Saving the kiss…stupid or sacred?
Last week, I read an article by a well-known Christian author and blogger who shared her thoughts on the “Christian Purity Culture.” In the article, the author stated that Christians have taken purity teachings (such as saving your first kiss for your wedding day) too far. She claimed that all the talk about modesty and purity has left girls feeling ashamed of their bodies. She feels that this teaching has done far more harm than good. In particular, she mentions that saving your first kiss for your wedding day seems a bit unromantic and legalistic.
Being one of those teens from the “Christian Purity Culture,” I thought I’d chime in here and say I disagree with her.
I still remember the “True Love Waits” slogan. I read the popular I Kissed Dating Goodbye book by Joshua Harris. Many of my girlfriends wore purity rings and went to purity dances with their fathers. Despite the books, the dances, and the vows, very few of my friends made it to marriage pure. Obviously the purity culture wasn’t working, but I don’t believe it was because it was shaming girls. It seems it wasn’t working because the teachings weren’t put into practice.
At my church youth group, we played flirtatious games. These organized games were all about flirting with boys and with boundaries. There were touching games, holding hand games, and sitting in boys’ laps games. How can the church expect their youth to remain pure when they don’t help their youth live a life of purity?
A boy or girl’s purity is like a beautifully wrapped gift. Everyone knows what it’s like to receive a special gift. The paper is shiny, smooth, and folded into crisp creases. The matching ribbon is tied into a perfect bow and something lovely embellishes the top of the gift. Gifts like that are almost too beautiful to open.
Now, I have a confession to make. Just before Christmas, I used to shake my beautifully wrapped gifts, potentially damaging anything delicate that was inside. I tried to feel what was inside by running my fingers over all the bumps and protruding parts. I held my gifts up to the light, hoping I could see through the paper. Sometimes, I would even go so far as to peel back the Scotch tape to find out what was inside.
Of course, I’d always put the gift back together. But most of the time I couldn’t get it back together the way it had been. The tape wasn’t sticky anymore. I’d ripped and wrinkled the paper. Ultimately, I left my lovely gift a mess.
Now, not only did my gift no longer look perfect, it had lost some of its value. The treasure inside had been exposed and sometimes even damaged. I think the same goes for purity. Purity is so much more than a pledge to abstinence. It’s keeping your heart, your mind, and your body pure. It’s about going above and beyond the technicalities to preserve the gift and protect it until its appointed time. I think creating boundaries is key to protecting purity.
The article I read stated that kissing before marriage isn’t a sin. The author is right. It’s not. But just as physical touching and sitting in someone’s lap isn’t sin, it can awaken feelings that maybe shouldn’t be awakened until marriage. It can certainly lead to temptation. Kissing before marriage isn’t sin, but kissing before marriage can make it more difficult to remain pure.
The author thinks that saving your first kiss is unromantic. But everyone’s idea of romance is different. Someone else may think that abstinence until marriage is unromantic. It’s unwise to let the idea of what’s romantic influence our lives and decisions. God, who created romance, knows best how we should live our lives. We should let His Word guide us in all areas of our life.
I don’t think my personal decision to save my first kiss for marriage was stupid. In fact, I think it was the right thing for me to do, and I hope that my kids will someday make the same choice.
Why I Saved My First Kiss for Marriage
…and why I hope my kids will do the same
- To Honor God
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)
Jesus Christ died for me and I am His. As a Christian, God deserves first place in my life. I wanted God to direct my journey toward marriage, and I wanted my friendships/relationships to reflect Him and bring Him honor.
- To Honor My Parents
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 (NKJV)
My parents had guidelines and suggestions regarding courtship/dating to keep me safe and to give me the foundation for a long and happy marriage. They loved me, and the boundaries they created were there to help me create my own “happily ever after.”
- To Respect Myself
“…likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” I Timothy 2:9 (ESV)
“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Proverbs 11:22 (NIV)
In a society that degrades women into nothing more than pleasurable objects, it’s more important than ever for young ladies to respect themselves. A godly young woman should be modest, discreet, and a person of integrity. She should act in such a way that says, “I’m already taken.” By dressing modestly, protecting my personal space, and choosing not to kiss or be kissed, I was respecting myself which gained respect from others. And mutual respect helps lead to purity.
- To Love My Future Husband
“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.” Song of Solomon 2:7 (NLT)
I wanted to save myself, kisses and all, for the one who deserved it, my future husband. I think waiting to kiss places a high value on kissing. I didn’t want to be kissing someone else’s future husband, and I didn’t want anyone else kissing my future husband.
- To Be an Example
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy4:12 (NKJV)
Others are always watching how we act. Growing up, I had two little brothers who could be influenced by my actions. I knew that how I handled my relationship with boys could influence how my brother’s handled their relationships with girls. I wanted to encourage them to live in a way that would help them have their own “happily ever after.”
Choosing to save your first kiss for marriage is a personal choice but I think it’s a worthy endeavor. I am happy with the choice I made, and that choice did not make me ashamed of my body. I feel that my choice has made my marriage happier and more fulfilling. Being able to enter your marriage relationship without any baggage is a gift you give yourself, not out of obligation, but out of love for God, your future spouse, and yourself.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 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—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31-33. (The Message)