Christian Singles & Dating

When Is the Right Time for a First Kiss in a Godly Relationship

  • Lindsey Brady
When Is the Right Time for a First Kiss in a Godly Relationship

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Solomon 8:4

My twenties, which are quickly coming to a close, have been filled with wonderful friendships with women my age and many who are a few years — okay, ten years — younger than me. Our conversations cover all aspects of life, but few topics rise to the surface more than concerns about the different levels of physical intimacy in relationships.

Many of these discussions start off with, "I know sex is off the table, but what can I do?" Every woman I’ve talked with seems to have a different do-or-die, “do not cross” line. This spectrum ranges from no hand-holding to no sex, although I've talked with women who didn't even set that as a boundary. 

Without a doubt, the most common question I hear is, “When is the right time for the first kiss in a godly relationship?” But the frustrating truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

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What the Bible Says

What the Bible Says

I think we can all agree that the Bible is clear on waiting until marriage to have sex. Numerous verses discuss sex in the context of marriage and the idea of sexual sin. You barely make it into the second chapter of the Bible before sex comes up. Genesis 2:24 tells us, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The Bible is clear that sex is reserved for husbands and wives, not fiancés, girl/boyfriends, or a swipe-right fling.

When viewed by people outside the Christian faith, God has gotten a bad rap as a restrictive wet blanket stripping away all things fun. Let’s be honest: sex is meant to be delighted in, and not many people like being told they can’t do something they enjoy.

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"God is trying to protect the hearts of his children with his rule of saving sex for marriage."

"God is trying to protect the hearts of his children with his rule of saving sex for marriage."

When we view the command to hold sex within the context of marriage through the lens of God as a loving Father, however, we realize that these rules are in place to protect us. My friends who had sex before marriage experienced more broken hearts and shaken identities along the way. Sex creates this unique vulnerability with a person that can absolutely shatter you when that relationship ends. God is trying to protect the hearts of his children with his rule of saving sex for marriage.

If we take that same heart-protection logic and look at other physical lines, where we should draw the line begins to become clearer. Ask yourself, “What level of vulnerability can I maintain, without overexposing myself?”  The answer is different from person to person.  

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What if I've Already Crossed the Line?

What if I've Already Crossed the Line?

Maybe you're reading this article and feeling heaps of shame for crossing a line, whether that’s kissing or having sex.

I want to make this clear: no matter what you’ve done and who you’ve done it with, God loves you. You are not “used goods,” you will find love, and you are so worthy of being treated with respect. Never let someone tell you otherwise.

You have the opportunity to start fresh with each new relationship. You even have the opportunity to start fresh in your current relationship. If you’ve been hard-core making out with your girlfriend in the car and you now feel uncomfortable with that, pump the brakes. Sit down together (somewhere where you won’t get all hot and bothered) and talk about it. You always have the chance to change the trajectory of your relationship.

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5 Practical Ways to Help You Maintain a Godly Relationship

5 Practical Ways to Help You Maintain a Godly Relationship

Having a godly relationship doesn’t happen by accident. It takes intentionality, which can be hard to come by if you don’t know where to begin. Here are five practical ways you can set yourself up for success.

1. Seek the Lord

The best way to have a relationship that doesn’t leave you with a suitcase of physical regrets is to seek the Lord. Read your Bible and pray specifically on this issue. Ask God to make it clear what your physical “do-not-cross” line should be. Once you know your limits, pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your resolve because, real talk, it's sometimes hard to stick to those boundaries.

Also, while you’re at it, don’t forget to pray for God to lead you to a person who would be an appropriate match for you. I had a friend who boldly prayed that she wouldn’t be distracted by any gentleman whom God didn’t intend for her to date. And man, she had a lot fewer instances of marriage-thoughts-at-first-sight than I did!

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2. Communicate Boundaries Beforehand

2. Communicate Boundaries Beforehand

The worst time to set boundaries is when you’re closing in on crossing them. It’ll be a lot harder to stop yourself from kissing when your lips are two centimeters from someone else’s. This also applies to hand-holding, hugging, or having sex.

Think long and hard about what your boundaries are and have a discussion with your significant other early in the relationship. I cannot stress this enough: do not just assume that you are both on the same page just because you are both Christian. There are a lot of guys I’ve been on dates with who seemed like respectable Christian men, who did not want to continue dating me when I made it clear that sex wasn’t happening any time before we said, “I do”. Clearly communicating on this issue can prevent miscommunication and help guard you against temptation.

“But what if I don’t feel comfortable discussing my boundaries with the guy I’m dating?” I know it can be awkward to talk about intimate topics, but if you don’t think you can talk about your boundaries with the person you’re dating, then either you shouldn’t be dating this guy because he makes you uncomfortable, or you’re not ready to be dating at all. End of discussion.

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3. Seek out Accountability

3. Seek out Accountability

Accountability is a powerful tool, but it loses its power if you don’t pick a person you respect or if you’re not completely honest with the person you choose. Find a person who you feel has done dating well (or has gained wisdom from past mistakes) and a person you feel comfortable being completely honest with.

One option is to have a solo-accountability person, who you just meet with alone, regardless of who you’re dating. The other is to double up with your significant other and have an accountability couple. This looks like the two of you meeting with a couple who’s more mature in their relationship. The benefit to this is that you can meet as a couple or individually with your same-gendered counterparts as your relationship develops.

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4. Evaluate Lust Versus Love

4. Evaluate Lust Versus Love

It can be hard to draw a boundary line in a relationship when the physical act is something you’d also do with a friend or family member. For instance, some people may find it weird that you’ve decided not to hug your girlfriend until you're engaged, but you’ll embrace your friends, your parents, or even a neighbor. The same reasoning can be applied to cuddling up on a couch with some friends and not your significant other or giving your parents a peck on the lips without even giving your girlfriend a kiss on the check.

A helpful measure when wading through these gray areas is to evaluate whether you’re taking action out of love or out of lust. It’s possible for love to drive cuddling, hugging, or kissing, but it’s also possible for passion to cause each of those actions as well. Let’s be honest, giving your grandpa a kiss is way different from swapping spit with the guy you’ve had a crush on for seven months. 

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5. Acknowledge if You Cross the Line

5. Acknowledge if You Cross the Line

One of the best things you can do in your relationship is to call out when you’ve crossed a line immediately. If you’ve said that you’re not kissing until the altar and then you start making out while watching Netflix, call it out.

When you don’t call out these slipups, you will keep making them. If you leave your mistake unspoken, you’ve effectively moved your boundary. And once you’ve broken one rule, it becomes even simpler to bypass another. Even if you're still light-years away from the premarital-sex line, you need to address this mistake.

Say you’ve decided that the boundary you set was too strict, like no physical touch whatsoever, and you want to move the boundary to something lesser, like allowing handholding. This is a decision that needs to be made out of the heat of the moment, mutually agreed upon, and ideally discussed with your accountability partners. Moving boundaries, no matter their strictness, should not be taken lightly.

So, while there is no clear-cut decision on when the first kiss in a relationship should be shared, I whole-heartedly believe it’s a decision you should think about ahead of time. The more prepared you are for the decision, the more confident you’re going to feel that you made the right choice.

Lindsey Brady is a wife and stepmother who loves to spend time in nature or go for long runs. When she's feeling a bit more sedentary, she'll watch an entire season of any Food Network show in a single sitting. You can follow her on Instagram at real.slim.brady.

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