“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, given by God? You belong no longer to yourselves. Remember at what price you have been bought and make your body serve the glory of God.” (1Cor 6:19-20)
After reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, I made a promise to myself during the summer of 2004 that I would save my next kiss for my husband. I wish it would’ve been my very first kiss, but unfortunately I’d already given that away to a boyfriend in high school who didn’t know how to take care of my heart. Hurt too many times by too many people, I realized that the gift of a kiss should be elevated to a blessed privilege given to one who has proven his love to me in a way that no one else has before. So then and there, as I closed the book, I made my rule and vowed to keep it from that day forward.
It wasn’t difficult at the time because, of course, I wasn’t dating anyone. When Gary walked into my life and we were just friends, I thought I’d share it with him to see how he as a guy felt about such a radical standard. We were talking on the phone one day about relationships, and I said, “You know what? I know this might sound weird, but I decided that if a guy wanted to marry me someday our first kiss would be at the altar on our wedding day.”
I could almost see him smiling on the other end. “That’s not weird,” he replied.
“Really? You don’t think so?”
“Not at all. That’s actually pretty cool.”
Then, ironically, I thought he was weird. I didn’t expect him to get it. But Gary wasn’t my boyfriend so the rule didn’t apply to him. At least it wouldn’t for the next couple of months…
If you read to the end of our story, you found that it was the beginning of a whole new phase of our lives – the start of a courtship that we were both trying to figure out as we went along. He obviously knew about my “Save the Kiss” Challenge and agreed to follow the rule. Kisses on the cheek and the forehead – okay. Lips were off-limits.
Why would I do such a thing? People – especially other guys in my life – told me that I was crazy. They wondered why I would deprive my boyfriend of something they believed he deserved. My girlfriends loved it. They told me that they didn’t think they could ever keep to the same rule, but they sure admired us for trying.
I had to do it. I had to know that this guy wanted me for me…that he would respect my dignity and protect my purity. I wanted to do everything I could to guard his heart, too, and to lead him closer to God. We would build upon the friendship we already had, and carefully discern every step forward we took in the relationship. It was too easy for me to get emotionally attached, and I knew that if I let him kiss me, it would be too hard for me to keep a clear head during the courtship. There was no guarantee that he would be my husband, and if he was meant to marry someone else, at least I would have helped keep him pure for his future wife.
It is true that there are couples out there who have a good handle on self-control. They are able to keep their kisses simple without going any further than just a peck on the lips. I’m not saying that every couple who shares a kiss always goes further than just the kiss. I’m just saying that I knew myself too well. I made up the rule for myself as much as I did for him. WE needed it.
Gary was a very affectionate person. He liked holding my hand, giving me hugs, and showering me with a lot of sweet kisses – on the cheek. There would be days when he would be holding me in his arms and I’d look into his smiling face, kicking myself for making up my “no kissing rule.”
But come July 8, 2006 I was so glad that I did because on that day at the altar – in front of God and our family and friends – we kissed for the FIRST time.
It was the most beautiful kiss I’d ever had in my entire life.
Not everyone at our wedding was aware of our rule. But the few who were knew that it was an incredibly special moment. I’ll never forget hearing Alex (Gary’s best man who had watched our entire friendship/relationship unfold) tell us how his jaw dropped…how he wanted to turn around and ask the whole church, “Do you see this?! Does everybody see this?”
Mind you, it was not easy. I wish I could tell you that we didn’t struggle. I would’ve loved to share how good we were about keeping our thoughts and intentions chaste 100% of the time.
But I will tell you that it was worth the wait. Meeting the challenge of saving our first kiss together helped us to communicate better, love each other more deeply, and allow God to prepare our hearts for the sacrament of marriage.
We will share this with our children someday. Through our witness to God’s grace, we will tell them it can be done. For nothing is impossible with God.
DISCLAIMER TO THE READER: Saving your kiss for the altar is only one of the means for preserving one’s purity for marriage. Just as a seed planted does not flower into full bloom overnight, we must move forward in our relationships with prudence and patience, allowing a solid friendship to develop before entering into a lifelong covenant and also practicing emotional chastity so as to guard each other’s hearts from premature intimacy. To learn more about the marriage preparation process recommended to Gary and me by our parish, please visit http://asheloves.org/preparing-for-marriage/engagement/
8 thoughts on ““Save the Kiss” Challenge”
Just stumbled upon this and I’m SO glad I did! I teach 7th and 8th grade Religion and am already looking forward to sharing this with all of my students. Thanks for the great story and for sharing it with the rest of us! – Greg
It’s awesome that you’re sharing the beautiful teachings of the Church with your students, especially the all-important message of chastity! May God bless you and your work this school year!
Thanks so much! It’s great being able to witness young teenagers see the beauty of the Church’s teachings on chastity for the first time. Truly a refreshing and encouraging experience!
Thanks so much! Praise God!
Thank you. I had just made the commitment to do this, for the same reasons, and I am very encouraged that I have made the right decision. 🙂 I feel I will have the same struggles in any relationship that comes, and it was helpful for me to know about cheek and forehead kisses. Nice. And also about how God was glorified at your wedding. That was a hge part of making this decision for me. Thank you so, so much for sharing, and please let me know if you have more details or information on this.
I am 22 years old and I have been on the exact same commitment my whole life. It gets hard at times, but the rewards will pay off in the end, I know. Its one of the best things to give a future spouse. Its so awesome that your husband understood your vow from the word go. God bless your marriage!!
My boyfriend and I have just decided to take this challenge yesterday! We do know that there will be some struggles and trying times, but I feel that God will be pleased with us. Thank you soooo much for this testimony. It has encouraged me in more ways than one and has definitely confirmed what I feel God is telling us to do as a couple. It’s also so encouraging to see others who have tried this and succeeded, which helps me to know that it is possible. Thank you for being a great example. Please continue to pray for our strength in the Lord!
Jessica, I’m praying for you both!