We get a fair number of wedding announcements from returned missionaries we’ve known and fed, and I’ve seen a trend emerging. In the last year or so, several of them coming from the Utah/Idaho area have the invitation printed on a montage of photos of the couple, and they include a picture of the couple kissing. Last week we had some missionaries over and passed a recent one around that featured a 4×6 shot of the couple in lip-lock, and I made a snarky comment about it; their response was that it was much better than the ones they’ve seen in Finland, where the couple just stand together politely smiling, usually in the forest. Hmm.
It’s at times like this that I feel out of touch with mormon culture. Why would young engaged mormon couples feel the need to photograph themselves kissing and send it out to their friends and relatives? Here’s my best guess:
When getting married, there is a need to have a sense of reassurance about the marriage lasting. The temple marriage may have provided that confidence at one time, but frankly it no longer does. Now the emphasis within the church is on the quality of the relationship between spouses, with advice for couples dispensed from the pulpit in general conference, articles in the church magazines, etc. Mormonism has never been shy about physicality, and so the active sexuality of married couples is one way of expressing the quality of a marriage within mormonism. The kissing shot assures the receiver, and of course the couple themselves, that this marriage will last, that they are able to build their family on a foundation of ‘wholesome recreational activities’ and all that.
Either that or they just think they look cool making out.