would likely admit that being a good nurturer is a noble Christ-like character trait. Jesus came to change our characters, not our personalities. As the Holy Spirit progressively sanctifies us, we become more open-handed, open-hearted, agape-loving nurturers.
Imagine how life would be if we were only able to speak languages others prefer we’d speak. As a kid, I often acted this out. I usually cracked up whenever around people who spoke unrecognizable foreign languages. Thank God I never got to hear any of the ‘clicking’ languages of Southern Africa, or else I would have made a complete fool of myself. I’ve since come to realize that because the language sounded funny and weird to me doesn’t mean it didn’t make sense to the speakers.
But if we have to walk by the Spirit WITHOUT rules, then we must also live with this uncomfortable truth: God may call other Christians to live in a different way than He calls you, because they have different backgrounds, different temptations, and different personalities. That’s why the Spirit will convict us in different ways about different things. And that’s perfectly okay! So let’s not assume that because a family doesn’t follow the “purity culture” or doesn’t believe that kissing is always wrong that this means that they are somehow lesser Christians. We all serve God; let’s stick to the heart of the gospel, and let our kids do the same.
-Sheila Wray Gregoire, 10 Things That Scare Me About the “Purity” Culture, on her blog, To Love, Honor and Vacuum (emphasis on “personalities” mine)
As Sheila and Gary Chapman, the author of the Five Love Languages indicate, not all Christians were created equal. Some speak the language of physical touch much more fluently than others.
Virtually all women who engage in ANRs list intimacy and nurturing as motivating factors.
Many CN-minded folks are very affectionate, and considering how there are people in this world who are so affectionate they get paid to hug or even cuddle with strangers, strange as that may sound, we realize that it’s simply our God-given differences in physical and psychological wiring that prompt some bashers and critics to label a non-sinful desire as a fetish.
One objection I’ve kinda gotten in modified form is “if you weren’t obsessed, you won’t talk about something sexual on the first date.” But it’s more like “I’m so convinced of its benefits, I lose no time in discussing my favorite blend of love languages.” Few would have any qualms discussing on the first date a lifestyle they hope to enjoy in marriage, be it an athletic lifestyle or traveling the world, so it shouldn’t be any different for CN. The fact that CN is more sexual only calls for more discernment in word choice.
The triune God delights in the personalities and differences He’s created in all 7.4 billion of us, despite the intimate, erotic nature of some of our desires. God gets His glory when His saints strive for unity — including and very importantly on the marriage bed.