EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: A younger relative of mine was recently seriously rebuffed by his lady friend (they are both in their 30's) for asking if he could kiss her. They have been seeing each other very seriously for a while, and he has wanted some indication of her affection for him. But when he asked to kiss her, his dedication to God was questioned and the young woman made him feel like slime. Is this a generational thing I've missed out on? Is kissing before marriage a sin?

HE SAID:

Affection within a dating relationship will always be a much disputed and often heated debate. Christians can’t seem to agree on doctrine let alone personal conduct in a relationship. Particularly when it comes to kissing, we will never have a clear cut consensus among believers as to the appropriateness of how far one should (or can) go when dating.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:31-32).

Our actions should not cause someone else to misinterpret the Bible, find justification for wrong behavior, nor lead them to or exacerbate a problem they may already be struggling with. The difficulty comes when one person feels free to act in a certain way while another does not.

I don’t see this woman’s reaction as a "generational thing." In fact, it almost seems contrary to what society is touting for relationships. With our grade schools handing out condoms to alleviate the problem of teen pregnancy, the “appropriateness of kissing” conversation doesn’t even show up on the relational conduct radar of young people these days.

Bottom line is your relative asked for permission to kiss her instead of assuming she wanted him to like most men do. Her response seemed to be a little legalistic in nature and wrong for her to retaliate in such a way to such a courteous request from a close friend.

If they have been seeing each other "very seriously," I would think she would have given some indication of her stance against kissing along the way. Obviously she has some strong opinions and it may indicate there is a personal history behind it. Both of them need to take some time to discuss their feelings for one another and on the topic of physical affection before moving any further.

SHE SAID:

Wow, my first thought is how great this is! I wish I was a kiss virgin. I wish I had saved all my kisses for the "one" but I haven't. Bummer!

Then I thought, really? Are they Amish? Are they some type of denomination that frowns upon kissing? Surely if this guy has been seeing her for some time the subject would have come up. I mean, me and my friends talk about it from time to time. I have clearly shared how I would like to save my next kiss for the altar. However, I am not sure if I can. I just don't know if my hormones would last that long. Well, I guess I could get married after my first date... but that brings up a whole mess of other issues. My friends, the ones closest to me, know that I will not have sex or anything that even looks close to it before I marry. They know I will be OCD about being alone, protecting what God has entrusted to me and my possible husband-to-be.

If my friends know this about me, it makes be wonder how this woman's serious suitor was surprised to find she wanted to wait to kiss!

Everyone is different regarding kissing before marriage. More than likely, if the person has been raised to only date those that are possible marriage material, then kissing is something you would want only for the "one." It's one thing to peck someones lips, but to french kiss takes you to a new level of intimacy. Intimacy that often leads to other things.

So don't worry, not everyone feels this way. It is something you can find out about a person while you are friends. Now, as far as how she treated him, that tells me of her immaturity. I mean, he asked her because he does respect her. Her reaction is way overblown and perhaps she is not ready to be married to begin with.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is … Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.

Publication date: September 12, 2013