Wednesday, August 13, 2008

#12 Waiting To Kiss Until Your Wedding Day

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Who does this? Well, a lot of Christians do. If you google it you'll find blogs and message boards filled with accounts of people who are waiting for their wedding day to kiss someone, anyone, for the first time.

This idea is popular almost exclusively in Christian culture and orthodox Muslim communities, but in Christianity you usually get to pick your spouse yourself and see your fiancee's face without a veil before the wedding day. The reasons the Christians cite for waiting till their wedding day often include:


-they don't want to be overwhelmed by temptation before they are legally married so they're not going to get the ball rolling beforehand.

-they have been "sexually impure" in the past and don't want to be tempted to repeat history. (Without fail, these couples also make a point of letting everyone know they are careful not to put themselves in tempting situations and spend their time together with their friends or in public.)

-they want the kiss to "mean something."

-they say being able not to kiss before marriage will mean you have a strong relationship and therefore it will last.

The irony of this unusual decision lies in the fact that it somehow takes on an idolatrous quality. The focus is on how they are not kissing and therefore how "pure" they are. Their not-kissing becomes a sort of idol. The couple is commended vigorously by the Christian community. "I personally could never do it. I admire you for doing this." "Kudos on your commitment to purity!" "Whoo, that's gonna be some wedding night!" (Is it ever.) The not-kissing decision also is never kept secret. If the decision not to kiss was kept private then it could possibly be construed by the general populus as special and romantic (albeit weird), but when your extended relatives and neighbors down the street know you are not kissing until the altar, it takes on a voyueristic quality. When attending a wedding where the bride and groom haven't kissed, it is all anyone talks about while waiting for the ceremony to start. You're nervous for them. You're embarrassed that their grandparents are watching. You think about the wedding night and how they're going to go from zero to sex in one go, then you wince at the images flooding your brain. You may suffer dizziness, nausea, and even lack of faith. Why would God encourage people to not kiss until their wedding day? Do I want to serve a God that wants us to be that pure and holy? Then if you are lucky, you will realize that the not-kissing decision has nothing to do with God and most likely has everything to do with them. The years the couple has spent listening to Josh MacDowell "Why Wait?" sermons in youth group struck terror of physical intimacy deep within their hearts and by the time they met each other they hadn't kissed anyone at all because they'd been too afraid. This can lead to this extremist notion of putting the whole thing off. WAY off.


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If you are a Christian male and your girlfriend wants to wait to kiss until you're married, your hands are tied. Any misgivings about her decision can too easily be interpreted as being disrespectful of her "commitment to purity" and any protesting on your part could make you look like a filthy horndog who isn't really interested in marriage. The bride often has little to no sex drive as she has been raised to think sex is irrelevant and sort of dirty, so they compromise by not kissing till the altar and ride the endorphins of glowing commendation on their purity from their family and friends. Then once they're married the husband is ready to go but the wife is terrified. He spends the honeymoon furiously bench pressing in the hotel gym while she cries in a corner of their honeymoon suite and calls her mom.

Glory be to God!

68 comments:

mushroommeadows said...

I totally agree with you on this one. One can err on the side of being too prideful and haughty by making this the most important aspect of the relationship.

Simone said...

Do you know people who have experienced their honeymoons as concluded in this post? Truly tragic, if so.

It does all beg the question, if you are going to wait for sex, why not kissing. Since I don't believe in waiting for sex, the sane and insane place to draw the lines are blurry to me.

Hannah said...

Do you remember the "steps to premarital sex" that started with "Pinkies Touch" ??? I don't remember how many steps there actually were, but I remember the first one was, the couple is walking together and their pinkies touch, and they don't pull their hands away, which leads to 'Holding Hands' (Oh DEAR GOD NO!!), which leads to arms around the shoulders, etc, etc... Was that part of the "Why Wait" youth conference or another one I went to? I don't know.
Crazy sh** man.

stephy said...

I do remember steps! But they were James Dobson's steps. He drew a line below the 3rd step, which was face-to-face. He said going beyond that wasn't good. Another step that was super intimate was the hand to head, he said. One of the steps was called "touching below the waist." Ha ha!

I'm in the audience in the James Dobson 'Life on the Edge' video, I was at Summit in 1991 and they used us as the audience for the video. There's a closeup of me for like 4 seconds. I've got to find that video somewhere.

Do you remember when your dad said "Hannah, you look like you were poured into those jeans"?

Anonymous said...

Oh Lord, I actually read that "I kissed dating goodbye" book in college. I hadn't ever had a boyfriend and to be honest I was hoping that if I did what the book said it would somehow magically produce a person to get hitched to. Was I ever so young?

Anyway, I think you make a really good point about how it can turn into an idol for people. When I was in college a friend of mine knew a couple who were waiting to kiss until their wedding day. I didn't even personally know these people (although I knew who they were) but I knew that about them. I asked if that wouldn't perhaps make the wedding night something of a shock, and my friend said that they were going to take things slowly after the wedding. Why did everyone need to know that?!

Becca

angela aka mrs. maverick said...

1. it is good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Cor. 7: 1)kissing is touching. 2. i got married to fulfill Scripture (1 Cor. 7:9)

Simone said...

So it's better to marry the first person you're horny for so you can "do it", rather than kiss a few people while finding someone with whom you can actually have a deep and meaningful relationship? Makes sense!

stephy said...

Yeah, I actually think that happens a lot.

angela aka mrs. maverick said...

1. i see my attempt at being humorous fell flat. 2. i don't agree you should marry the first person that turns you on 3. committed Christians usually do marry quickly to avoid fornicating. 4. kissing oft time leads to stumbling for lots of Christians. 5. looking forward to stephy's post on stumbling issues.

Simone said...

But 1 Cor. 7:9 says better to marry than to be lustful, or something like that! I was just going off the quote you supplied!

What is worse? Premature marriage to the wrong person to avoid unmarried fornication or marrying a bad person hastily because you are horny and then bringing children into a terrible family situation? It's a very common an unfortunate occurrence, one which I think can be avoided with a little kissing at the very least.

angela aka mrs. maverick said...

actually you're asking the same thing (minus the children) just worded differently.

how do you know you're marrying the wrong person?- it's not like they have a sign on their head stating "i'm the wrong person, it's best that you don't marry me". i already said, jumping into a quickie marriage to keep from fornicating isn't wise, however, the individuals doing this usually don't think the person they're getting hitched to is wrong for them.

on the other hand, a person puckering up with everybody they've got the hots for before settling for one set of lips doesn't guarantee they've made the right choice either.

could still end up with a straight up jerk. and then the children come...

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never thought of this before. I am a girl and I was thinking about doing this. I can see what you mean. I probably wont do it that anymore. Spending too much time worrying about nothing.

Anonymous said...

Why should it be anyones' business when someone kisses? It shouldn't be a big deal either way.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'd like to point out that any physical touch is an expression of where your heart is. There more you give, the more of your heart is being represented. In all honesty, if a guy has no respect for my heart and thinks he can just walk in and take it without any commitment to keeping it, he is not worth my time of day. Same goes for the girl.

The whole point of waiting is respect for eachother. It has nothing to do with any susitions that "if we do this our marriage will last longer". It has to do with the knowledge that one day, that person WILL be married to SOMEBODY. Would it be okay for a man's wife to kiss someone else? Absolutely not! Why? Because that part of her heart belongs to her husband and no one else.

We wait for the vows to kiss out of RESPECT for eachother, and for the other's ossible spouse and, I hate to break it to you, but that very well might NOT be you.

Aother reason to wait is for the commitment. If you don't take your "till death do us part" vows seriously, then you go right ahead and kiss everyone you want to. You'll probably just devorse whoever you say them to anyway. But if you really mean what you say, and commit to never devorsing your spouce... THAT'S commitment, and waiting to kiss a person until you make that commitment is just PART of it. It says, I have never given this part of me to anyone else and I never will.

In all honesty, if a couple has kept a commitment for that long, my confidence that they can keep one for the rest of their lies is strengthened.


Lastly, It is totally up to the couple how much they want to give to eachother before marriage. Reading posts like this make them feel like this decision is stupid and that is NOT what they need. Offering advice and a simple suggestion is fine, but do you realize how much pressure they're under from just their own emotions to keep this conviction? They need support, not ridicule.

*chuckles* Okay, I'm going to get off my soap box now. I just didn't want anyone to read all these things and not think there was another side to the matter. Forgive me if I have offended anyone, but in all honesty, alot of what was said offended ME, so I guess we're not strangers to the freedom of speach here.

Just so you know, I'm 20 years old, never kissed a soul. I'm engaged to be married to a man of God in June. Out of resect for eachother (not an idol or pride or anything else) it will be our very first kiss, and I don't think I'll have ANY problem going from 0 to 100 that night either. I love the man. Never loved anyone else. And I know exactly what it means to be married to him. No worries there, trust me.

Anonymous said...

I agree that couples shouldn't go around telling (boasting to) everyone that they haven't kissed.
I went to a wedding where they had waited for their first kiss and the Pastor 'kindly' announced to everyone before the kiss that it was their first.
As if you're not nervous enough already without everyone waiting to see your first kiss! I think people do do it for the wrong reasons, but you should respect the people who do for the right reasons.

I made the decision not to kiss from watching the experience of my sisters. They both went out with guys they didn't even really like and yet were content to pash the heck out of each other.
Long story short they both broke it off with their boyfriends and left the guys in a total mess which still effects their lives many years later.
Now I'm not saying that happens to everyone, but I'd rather not ruin someone's life by rushing into kissing. Yes it's REALLY hard not to kiss especially when you're engaged, but I'd rather not awaken love before its time.

The hardest thing to start off with is telling the other person of your decision. I was so worried about telling my man, but he actually brought it up which made it so much easier.
Yes there are some people who know about our decision but it goes deeper than that. Boundaries are the hardest but best things to have in a relationship and you need people to keep you accountable.
They may not agree with what you're doing but they'll keep you to your commitment. How can we lead by example if know one knows what we are doing?
But lead by example, by doing (or not as the case may be) not by telling everyone. Because it's also like you're saying to people we're doing it this way and you should too. Not everyone can do it the same as you.
It's up to you as a couple.
We can't expect people to take our advice if we haven't walked the path. It is working for us, but with under a month to go 'til our wedding it feels like you're so close and yet still sooooooooo far away.
Yes, it's a little scary, but so is anyone's first time. We've talked about it enough to know there wont be any issues with the wedding night, but that it wont be perfect either. But that's the joys of marriage - practice makes perfect.

My advice to anyone reading this would be, have respect for each others bodies. If they don't end up being the person you marry, at least you know you've kept them safe for their future spouse.

Anonymous said...

"Do I want to serve a God that wants us to be that pure and holy?"
YES!! because what else is holiness? one splash of red in a bucket of white paint makes it all pink...

Doxy said...

This is NOT Christianity. It's gnosticism, pure and simple.

I grew up in a church that taught us "Sex is dirty and sinful---so save it for marriage." Like every other demographic in the country, about half of us are divorced now.

So best of luck to you, Anon. I hope you beat the stats---but it will be in spite of not having kissed your mate, not because of it.

anicia said...

This.was.hilarious.

Especially because I KNOW of a couple that that last sentence happened to.

ben parsons said...

i kissed joshua harris.

stephy said...

I kissed someone named Joshua Harris, but who hasn't? It's a common name. Or I guess people who wait till the altar don't kiss Joshua Harrises.

AmeliePoulain said...

So, the evangelical obsession with preventing pre-marital sex has now extending to pre-marital kissing? And holding hands? That's just sad....what you have is an entire generation who doesn't know how to express affection without some automatic connection to sex!

As anybody whose ever been pecked on the cheek by siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, etc. knows, kisses don't automatically lead to sex. They can be entirely innocent and loving.


Along with the similarly creepy purity ring-phenomenon---I'm sorry, but your Daddy should not be thinking about you *like that*---this makes me feel such pity for couples like those you describe, who are being sexualized by the institution that treats sex as a sin.

Anonymous said...

I have an interesting opinion about this. My boyfriend and I both have sexually impure backgrounds and newly transformed relationships with Jesus Christ. Although we have both kissed and been impure with other people we have committed to staying pure and refraining from kissing until the alter. It was a surprisingly mutual and peaceful decision. We both have read "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and SEVERAL other Christian Dating books and what we've decided about them is...

Don't make them your Bible!

We have gained knowledge from several books but we aren't blindly following the words of these authors. A lot of knowledge in that and other books is definitely God given but we ultimately answer to God and follow His word. So you can really gain a lot from books like that, but I would advise anyone to refrain from following it completely.

Kissing has not become an issue for us and I'm so grateful for that! I feel like if you fully dedicate your relationship to God that He can take away potential issues. We are in such a great place and I am so excited to see where God leads us!

I would encourage anyone to examine their hearts and ask God to reveal to them where their boundaries need to be put and to never falter from them. My boyfriend and I hold hands and hug and give each other kisses on the cheeks and hands, and that is how we show affection and the extent of our intimacy. Any more is too much for us. But at the same time that might be too much for another couple, it all comes down to where you begin to lust and to stay clear of that place.

I can tell you this...
I can't wait to kiss him on our wedding day! I'm looking foreword to the value that that kiss will have, representing our purity before God, commitment to each other, and life together!

janet said...

Well these comments really underscore your point about anonymous posters defending their religion.

I laughed out loud a few times, Anonymous Ones, so thanks for sharing.

Love your blog!

Ruth said...

I have read many of your blog entries and I believe that you are right about a lot of things --not everything --but a lot of things. Christian culture is messed up. It's true. There are many hypocrites. The problem is, the way that you are putting Christianity in a box as you are and bashing ALL of it that you can find to bash, you are completely condemning Christianity altogether. There will always be "wheat with the tares" as Jesus Himself said. You are being just as narrow-minded about these things as the Christian culture that you are condemning. You cannot see into people's hearts and judge them. Only God alone can judge the hearts of these people. You do not know really why they are doing these things or making the decisions that they make. I agree that Christian culture can be very sickening. But some people truly want to seek God. He reveals to us His character in His Word and He is pure. He honors commitment and fidelity in marriage. He hates divorce. He created sex to be a pure union between one man and one woman in the context of marriage. This is all in His word (and yes, I make my pronouns capitalized when I speak of Him because He is worthy of all honor and praise). Out of faith many of us want to follow the character of our Heavenly Father. And YES, some of us do actually believe He IS and that He is rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Jesus condemned bitterness. He said that if we refuse to have graciousness in our dealings with ALL men, then He Himself will not have graciousness for us when we stand before His judgment seat. Only Christ can save us. No works of our own. But to hold on to bitterness keeps us from the mercy of Christ. With all respect.

stephy said...

Hi Ruth,
I appreciate your concern.
The point of this blog is that there is something about clinging to a culture's ideas of how to be a "good Christian" that cuts out so much of the beauty and mystery in knowing God. It's like squishing something into a box to make it fit and make it palatable instead of being in an open field that isn't packaged and predictable but there is so much room for beauty and joy. I hope others can see that, and many have told me they have because of this blog. I want to show the disparity between the culture and the actual person of Christ. Thanks for your interest and your prayers.

Andrew said...

Do you condemn waiting until marriage for the first kiss, or the pride in telling everyone, or both? Let's make sure we are all on the same page here. Yes, it is hypocritical to do something in the name of God in order to garner the praise or attention of men. It is also pride to confine God to our definition of who and what He should be. So, with that out of the way, who is going to condemn anyone for waiting until they are married for their first kiss? Is it morally wrong? Some of you may argue it isn't the wisest decision (though that can be debated), but is it actually wrong? And who here can peer into the heart of the couple and know why they really made the decision? If you have that ability, let me know, because I could sure use your skills. So, this isn't about waiting to kiss at all, it's about the pride of hypocrisy, or the way we confine God. Let's talk about that, or at least bring up these various "stuff christian culture likes" in such a way that it is clear we are discussing not the actual thing itself, but the way we can wield the thing to confine God or mask our hypocrisy. Otherwise it becomes too easy for people to come in here condemning the act instead of the real problem. It should be clear to all of us that these things, things like waiting to kiss, calling your spouse your best friend, etc, aren't wrong in and of themselves, and can actually be done both from a pure heart, in which case they can be GOOD, or from a hypocritical heart, in which case they become evil. When we jeer others for this decision, though, there is no good to be found in it... we have become judgmental and worse than the people we condemn. This blog could get a lot more "bandwidth" toward the cause against hypocrisy and God-confining if it would stay focused on the real issue. As it is, you have people confused about what you are really condemning.

Ruth said...

Stephy,
I appreciate your response. The thing is, that if you want to show people who Christ actually is, show them what His character is like. No, we do not have to follow the American Christian culture's idea of Christianity, but we do need to show the Spirit of Jesus. True Christianity is about reflecting the nature of God shown to us through the person of Christ. What was He like? The Bible reveals it all to us: Gracious, kind, loving, forgiving, long-suffering, Holy, Pure, etc., etc. But let me ask you --was he a mocker? a scoffer? OR was HE mocked and scoffed? You know the answer, preacher kid. ;) All I'm saying, is that if you REALLY want to show people what God is like through the person of Jesus Christ, end your scoffing, mocking session toward Christian American culture. You are not leading people to a true relationship with Christ, which can only be done through showing them the Spirit of Christ which is graciousness, love and forgiveness for all men, even those who are horribly off the deep end.
Again, with all respect,
Ruth

stephy said...

Ruth, you don't read much Flannery O'Connor, do you?

skylana said...

ruth, is it hard for you to separate jesus from christian culture? i always think that jesus would probably hate it ... i mean wasn't HE the one who turned over the tables in the temple out of anger... why? cause THAT was mocking. just like the sickness we have called 'christian culture'. making fun of this fake thing we have created in this country, a superficial culture that thrives off of things that don't matter in life, things that are trivial in comparison to the suffering and pain so many humans are enduring, trivial in comparison to what jesus lived his life for, i think its the healthiest thing we can do to it. look straight at it and say "you are not real, you are laughable and not love." we could argue all day long at what jesus is like but when i read the bible i dont see him sitting around tripping out about people who kiss before they get married, or trying to sell mouse pads with bible verses on them, i see him focusing on real issues in life.

David said...

Ruth:

You can't build a new building until you tear the old one down. The tearing down is as vital to the building process as anything else.

Christian culture gets in the way of communicating god's character. It must be dealt with.

ShariMacD said...

Ruth (and other dissenters): I don't experience this blog as a mockery, at all. Evangelicals set up Christian culture as a religion in and of itself, and this blog (an excellent example of satire, not mockery, I think) points out the absurdity of that -- encouraging people not to take that culture too seriously.

Jesus became very angry with the moneychangers at the temple, who were making a profit in the name of religion. Many aspects of Christian culture cited in this blog fall under the same category, though I experience Stephy as being creatively challenging, not angry.

If I thought that the Jesus of contemporary Christian culture was the true Jesus, I'd give up on Christianity altogether. This blog is a wonderful, funny, and thought-provoking reminder that culture (Christian or not) is simply culture, that God and Jesus are bigger than (and could never be accurately represented by) such culture. And that when one perceives very real absurdity in Christian culture, one healthy response is not to be disappointed in God or Jesus, but simply to THINK -- and, quite often, to laugh.

Thank you, Stephy, for your intelligent, badly needed, very funny, and highly challenging observations.

Steph in Denver said...

Stephy & Ruth,

This is beautiful: "It's like squishing something into a box to make it fit and make it palatable instead of being in an open field that isn't packaged and predictable but there is so much room for beauty and joy." LOVE! You know we're all trying figure out our faith/spiritual journey/religion and not everyone is going to be on the same page. I have to remind myself with people who are like you, Ruth and some of the other anonymous people. I get what Ruth is saying to Stephy, mostly because people tell me all of the time it's not what I'm saying it's how I'm saying it. But there's also a whole group who are easily offended plus they are offended by pretty much anything because they are right and everyone else is wrong. And I know a lot of Christians come to this blog thinking Stephy is telling everyone else that they are wrong. But I’m not sure she is. Also, it seems like Ruth thinks some things are funny except how you say certain things for example purity. I appreciate Ruth’s reverence for God. I do. However, not every Christian would agree about Ruth’s thoughts "purity" nor Stephy’s. And, not everyone has the same purity convictions as Ruth does or mine. That’s something I had to learn when I moved from the Bible Belt to Denver. But the reality is purity is subjective/gray in the Bible, but for Christian culture it's very black and white. Things are much easier if it’s black and white. So how far can I go? I remember being in Crusade for years and totally going along with the "waiting ‘til I get married to kiss thing." I went along with it b/c I thought that's what you were supposed to do as a Christian. It wasn't my personal "conviction" either. It was my friend's conviction, not mine, but I made it mine too. Didn't kiss anyone for 5 effing years! Don't worry I made up for it. I see where they are coming from though, but it's a private issue and shouldn't be on display for everyone to know. It’s kinda like purity-bragging when reality it isn’t defined for us. We think it is, but it’s not. When I made my faith my own I realized most of that what I went along with wasn't my convictions really. Kissing is fun!

Stephy, keep doing this blog. It's hilarious and you are brilliant! Not everyone is going to like it or what you say or how you say it. But I like how you're reminding all of us that Christian culture is funny and we need to figure out why we do certain things. For example, I laugh at the Stuff White People Like b/c it's true, all of it. I'm so white. I don’t take it personally when they say stuff like how white people like to shop at Whole Foods and eat hummus. Yep, I do! So, is it culture telling me to worship God this way or is how I want to worship God? We all have our personal convictions and see things differently but hopefully we know we do. For instance, I remember at the DNC last summer talking to an angry protester who kept yelling "9/11 is an inside job!" I asked him why he believed that because I really wanted to know. And the guy couldn't give me a single reason why he was protesting. It was sad. Know why you’re protesting, dude. And, I think mutual understanding is important to see where we are all coming from. A friend, pastor's wife, once said when a group of us gals were talking about politics over dinner and disagreeing said something along the lines "Isn't it great that all of us can come from different perspectives on politics and not just see things through the same lens." We need the Ruth’s and the anonymous folks too as we all figure out our faith. The Ruth’s remind of certain things and folks like Stephy help others to progress a little and to think about faith differently. The yen and the yang, I suppose. Anyway, Stephy what you're doing is part of the Christian dialogue, albeit online, for this current faith change we are experiencing.

-Steph in Denver

Kari said...

I think you have to kiss at least a little before you get married. I've ended up in the friend zone from lack of physical contact. My husband and I didn't waste any time when we started dating. We made out on the couch nonstop for the first 3 months we were together. Good times!

Noelle said...

It's not the 'making an idol out of purity' that bothers me, it's the fact that sex is so obsessed over that affection gets pulled into the pit with it, and gestures of affection get tainted by this spectre of unsanctioned sex.

:(

I hope people living neck-deep in this culture (Christians or not) manage to shrug off the hypocritical stuff and have decent lives.

Anonymous said...

I've held to these convictions for years, and not once have been told that sex was dirty. I have been told that it is a beautiful, wonderful gift designed by God for married people. (Heb. 13:4) My relationship with my fiance is not based on performance - how well i kiss or how well i "please" him in that area - but on God's love and plan for each other. God has truly designed us for each other and by taking the time to love the person without something as wonderful as sex, has only brought us closer. I will never have to think, "oh, fred was better" or wonder if he liked the way suzy "loved" him better and am i measuring up? I know he loves me reguardless and that we can both enjoy each other. I dont want to share that or have ex problems. and wuite frankly, i dont want any other girl to have touched him either. Now, my fiance didnt have these convictions till a year before he met me, so he did kiss other girls and almost lost his purity. but i know Godhas made me for him and we can forget that and move on. will i be jealous that some other girl "shared" him? yes, but i can move on. He wishes he never had, and tells me he only wants me. but its not about "HEY LOOK< I DONT KISS!!!" but about my honour to God and the man i love.

marie said...

oh yes, I remember reading "I kissed dating goodbye" in high school, and for about a year, I believed that saving your first kiss for your wedding was a very romantic idea. Back then, I swallowed anything Christian culture fed me...

One problem that results from this extremely conservative idealogy is that so many Christian couples get married VERY early, because they just can't wait to get physical with each other. They don't see any problem with marrying young because they believe that God has destined them to be together so everything will work out fine. That's probably why Christian divorce rates are even with the rest of the world, despite their beliefs that it's forever.

Anonymous said...

The debates are pretty cool. I like the different views that people are posting. The only thing getting to me is this. What is it like comming from both perspectives? I have heard a lot of stories how females have abstained from kissing until they are married, but what about guys? And what about a guy who knows he wont be married for another 5 years at least and is in a relationship where they can't kiss right now?

Anonymous said...

oh and by right now I mean the guy and girl are in a relationship but they are not going to get married for at least another 5 years.

Kayla said...

My cousin and her husband didn't even hold hands before they got married. He cheated on her with a girl in his youth group.

Steven Kippel said...

Holy crap! I also went to Summit.

Idea: Christian Culture Likes saying "freaking."

Mel T said...

English fails me in face of such absurdity. Fortunately I have a collection of nonsensical commenter verification words.

Potoner! Derign hymmuree satessin, eclest buyespit. Eximble brapitut. Tandenut brapitut. Colledn tuffe redlyali, derign eclest lisanyl tandenut. Hymmuree, hymmuree buyespit!

Monique said...

I am SO glad my husband and I didn't wait to kiss for our wedding! For one thing we were engaged almost 3 years so he could finish college, and for another our first kiss was a disaster! We clanged teeth and it hurt, and we both laughed at how bad we were at kissing! A few days and some bruised, sore lips later, we were kissing pros!

Also I just wanted to let you know, I love this blog! I'm an atheist and I suspect the Bible is a fairy tale, but my husband is a pastor's kid and I really hope for his sake there is a heaven because he would go there. I'm confident I would go there too, if god is real and cares more about living a good life than lip service. If he is what Christian Culture says than my husband's relatives are right and I will end up in hell for doubting him, while murderers and child-molesters get into heaven as long as they go to church every Sunday. Your blog is helping me get in touch with my husband's upbringing and some of the stuff he has to overcome to love me despite my godless ways! I don't see it as disrespectful to Christians at all, it's just teasing them a bit for the stuff that deserves teasing! The way I feel about the judgemental and conservative Jesus of mainstream Christian Culture is that if they're right about him, then he doesn't really deserve my worship.

chris said...

im a guy in a relationship with a girl who is saving her first kiss til the alter and while i dont personally believe that to be necessary, i am going to respect her wishes and i completely understand where she is coming from. if a relationship before marriage needs the physical aspect of love to survive, it isnt good. sex was designed for marriage so it makes sense for a marriage to need sex, barring any physical issues that prevent it, but beforehand if physical intimacy is an integral part of a relationship, that just doesnt seem to be how its supposed to work. i also like the point another commenter made about having to worry about your spouse thinking oh so-n-so was better and now im stuck with this for the rest of my life. i know i dont want my wife to be thinking that...

stephy said...

Hey Chris,
nobody wants their wives, or their husbands, to be thinking that. Not kissing won't keep that from happening, just so you know.

Rollo Tomassi said...

Denying basic human sexual impulses has been the single most useful tool in CC for centuries. Lets not forget that Jesus said "if you look upon a woman with lust in your heart you've committed adultery with her." By this statement alone 98% of the male population is condemned to hell (the other 2% are blind).

You could easily make the case that Jesus is saying "don't even THINK it!", but I think it's meant to illustrate the larger principle of a need for salvation. Jesus is saying you are so hopelessly doomed that even thinking about sinning (not the act) is enough to damn you because God knows your heart. You're screwed. We are inherently imperfect beings (by design), but there is still salvation despite this.

The more puritanical of CC might think that's advocating a license to sin, but it's not that we shouldn't strive against sin, rather we need to keep things in perspective. Waiting for a wedding night to even kiss borders on masochism, and I'd argue that it's indicative of a larger psychological problem as opposed to one of morality.

By the "don't even think it model" above, a certain degree of sin is necessary to even want to become sexually intimate with another person. At some point you have to look at your future wife and say "Damn, I'd hit that!" You have to imagine what sex would be like with that person, you have to have some degree of sexual arousal prompted by that person. End of story, you thought it, you're screwed, go to Hell, go directly to Hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Doesn't matter if you never kissed, dry humped or got a hummer.

stephy said...

I think you're right on, Rollo.

Mel T said...

"Saving her first kiss til the alter."

Rollo Tomassi said...

Pulled from this week's PostSecret blog:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_a7jkcMVp5Vg/Sr7A4pSzeaI/AAAAAAAAJ8I/8BgmtUUZlfQ/s1600-h/nun1.jpg

timely to say the least

Tia Lynn said...

When I 17, I well-intentioned church lady gave me "I Kissed Dating Goodbye." I told her I hadn't even kissed dating hello, and wouldn't be needing it....yikes!

Beth said...

I'm a missionary kid, so I can WHOLLY relate to pretty much everything you've been writing about in this blog. In high school, my parents fed me the whole purity thing, and I read books like "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and "The Bride Wore White." I also received a purity necklace. All throughout high school, I was terrified of guys "taking advantage" of me, so I became a feminazi instead. I didn't date until I was 18 and wasn't kissed until I was 19. I felt dirty afterward. Several years down the road, I'm now in a relationship with the most wonderful man and he and I kiss all the time. I don't feel like a slut anymore--why did I ever?!--and I'm realizing just how skewed this perspective on dating, relationships, and sexuality is in the church.

PS. I never had the sex talk growing up. How did I learn about the birds and the bees? My mom gave me age appropriate literature on it.
Srsly.

Anonymous said...

like someone said in another blog for this blog, sex isnt just about what you do in the bedroom after 8, its about little things you do all day. and we would definitly agree that kissing is part of that... why do you like a good kisser? cause it turns you on, duh! thats not bad, but if you start making out and both of you really want to, its just gonna be harder to not have sex. and i still dont want my husband to think his exgirlfriend was better at it than me - im selfish, i want to do everything the best for him ;)

Anonymous said...

Just a little "TESTIMONY" from someone who isn't an idiot and for whom this worked.

I didn't read "I kissed dating goodbye," I read his other book, the one that came after, "Boy meets girl" which is about courting. My husband read it too when we started dating. We were both 19 and knew we were interested in marriage and thought our sex drives, if we revved 'em up (i'm totally saying that to be facetious), could be distracting. So we didn't kiss.

We had both had histories (also known as THE AGE OF 14) when we watched porn. Addictions, really, that had lasted years and which we were both recovering from. So we had seen and were aware of a whole buncha stuff that we knew would really pollute our relationship and the getting-to-know-each-other should-I-marry-this-person phase. We didn't want sex to muddy the waters, and to keep a level head, as much as possible (we were still madly in love).

So on our wedding day we kissed. (It was a bit like a fairy tale. We haven't stopped kissing since. In fact, my husband is better at PDA than many I know.) Very, very few people knew we weren't kissing before. For us, for some reason, it wasn't a big deal. And it wasn't that we were sexually... dead. We hopped to sex on our first night. And have had sex frequently ever since. There were other issues, but that's to be expected when one hasn't had sex before and is kind of afraid it'll hurt ("The doors were closed").

Now, I'm a Christian. So you have to understand where I'm coming from. I believe God tells us to avoid sex outside of marriage, and I took that very seriously. And I also believed that he doesn't make rules that are impossible to follow. Difficult, yes, but not impossible. And I believe that he blessed my husband and I for our commitment to honour Him in that stage of our life.

Our lives are far from perfect. But it was right and good for us to do in our relationship. There are many Godly men and women I know who DO kiss before marriage and it's no biggy for them. I don't just Christians, I just know what my husband and I needed to do.

I wanted to share an alternative view.

Broaden your perspective.

Show you you can't put people in a box just because they do something you don't understand.

amirite?

Sarah said...

Hi, Anonymous,

No, not really.

I'm glad that you're happy with your decision (you sound a little defensive of your happiness, though), but you got really condescending at the end there. I doubt Stephy's perspective needs to be "broadened" because she, like a lot of us, lived in this culture for a long time, and are well familiar with what goes on on the inside.

I actually don't think the Bible tells us not to have sex before marriage. Further, the best parts of the Bible actually harp on how an action (like following a rule) is much less important than what is in the heart. Even in the Christian Old Testament, especially Isaiah, God complains that people follow the rules without meaning any of them. Which means that there isn't just one right way to go about relationships -- all relationships. There are general principles to honor, like respect and love for the other, but that doesn't mean the same thing in, or require the same actions for, every situation.

That's a pretty complicated thing to build a culture on, though, and so a lot of Christians feel more comfortable and secure creating a web of rules to follow that God had nothing to do with making. Which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but it's definitely a bad thing when following man-made rules becomes a reason to judge the people who don't follow them.

I'm well aware that a lot of us sound judgmental of this kind of decision -- a lot of that is because of our personal experiences with them. Sorry; we're not trying to jump all over you. The point of this post, for me, is twofold: 1.) A lot of people who follow the "no kissing until the wedding day" rule lord it over everyone else, which is not only unattractive behavior but ethically problematic; and 2.) Frequently this trend brings serious problems into a couple's relationship, such as a negative view of sex combined with an overglorification of sex to compensate for the lack of enjoyment.

I'm not saying you fit into either of these two categories. A lot of people do, though, and suffer themselves as much as they make other people suffer, which is really unfortunate and not fair to anyone -- and out of character with what Jesus teaches us.

Elly said...

I was going to do this...but decided against it after reading this blog.

I've got an amazing Christian boyfriend, and was really afraid that if I kissed him I wouldn't be pure. Finally I just prayed and asked God that if it was okay, He'd make it happen. Five minutes later and we were kissing. *good memories :) *

I think that it's really about self-control. The people that choose to "wait" either have a psychological fear of physical intimacy or NO idea how to control their bodies.

Over all, don't be so afraid of kissing. Ask God what He wants you to do for your particular situation. He may tell you to wait or give you the go-ahead, but whatever He says, you know it'll be right. :)

Katie said...

An acquaintance recently got married to a girl who wanted to wait to kiss until her wedding day. I had an unusually intimate perspective on their relationship because I was dating his roommate, so I was around him and his girlfriend/fiance all the time.

Here's what bothered me about their situation. Both of them had had "unpure" relationships in the past and were not used to keeping their hands off a significant other. Within a few months of beginning their relationship (sans kissing!) they had begun to covertly hook up....which my boyfriend and I referred to as "hurried handjobs in the dark". They weren't too good at hiding it from us. I walked in on them doing this in the apartment living room more than once.

However, they WERE STILL NOT KISSING. On this fact they were unwavering. He told my boyfriend that he once accidentally started to kiss her, and she got mad and left the room. They went around telling people that they were saving their first kiss til marriage, and, well, I guess they technically were. But to me it was so mind-bogglingly illogical to not kiss, when they were already doing things that kissing supposedly led to.

This girl seemed anguished and ashamed and it was clear that she was clinging to "not kissing" as an assurance that she was still pure and abstinent. All of her girlfriends were "doing the no kissing thing" too and seemed to be handling it fine.

I wonder how many other people in the church-- and particularly girls, who are shamed out of talking about their sexual impulses more than men -- find the no-kissing standard impossible, yet think that everyone around them is handling it just fine.

Also, I might mention, I went to their wedding, which was last March. Her no-kissing girlfriends were all there and they whooped and hollered at her first kiss. All but one of them has gotten married in the last year, and none of them has graduated from college yet. Few of them dated for longer than 8-9 months before getting engaged, and the marriages followed quickly. Maybe they'll all be happy in their marriages forever. Maybe not. I just can't help feeling that "no kissing before marriage" fuels a lot of shame and anguish about sexuality. And spurs a lot of hasty marriages. Neither of which are good for the long term health of these couples.

Anonymous said...

As a christian, the bible says were not even supposed to look at anyone with lust (anyone who looks at a woman with lust has already commited adultery with her in his heart matt 5:28) if i every get married, the man i marry will/should be the most important person i have ever met. I should WANT them to be the only person I kiss, the only person I sleep with, and honestly the only man I love like that. The only way to make sure that your husband is the only guy you feel that way about is to wait till your married before you get that physicaly intimate with another person...

Callie said...

Hey, anonymous,

I can very much understand your position as I felt the same way before I married. Unfortunately, waiting until marriage to become phsycially intimate with someone actually doesn't guarantee that your husband is the only person you'll ever feel like that about. Christian Culture is full of platitudes that don't actually work.

CC is often purported as an 'If Then' computer program; however, life is too varied and vast for us to be able to control it like that. 'If I don't kiss anyone before my wedding day, then God will bless my marriage and I will have a happy life' sounds fantastic. It affords us the sense that we can control things way more than we actually can. It makes us feel safe and helps us manage the anxiety of not knowing how our lives will turn out. Not knowing is scary as hell, so we try to find solid answers.

Personally, I wanted all kinds of assurances and guarantees that my marriage would be perfect (I would say 'as good as possible' but I meant 'perfect') but I have found that no such thing exists. The beauty and joy of being human comes when we accept ourselves those around us for the flawed human beings we are. It's hard to do that while we're busy trying to control everything by doing things exactly right and expecting to be rewarded. However, my relationships, including my marriage, are much more fulfilling when I am willing to enter into the messiness and to embrace my humanity. Real relationships are worth the discomfort of not knowing how the story will end.

Callie said...

PS - Either way, you don't know the end of the story. CC likes to tell us that we CAN know the end of the story, but that's impossible. That's why I finally decided to just accept that I don't know, nor can I control, how my life story goes. Since I truly can't control it, I might as well accept that instead of continuing to pretend that I can and being devestated when I am proven wrong.

Kab00m! said...

I went to school with a kid who was like this. He had been seeing this girl, but wasn't really sure about her. One day, he told me he was "going to have to marry her now." When I inquired as to the reason, he said, "Because I kissed her."

That's where this kind of thinking leads to.

Kab00m! said...

By the way, when I said "kid," I mean 21-year-old man.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's right to put pressure, or control on your boyfriend that you love with waiting to kiss until marriage. It only shows the negative impact on dating and not experiencing that first kiss and having a life. If your boyfriend waits that's great, but rushing to the alter just to kiss your boyfriend and have sex is a not even a relationship, in my opinion. God didn't intend to put all this pressure on couples and not show any affection. If couples suffer from a dark past with sex, than they should get some counseling together and learn how to property date without going too far than.

I just went to my friends wedding a few days ago and they decided to wait to not kiss until marriage after dating for 6 months. I know she was struggling with commitment in the past with men who weren't a Christian (was trying to change them) and was scared to get close to another man after that, so she came up with a plan to hold off on affection and kissing until marriage. I know its all about "purity" and showing Jesus that her sin was washed away as well, but she really just needed time to move on from the sexual past is what the deal was. She would always judge other lifestyles after she became a Christian and I don't even talk much about my relationship with her anymore and the same with my other Christian friends. This just shows how naive it is to be a Christian and how I got away from this type of lifestyle. I enjoy kissing my boyfriend and we take things slow! We have boundaries. I'm really worried that her 9 year old daughter will turn against her mother when she starts dating with knowing her daughter is quite stubborn and doesn't listen, but attends church with her mother and now new husband.

I'm not trying to judge anyone either, but I care a lot about my friends who I had known for 12 years and wish they could know how much they are letting the past creep up on them. Life moves on and there's always a good guy out there. I'm glad my friend found a nice guy though!

Anonymous said...

Just because some Christians do it does not mean it's part of christianity! That's the most ridiculous thing Ive ever heard.

Anonymous said...

So many things to say even though this blog is old... I just came across a friend who is doing this, and I had to Google it. This old post popped up.

My thoughts... The problem I see with this viewpoint that you have to be sexually pure is that it sets up an unrealistic standard for marriage. I see a lot of people saying things like, "I want to be the only one who has ever kissed my husband/wife," and so forth. "I'm not kissing my boyfriend out of respect for his future wife."

Look... There are a lot of things that married people shouldn't do, but it doesn't mean that you're restricted while dating. I wouldn't DARE flirt with another man now that I'm married, but that doesn't mean I couldn't flirt while I was dating. And yes, there have been many sessions that led to the bedroom which started with a well-worded compliment from the spousal unit. You have a potentially silly slippery slope situation, here.

When you have this mentality, there is a certain expectation that things should be and will be perfect, at least to a certain degree. Marriage does not work that way AT ALL. If you expect to be able to LOVE someone's imperfections forever, you're setting yourself up for a very unhappy marriage after a few years. But my marriage has lasted for ten years as a very happy one with few arguments because we both have a realistic view of each other's flaws. We realize that problems will come along. And because we expect imperfections, we're not slammed by them when they happen. Ten years after the ceremony, I love him just as much if not more than the day we were married-- and we (gasp!) had sex before the wedding day!

Kissing really isn't that big a deal, but what horrifies me is the thought of experiencing such a special and intimate moment with my spouse while being watched by a crowd of friends and family. I'm by no means a prude, but THAT would make me feel more uncomfortable and even "dirty" than all the premarital sex in the world. Considering how these people equate kissing with sex, I'd almost feel like I was publicly consummating my marriage.

I think that Christians who subscribe to that hardcore culture latch onto sex because (let's be honest) sex is easy to avoid at the end of the day. Loving your neighbor is hard, and judgement is easy, so as long as you're not having sex, you're "pure." If you've reduced God to the sex police, I feel sorry for you as a Christian.

NoName said...

If a couple wants to wait they should. However, they should not get married just because they can't wait. I don't think a little kiss will hurt a couple. However, it should be at the right time, and they should have patience. They can show affection through their actions together. Some Christian religions teach sex is beautiful in the context of marriage. some also teach a kiss is okay,as long as you know how to stop and respect your partner.

Meg said...

I want to save my first kiss for marriage and believe it or not it was because I prayed and read the word a lot and thats what I feel the Lord is leading me to do. I actually am coming from a background where i had no idea that people did this until after I made the commitment and honestly my parents respect my conviction but don't think its required. God brought a couple into my life (who were on true life "I'm newlywed") who did this and are still happily married and have a child. I respect them very much and hope to have a relationship like they do one day..BUT i don't think it's something for everyone. It's just a personal conviction i have.. I think that there is a specific purpose why God has convicted me that way and I won't be able to tell you till I get married.

Walsh said...

"I was a little bit skeptical in the beginning and the reason is we've tried different marriage counselors already and spell caster and I've already read numerous other books on the subject. There wasn't anything I could seem to do. However after using Dr. Stanley spell and following the instruction he gave me, I have been seeing significant results with my marriage situation. And I'm a whole lot happier in my self. My friends and family are very glad to see that I'm back to my husband again! All thanks to drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com."
--Walsh, Seattle

Mary O'Bryant said...

Interesting post, stumbled upon this because I'm considering whether or not to save my /next/ kiss for my husband.
While I agree it can become an idol, at least for me, it is related directly to purity. Not that I think there's anything impure about kisses- I loved literally thousands of them with my last beau.
I'm interested in a guy right now who lost his virginity B.C. and while I'm a virgin, I'm not a prude by any means... we were talking about it (while cuddling, mind you. LOL) and we both struggle immensely with sexual temptation. He said "once something is done, you don't think it's any big deal to do it again...or go farther". Which I agree with. It's not about going from a kiss straight to the bedroom. But the next step gets easier and easier as you check off levels of intimacy.
In my last relationship, I went a lot farther than I ever intended to because I got to the point where it wasn't a big deal.
ALL THAT TO SAY, for some people, holding that "first kiss" isn't about being a good Christian kid or elevating that kiss to some pedestal of holiness. It's really about realizing we have a sinful nature that is looking for a foothold if we give it one. It's recognizing our weaknesses and giving them less room to take control.
It sounds impossible, (I'm a very touchy-feely person, so trust me on this one) but when you have a partner who thinks the same way as you do, it's not only a good idea for those who struggle with self-control but it's also pretty great to feel that internal drumroll. JS. :)

Sarah Harris said...

For all who have kissed!!! And those who haven't. My proud 25 year old self included! ;) And with no boyfriend insight. No im not a Nun. Ive read joshua harris book.. "Ive kissed dating goodbye".... And what may astonish those who are reading with the belief, that us "christians" are crazy.. I also read the second book "Boy meets girl" i recomend it...
But in all honesty... There is no promise in the bible saying..
"If thou wait to Kiss a man or woman, thou shall have a husband or wife!"
Excuse my church talk.. In plan english aka message version ;)

My choice to wait is not a guarantee of a "happy" marriage or marriage at all!!
Its not some legal binding act with me and God!
God is God and he does whatever he wants!
And he honors our free will above all else... He always has... You may not know this side of Jesus! But he is pretty darn forgiving!! Slow to anger...compassionate... Always giving of grace.. And always always abundant....overflowing with love for YOU!
And i apologize that christians you have met...have not showed you that... And even worse hurt u instead.

And i know for me, this whole love thing has been confusing, little more than frustrating for the past 10 years.
BUT... we understand that there are universal laws like gravity... Seasonal changes.. Winter, summer... We understand we cant breath water... And if we jump off a building we wont grow wings and fly.. Truly the laws of gravity do work and you will hit the pavement.
God also set spiritual laws too... Even if you dont believe thats true. I guarantee you'll feel the effects of it. Just like you do for gravity. He made them both.
Its not always fair in my own understanding. Somethings God said no and a yes!
Sex outside of mariage... No
Sex inside the commitment of marriage... Yes
Sex outside of marriage was never God's plan for you.. And he wont stop you either.... He will LOVE U... FORGIVE U..
But there is always a cost. You never get to choose the price.
Not everything is so black and white...there are grey areas.. And as a christian i weigh those decisions knowing; The bible is full of people who were unworthy of grace or forgivness by our own standards and Gods. But god still used those people and blessed them!
Why? cause they said I CHOOSE YOU GOD.
All my fault and mistakes aside, i'll do it your way!
I promise GOD's way is always better...
Saving your first kiss for your husband or wife may not be everyone's choice and its not a definite rule in Gods book.
But i read an article today but a woman who was a attenmpting a challenge of kissing her husband everyday... http://fightinginsanity.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/how-to-kiss-your-husband/
Her struggle to do so in the beginning... And her husband's response never made me more sure of wanting to wait to kiss my future Mr.
For me,i never want to hear my husband say kissing is just for teenagers! Do u?