Wednesday, March 09, 2005

kissing what goodbye?

"I've kissed kissing goodbye!" That's the sentiment of a plethora of students from Boyce College and Southern Seminary in relationships. They begin dating relationships/courtships with the conviction that kissing will wait until an engagement or even marriage. Without exception (at least to my knowledge), kissing beings within two to three months of dating. Their conviction gives way to temptations and desire.

This modern phenomenon of this "lips off" began, from what I can tell, with Joshua Harris and his landmark book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. In it, Harris not only gives incredible insight into modern dating, but also gives the conviction that kissing should wait until marriage. Proving it could be done, he and Shannon did not kiss until the altar. This book remained in the Christian Booksellers Top 10 for almost five years until it was replaced by Harris's second book, Boy Meets Girl.

The huge audience, from what I understand, was young teenagers and college students. In some cases, dating was totally sworn off much to the chagrin of many guys. In other cases, dating was sworn off only to be replaced with courtships that amazingly resemble it's predecessor in all but name. In most cases, though, the kissing thing was an issue. So many people thought of the romantic idea of reserving the first kiss until the altar. Relationships were started with that intention. Some succeeded; others did not. I have not heard of many relationship that have succeeded in this goal.

My goal in this post is not to announce a judgment on this. I personally think it is a laudable goal to have in order to save the kiss for the one you will marry, but it is not a belief or a conviction I hold. Nor is my goal to tear down and destroy those who have begun kissing in relationships begun with the goal of reserving it. Many times convictions can change along with people. Other times, people realize that the commitment was made with a rash mind.

Rather, my goal is to get insights from you. What do you think? Have you, yourself, experienced a relationship that has entered into engagement/marriage without kissing happening until that time? Have you been in relationships where the intention was made in the beginning, but did not succeed? What do you think about the whole idea? I'd like to start some kind of dialogue here and get several people's reactions, so feel free to comment on this and share your thoughts.

Let me close with this. I've known many guys who have entered into a relationship with a woman and desired to reserve kissing for marriage and asked me what I thought. I didn't give a judgment on their belief/conviction, but gave them three pieces of advice/wisdom. The first is to talk about it with her. If she's unwilling to do this, is it necessary (is it a belief or a conviction)? If one has this as a conviction and the other does not, this will be a huge source of conflict relatively quickly in the relationship.

Second, women equate physical closeness with emotional closeness. A kiss for a woman is vastly different than what it is for a man. To a guy, it's a kiss. It is a physical act that MAY have emotional significance. To a woman, it is an expression of emotion and feelings. To not kiss, or hold hands, etc. says to a woman that the guy is not interested in her physically or attracted to her. Women want to be desired and attracted to and won. Guys, if this is a conviction, make sure you tell her how you feel about her much more than you normally would to make sure she knows you are totally enamored with and attracted to her.

Third, don't get yourself caught in temptation. Spending lots of time alone (even in well-lit areas) can easily lead you down a path you are unwilling to go. Draw the line physically so you are not constantly battling the temptation to kiss and break your commitment.

So, all that being said, what do you think? Is the idea of no kissing till marriage a good thing? Do you know of relationships that have succeeded or even been a part of one? Have you been in a relationship that began with a "no kissing till engagement/marriage belief that changed or didn't succeed in that goal? Please comment... although be kind to those who may disagree with you.

until Christ is formed in us...


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