Courtship According to 'Preachers Daughters': The Not So Simple Rules Of Dating a Teenage Daughter

As with any reality series about religion and teenagers, Lifetime’s reality show Preacher’s Daughters has its own code of conduct. And being that the stars are teenage girls, the rules of dating certainly come into play.

The more I’ve seen of Preachers' Daughters, the more I’ve come to appreciate what it is more than what I want it to be. I wanted it to be a show I could relate to as a preacher's daughter also raised in the church; a show that looked at teenagers exploring spirituality while having a unique peek behind the curtain of church politics. That’s not what Preacher’s Daughters is. The show’s basic premise is: parents say one thing; daughters do another, to varying degree of rebellion. Unfortunately for my viewing experience — and my memoirs — I wasn’t particularly rebellious while I lived at home as a preacher's daughter in my adolescence. My parents didn’t keep me on a very tight leash, which made it much easier to keep that leash semi-taut on my own.

What I can relate with Tori, Taylor, Megan and Kolby on is having a set morality that’s expected of you at a young age, and not knowing if the Christian Best Practices are something you’re ready to operate under. That aspect of growing up, certainly not just specific to preacher progeny, is featured quite honestly on the show, and nowhere more prevalent than in these young girls’ attempts to date. Or for their parent’s attempts, not to date. Ranging from 17 to 22, all four are well into their dating years in their own eyes, and still precious gifts from God in their parents' eyes. Speaking of eyes, let’s keep all those nasty heathen boys’ pupils away. Sin! Lust! LOINS.

Actually, Preachers' Daughters dating rules are not all quite as strict as you might think:

Taylor Coleman's Code of Conduct

At 18, Taylor is already experiencing what it took me until 24 to have to figure out in the delicate "Dating" category of our own personal Family Feud: your parents setting you up with "lovely young men." Pastor Coleman doesn't like the boy Taylor has been dating, so he not so subtly pushes her toward his draft pick from their church, Spencer. And it actually works. Taylor appreciates Spencer's thoughtful prom proposal (it's a thing), and decides to go out with him.

Of course, scoring a date who your parents actually trust is the best way to safely act a fool. Taylor is allowed to go with pre-approved Spencer to prom, where she promptly breaks every dancing rule her father set in place, specifically, "ain’t doin' the booty-up.” I'm not 100 percent sure what the booty-up is, but I am fully confident Taylor did it... a lot.

Tori Elliott's Rules of the Unruly Road

Tori is a unique case for a Preacher's Daughter. All of these girls are really just baby rebels, butting up against their parents, maybe getting to second base every once in a while, but not hurting anybody. Except Tori, who is sweet, but belongs on a different show entirely, probably a few channels up the dial on MTV (or, goodness, Oxygen). She's 22 and jobless; she moves back in with her parents because she was evicted; and she's probably struggling with a substance abuse problem. If they could enforce any other rules on her, they might go for some dating guidelines too, but right now, they're focused on keeping her safe and getting her help.

Megan Cassidy

Megan's mom seems pretty laid back about Megan dating at age 17 — she's new to being a preacher's wife. But Megan's father is very concerned with her image at church and has a number of rules he needs his daughter's potential suitor to comply with: the family needs to know him first, he needs to come talk to Pastor Jeff before any dating commences, and, of course, no sex before marriage. The fellow in the image up top did not get all necessary approvals, and it did not go over well. For Megan's part: "Keep them pants up."

Kolby Koloff

Oh boy. Seventeen-year-old Kolby has two preacher parents, so she can sneak in all the little hugs and kisses she wants, but that girl isn't going on a date until she's in college. And she's not going to college until she's done a year of mission work. Kolby's main rules are: no dating without some serious parental pre-approval and a chaperone and no sex. NO SEX. Her preacher mom speaks about abstinence to high school students and recently made her wear a pregnancy belly (um, that is a pillow) to get frozen yogurt so she could feel the judging eyes that only premarital lust can bring. Poor Kolby.

An interesting twist from the end of Season 1 was Kolby's older sisters, who can often be quite uptight, encouraging her to consider premarital sex as an alternative to getting married before she's ready. (Go Kolby's sisters!)

Image: Lifetime