My husband and I waited until our wedding day to kiss each other. Even among Christians, the simple statement, “We’re waiting!” was received with shock and at times, mockery. Waiting to kiss is definitely not normal.
I chose to save my kiss for my wedding day long before I met my husband. I didn’t do it because Josh Harris, my parents, or my church said so. I didn’t even choose it for spiritual reasons at first: I simply wanted my first kiss to be special, and my wedding day seemed to fit that bill. But in the midst of a long struggle with lust, I found that reserving my kiss allowed me to check my desires and test the motives of men who asked me out. If a man wasn’t interested in dating me after I said I wasn’t ready to kiss him, I knew he didn’t appreciate me for the right reasons.
By the time I met my husband, however, I had been through a relationship where I’d been pressured to give of myself physically. When Josh and I started going out we had both kissed other people. Our relationship was a new beginning, and though we struggled at times, our first kiss was on our wedding day – and we’re really happy it was.
We are a normal couple. But we believe that Grace necessitates a holy reaction, and saving our kiss was our way of trying to keep holiness at the center of our relationship.
But saving your kiss doesn’t save your soul, and we need to stop acting like it does.
I’ve been on both sides of this issue and it’s time for a middle road. I believe this is an issue of balance: that saving your kiss is an individual decision each couple has to make. That said, today I’m going to dispel five myths about saving your kiss for the wedding day, because they’re false, and they need to go away.
1. IT’S GOING TO BE AWKWARD AT THE ALTAR.
Many people seem terrified of kissing their partner on a stage in front of their friends and family. Perhaps they have visions of those YouTube first-kiss couples who only make YouTube because they’re just that bad. That’s not normal. If you’ve watched Gone With the Wind once, you can pull off a decent kiss on a stage.
There will always be nerves at a wedding, but if you really know and love the people you invited, there’s nothing to be afraid of. You aren’t up there to impress people. You’re up there to be a testimony to God’s love, Jesus’ grace, and the unending covenant of marriage – which, by the way, is based on sacrifice. Saving your kiss is a sacrifice. Like I mentioned in my own story, we don’t save kisses because a church told us to do so. Only choose to do it out of a desire to maintain holiness in your relationship.
If that was your motive, there is no such thing as ‘awkward’. And if you are still terrified, talk about it with your fiance.
2. IT’S GOING TO BE AWKWARD IN THE BEDROOM.
I have met couples who made kissing a regular part of their relationship, but their wedding night was as awkward as all get out. Kissing makes no difference in how your wedding night goes: If you’re an awkward person, you’re going to be awkward no matter what.
Saving our kiss made our wedding night more exciting. The fact that everything was brand new was – pardon my frivolity – like being kids in a candy store. We had the whole shebang available to us!
Our kiss is still special to us. Not that other people lose that ‘specialness’ – but I appreciate every time I get to kiss my husband because I waited 1.5 years just to have that privilege. Just because our culture and church says it’s ‘normal’ and makes it run-of-the-mill doesn’t mean I had to buy into that ideology, and I didn’t, and I’m glad of it. Kisses should be special. Just like sex should be special.
It’s not ‘0 to 60’ to kiss on your wedding day and sleep together that night. Our culture tells us we need an on-ramp to intimacy. But we don’t have to kiss for ten months, make out a few times and dance around the edge of immorality to really ‘prepare’ for sex on our wedding night. That’s a lie. If you love each other, your wedding night does not have to be awkward. It will be as good as you allow it to be.
3. YOU MIGHT END UP MARRIED TO A BAD KISSER.
This is by far the most ridiculous objection I received when we were dating. Would you really turn down a godly, strong, sweet man who loves you because he’s a ‘bad kisser’? Is it impossible to learn to be a better kisser?
There are days, if you asked Mr. M, he could tell you my breath was bad or my kiss wasn’t a perfect 10. But this isn’t about performance. This is about commitment.
When you choose to tie yourself to a man for life, you’ve got 50 years to learn how to kiss. And chances are you’ll have him straightened out in less than a month, anyway. All physical intimacy takes communication, like anything else.
You can teach a man or woman to kiss better. It’s much more difficult to win a soul to Christ, to encourage a man to be a leader, or encourage a woman to be less insecure. ‘Good kisser’ should be the last thing on your list of qualifications for a spouse.
4. “I COULD NEVER DO IT.”
Why is it so hard to say no? Is it about appearances, personal desires, an addiction to kissing?
I’m playing the devil’s advocate here. If you claim, “I could never do it” ask yourself a real, genuine, “Why?” I’m not saying we all need to be cookie cutter on this issue, but it merits a discussion.
I’m concerned about this excuse because I’ve sat down with girls who are emotional wrecks following superficial relationships with loser guys. Every time, the kiss that ‘means nothing’ meant more than they anticipated. They are left wondering why he didn’t care, why he didn’t invest, why he dumped them – because, after all, ‘we kissed and it was great!’
This is a narrow line to walk. We can demean kissing; make it mean less so we can do it more. Or we can elevate its value and recognize it for the emotional-physical entity that it is. In choosing the second path, we will miss out on the temporary thrill of that first kiss with every guy we date; but we gain collateral. We gain power.
Sure, I would have liked to kiss somebody. I had the desire – don’t doubt me! But I also wanted a man to know I wasn’t playing around. He was going to earn my affection, because I knew that a lasting love necessitates that kind of perseverance. I wanted to be pursued, and saving my kiss maintained that mystery.
There are exceptions to this rule. But don’t say, “I could never do it” – because you can, if it’s worth it to you. If it’s an issue of holiness- you can do it. If you’re tired of being used by losers – you can do it. If you want to truly be pursued for who you are – you can do it. You don’t have to, but you can.
5. SAVING YOUR KISS IS TOO EXTREME.
Back to the issue of balance: we have people on both sides of this fence. In this culture, waiting to kiss someone till your wedding day (or gosh, even after dating a few months) is borderline insane. And in Christian circles, the arrogance of the relationally-elite have turned many away in embarrassment from this ‘Holy Grail’ of saving a kiss. I know how it feels to be condescended to and I know how it feels to be laughed at. That’s why our motive in this choice is absolutely pivotal.
Our faith is not meant to be overshadowed by cultural trends. If you are struggling with purity, or struggling with being pursued by quality guys, or struggling with identity – then perhaps it’s time to consider how much of yourself you’ve been giving away. If saving your kiss is an effort toward holiness, it is not ‘too extreme’, because we are to be holy as our God and Savior is holy.
So once again, this is an issue of holiness (read more in “Why We Should Stop Asking, “How Far is Too Far?“).
If you can kiss and maintain your holy standing as a Christian woman – go ahead.
If you can kiss and restrain your desires – go ahead.
If you can kiss and honor God, maintain holiness and still maintain a relationship that focuses more on the spiritual than the physical – then go ahead.
But don’t condescend to those who wait. They aren’t “weak” or “inexperienced’. Don’t be shallow.
And those of you who save your kiss – don’t look down on those who don’t! Saving your kiss doesn’t gain you salvation. After all, my husband and I both kissed other people before marriage. Do I think that was the best idea? No. But through that mistake I learned some valuable lessons I’ll be teaching my daughter: You don’t have to kiss frogs to find princes. Real men don’t need physical confirmation of a woman’s value. They already value her for who she is.
So men? Don’t let your desires manipulate a woman’s insecurities. If you’re serious about her, make it known in EVERY way – not just physically.
And women? Don’t try to prove your value by what you can give physically, no matter how small that contribution. Make a man prove his heart for you. Embrace your value. Refuse to settle for “good enough”.
And as always, let the grace that saved you and the holiness God requires be the guide for your every decision.
This article originally appeared on PhyliciaDelta.com. Used with permission.
Phylicia Masonheimer is the author of Christian Cosmo: The Sex Talk You Never Had, a book teaching young women how to understand sexuality from a biblical perspective and overcome sexual sin. She blogs about God’s design for single sexuality, marriage, dating, and motherhood. GET HER BOOK HERE!
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Publication date: September 27, 2017