Dear Young Engaged Man,
You have a completely legitimate question: “Should Christian couples kiss before marriage?”
All cards on the table: I believe kissing should be saved only for your spouse. My philosophy on the subject might seem radical, but let that be attractive rather than repelling. After all, Jesus said the way to life is narrow and few would find it.
I suggest refraining from kissing until you say your vows. Now if you find yourself agreeing with me, do not to make these things law. Instead, be convinced in your own mind and strive to display your pleasure in purity for the glory of Christ. Let me try to convince you briefly.
- I’ve never met anyone who regretted this decision. However, I’ve met many couples who wished they had saved more for their marriage.
- Kissing shows commitment. A kiss is a special sign of deep friendship. Consider Psalm 2:12, “Kiss the Son lest he be angry with you.” Jesus wants you to kiss him before He comes. This passage communicates what everyone knows deep down- A kiss is not “just a kiss”. Jesus wants exclusive devotion, submission and love. In my opinion, kissing communicates special covenantal language. This is what makes a “holy kiss” greeting holy, and what makes a Judas betrayal so wicked.
- Kissing is like jumping out of an airplane. It starts the thrill of skydiving. You can pull a parachute, but you’ve started the descent and its very hard to turn back. To begin every time and then stop half way is going against the laws of gravity.
- I want to maximize my pleasure. I’m the guy who thinks it is exciting to save dessert for last. The same applies here.
- We want to do everything possible to “present our brides to ourselves in splendor without spot or wrinkle or blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27) Not one wrinkle should be found. Not even a single blemish on the garment of purity. Refrain from kissing will help accomplish this and lessen the pressure of temptation.
- There is something exciting about cheering when a groom kisses his long awaited bride.
- I will cheer for you regardless of what you decide but I think your heart will cheer louder if the kiss has been treasured by patience.
I lay these things before you for your consideration. Talk about these things and let me know what you decide.
And remember, it is never too late to redeem something.
The content for this post has been updated and expanded in Letters to a Romantic: On Dating which will be released in 2017 by P&R Publishing.
26 thoughts on “Letters To A Young Engaged Man: Should We Kiss?”
On the other hand “greet each other with a holy kiss” is throughout the gospels!!! food for thought….
Define _”holy” kiss_. 😉 You think there is much “holiness” involved when a couple who are very much physically attracted to each other, kiss? 😉 😉
Good word. I expect to see you first book on the shelves in 2 years! =)
THanks for this encouraging word…very helpful to a young man currently dating,
I so agree…. Bobby and I so enjoyed saving our first kiss for marriage, it was special…..
Reblogged this on All I meant to email you… and commented:
I spoke to 2 different friends of mine this week on 2 different occasions and I’m grateful for men like Sean who write what I wish I could bring across in my conversations.
Love this! I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read this…especially from a brother in Christ!
My husband and I kissed for the first time on our wedding day and we don’t have any regrets. 🙂 It was beautiful and special and we tell our kids our story.
My husband and I both had dating “pasts” and heard this radical idea of saving your first (or next, in our case) kiss for marriage. I can’t tell you how much this has blessed our marriage. My husband’s display of self control only brought more respect and trust into our marriage. It has been a treasure that we still cherish 16 years later.
That’s so lovely!! I wish I’d waited and didn’t have such a chequered dating past but this gives me hope!
I have thought long and hard about this topic, and I have to say, though I don’t disagree really with anything you say, I think most of your criteria are met with engagement. I’m not sure how you see engagement, but both my fiance and I believe that engagement is a life commitment. The moment you say yes to that question, you promise him that you will spend the rest of your life with him, through thick and thin. To break such a promise is akin to breaking the covenant of marriage (except that you haven’t actually had sex yet). My fiance is my best friend, and I am going to spend the rest of my life with him. I agree that kissing should only be for your spouse, I agree that it is precious and a pleasure that much sweeter if you wait for it. But, it was just as sweet to wait until engagement as to marriage. As for the temptation of it, I have been a Christian for my whole life, and when discussing this topic, I think Christians often forget our ability to have self-control. A lot of times, Christians make it seem like if you start kissing, you won’t be able to help yourself from going straight for sex. This is simply not true. As Christians, we are children of God, with His Spirit living inside of us. We have the power to control our bodies, and if you decide that you will not have sex before you get married, you are not going to have sex before you get married. Kissing does not have to change that. I have been fully convinced in my mind that I do NOT WANT to have sex before I get married since I was a teenager; kissing does not bring any temptation to me to change that. Anyway, that’s my two-pence. This was the decision we made, but I definitely think everyone needs to make the decision for themselves. You are the only one who knows you and what you can handle or what you want. I think waiting to kiss until your wedding day is a beautiful thing, but for those who aren’t sure that’s what they want, I just wanted to say, I absolutely, with my whole heart, do not regret the way we chose.
Thanks for your comment Joy! I think the main thing we differ on is our view of engagement. I believe marriage is a covenant until “death do us part” but I do not believe these same terms apply to engagement. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing and many blessings to you and your fiancé! Engagement is a very exciting season of life.
My absolutely incredible Bible teacher when i was in high school always set it at engagement… Seems more reasonable and I do plan on keeping that!
Just found your blog. Thanks for ‘all cards on the table’. “What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular”
I saw your post on Pinterest and was intrigued. This is something I taught my children when then were teenagers at a time when it was a very unpopular thing to teach. I agree with every point you made here. Thank you so much for your stand on purity!
I’m excited to have stumbled across your blog on FB (from the ‘My Wife Has Tattoos’ post)! Though radical, as you said, & unpopular even in Christian circles, I made this no-kissing commitment to myself (& future boyfriend/spouse) in high school. I never had to put this commitment to the test until my first, & serious, relationship in my mid 20’s, and I count it a blessing that we didn’t kiss, seeing as we are not still together. During that time, this commitment did become more of a rule than a beautiful way to honor my future spouse & our relationship. Thank you for helping me remember the reasons I made this commitment in the first place, even as a teenager… #1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and for adding new perspective through #2 & 7!
I would just like to say, and I’m not sure this will be appreciated – but I have a different perspective as a Catholic. Basically I agree with you, but my church has very specific ideas on this. It’s not a rule that we can’t kiss before marriage, but the Bible does say to flee temptation, so you think it could be or it actually is becoming a temptation, that’s got to stop. Even if you don’t *think* it will lead to anything, sometimes it does because, biologically, it’s meant to. If Catholics go to bed together before marriage, it can actually be a cause of annulment later on. Don’t get me wrong, the church doesn’t go around voiding marriages for no reason, but if a couple divorce and later on the church determines they never had a sacramental marriage, this can be one reason why. The reason is because sensuality can blind our sense. We do not see the other person for who they truly are, and we let important things slip. We get so involved that we end up married even before we got to really know each other, because we spent too much time kissing instead of talking and living in front of each other. Thus we end up with a marriage based on lust but not respect or holiness. Well that is just my opinion, and I think from experience it is the truth. However, I do not think I would have been comfortable having my first kiss in front of a lot of friends and family at my wedding. I don’t like to be on the spot and would probably have been too nervous to enjoy it. If I could do it again I’d probably wait until the wedding night. And then I’d wait like a month after that to actually consummate the marriage. Because who wants to start everything all at once…it just seems like a lot. That’s totally my opinion though – not my church’s!!
Katie, thank you for your comment! I think the main thing we disagree on is the definition of marriage. I am unable to find biblical grounds for an annulment. However, I am very grateful for your comments about holiness. What you say is true: “The reason is because sensuality can blind our sense. We do not see the other person for who they truly are, and we let important things slip. We get so involved that we end up married even before we got to really know each other, because we spent too much time kissing instead of talking and living in front of each other. Thus we end up with a marriage based on lust but not respect or holiness.” Regarding kissing on the wedding day and consummation on the wedding night, I think it is important to have a good biblical theology of sex in marriage. Understanding sex as a wonderful gift and way to serve the other spouse is essential and makes it something to look forward to right away. https://unspokenblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/letter-to-a-young-engaged-man-the-marriage-bed/
Thanks again for your comment! Many blessings
I’m 20 years old and have never been kissed. Never even had a boyfriend, and I’ve only been on one date in my life. I was allowed to date by 11th grade, but I *still* haven’t found a guy who meets my standards. That being said, I’ve never given serious thought to this topic and I always figured I would think it through should I ever actually find myself in a relationship. Scripture is very clear that premarital sex is wrong, but when it comes to kissing I’ve always found myself a little…undecided. I have friends who say there’s nothing wrong with it, but like you said, you’ve never met anyone who regretted waiting–and neither have I. This article has definitely given me a lot to think over as I realize if I haven’t made my mind up by the time I get to that point, I’m already too late. You provide wonderful insight on this issue and make an excellent case for waiting. God bless!
Lauren, let me encourage you to keep strong! I waited to date until the man I thought I could marry came around. We didn’t kiss until we had made our marriage vows. Our first kiss wasn’t a very “good” one since neither of us knew what we were doing, but it was a very meaningful thing! The whole process of waiting made me seriously be able to TRUST my boyfriend/fiance/husband so deeply. Now that we are married, I’m so glad we waited even though it was hard. I can’t imagine the sexual pressure and temptation if we had kissed prior to marriage!
Amen! My husband and I got married a month and a half ago, and saved our first kiss for the ceremony. We don’t have any regrets! It was a wonderful decision.
Thanks for the thoughts, Sean. It seems like in point #2, the “holy kiss” kind of disproves your main idea here. If a kiss is inherently something that should only take place between a husband and wife, then why did Paul encourage church members to practice it with one another in general? I think kissing is a cultural expression that can mean many different things. Maybe it is unwise in certain communities but completely harmless in others. My wife and I kissed before marriage and do not regret doing so.
Thanks Andrew for your thoughts. The main point with #2 is to communicate that a kiss is not meaningless. There have been several people who have asked me “what is the big deal about a kiss?” I wanted to address this issue and show that a kiss does signal something and is important. It is an act that communicates as shown in the examples given of a holy greeting vs. betrayal. I do not think the act of kissing is inherently sinful. I actually encourage it in a variety of contexts. I think it is completely appropriate to kiss family members and even members of the body of Christ – depending on the culture. A kiss takes on a different dimension in a romantic relationship. The way someone kisses their grandmother is different than how someone would kiss their fiancé. I am arguing that romantic kissing should only take place in the context of marriage. Thanks again for your comment! I hope this is helpful and clarifies #2.
I understand your viewpoint, and at one time considered it as a potential option for me, but to compare the decision on whether or not to kiss pre-marriage with Jesus’ “narrow is the path” admonition is really stretching it. That, in itself, is subversively judging anyone who disagrees with your vantage, despite Scripture’s relatively silent viewpoint on the matter.