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It was the summer before I turned 13.  The summer before I met Merritt.  The summer my world changed from that of a little girl to a teenager.  It was the summer I read His Perfect Faithfulness by Eric and Leslie Ludy.

All I knew about dating was what I observed from afar in the church youth group.  I didn’t think I wanted any part of it.  And I never could picture being on the stereotypical first date with a guy I hardly knew.  In the story of Eric and Leslie’s courtship, I saw a better way, a way I wanted for myself.  And in the style of that first generation of those who believed in courtship, I paved my path with good intentions and extremes.

In my search for standards that were desperately needed, I embraced legalism.  I confused modesty with extreme frumpiness, and my better than thou attitude about my apparel stood between me and many a friendship.  I wore my purity like a badge on my arm instead of as a quiet covenant of my heart.  I had my life all figured out at thirteen-except I put God in a box and left my future husband’s thoughts out of the picture entirely.

My romantic, almost-thirteen-year-old heart was enraptured by the story of Eric and Leslie saving their first kiss (with each other) for their wedding day.  It sounded beautiful, romantic, perfect.  I knew right then and there that is what I would do.  But I did not just quietly embrace the commitment to a higher standard of purity than what I saw around me; I made sure I told everyone that I was saving my first kiss for my husband.  I did more than just draw the line in the sand for myself; I thought everyone else should as well.

It would take many years to learn that there is a difference in saving your first kiss for your husband and saving your first kiss for your wedding day (which I viewed then as one and the same).  It would take a lot of conviction on the part of the Holy Spirit to see how I made the issue one of pride, not purity.  And it would take even more years before I felt like I could share my story with others without fear of what they would say (even more pride).

But I have a little sister who is thirteen years old.  And for my little sister and the countless others like her, I write this.  So that you won’t make the same mistakes I did.  So that you will embrace a high standard of purity without becoming prideful.

That summer when I read Eric and Leslie Ludy’s book I little guessed I would soon be meeting my future husband.  I had no idea the affectionate, godly man he would be.  Or how he would shake my every conviction to the core.  Not because he was a wild, rebellious boy–but because he was a godly one.  Not because he thought my convictions were all bad–but because he wanted to know where they were in the Bible.  Not because he led me down the wrong path–but because he challenged me to look at my extra-biblical rules for what they were.

“I have found that a man will usually be as much of a gentleman as a lady requires and probably no more.”
-Elisabeth Elliot

I adhered to the idea that I had to draw the line of purity or else I’d be taken advantage of.  And in my interactions with other guys, I was only too thankful to be labeled “untouchable”!  But I had yet to learn about submission to the leadership of the man who would be my husband.  Or letting the man lead and guide the relationship.

When I finally realized what I was doing, that the only reason I was not letting the man I was going to marry kiss me was because of my pride, that in fact I was not showing him love as I could and should be at that point in our courtship–I let him kiss me.  And my only regret was that I had insisted on doing it my way for so long and hadn’t let him do it in his time and way to begin with.

I’ve been to weddings where the couple made such a big deal out of the fact that it was their first kiss and did so much kissing that it was awkward for everyone there.  I’ve been to weddings where that first tender kiss, displayed for hundreds of pairs of eyes, is nothing but sweet, tender, and rather embarrassed.  Personally, I’m rather glad our first kiss wasn’t in front of all those people.  But I wholeheartedly applaud those couples who wait until the preacher says, “You may now kiss the bride.”  They probably saved themselves a lot of difficulty during their courtship by drawing that line.

But as Josh Harris has always said, purity is more than just a line in the sand.  You can be very impure in thought and attitude without your lips ever touching.  Just as you can share kisses without sinning.  You have not lost your purity if you’ve kissed someone.  But if you save that first pure, innocent kiss to give to the man whom you get to spend the rest of your life kissing, you’ll save a lot of heartache, and give him an incredible gift.

“Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together that they can’t see anything wrong with each other.”
-Gene Yasenak

As I tell my little sister, read The Princess and the Kiss, read Eric and Leslie’s story and the other stories like theirs.  They will remind you of all the reasons you are saving your kisses for the man you’re going to marry.  And if he or you or your parents want you to wait until your wedding day to be sure that it’s your husband you’re kissing, do it.  Just as a hands-off courtship makes it much easier to know you are making the right decision, without too much emotion involved, keeping your lips to yourself will make it easier to maintain a heart and standard of purity.  I don’t recommend kissing for long courtships or in situations where couples see each other each and every day; it’s asking for trouble!  But if he wants to kiss you when you’re engaged, let him!

“I married the first man I ever kissed.  When I tell this to my children they just about throw up.”
-Barbara Bush

That first date I could never quite imagine finally came not too many months before my wedding day.  With a man who was already my very best friend.  There was nothing awkward about the way we enjoyed our cream of broccoli soup and gourmet entrées.  It was the most delightful first date.  And, true to all the stereotypical first date stories, he kissed me afterward as we stood on the porch steps in the sunset.

If you can’t trust the man enough to let him kiss you, then by all means, don’t even kiss him goodbye: run the opposite direction.  But if he’s a man worth marrying, he won’t even try to kiss you until he knows you are ready to be kissed, until he’s committed to marrying you.  I’ll never forget the way Merritt looked at me one time as he kissed me, and said in a way that spoke volumes, “I would never do anything to hurt my best friend.”  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that was true.  Which is why then, and now, I feel incredibly safe in his arms.

And the kiss on our wedding day?  It must have been pretty wonderful, too.  We’d planned for my cousin to ring the antique bell in the church steeple as we kissed.  I asked Merritt later, “Did they remember to ring the bell?”  He looked at me and grinned.  Apparently, his brand new wife had been so distracted by that kiss she never heard the bell ringing.

43 Comments

  1. I really don’t think this is an issue of pride at all. It is an issue of what one considers to be biblical teaching. I would refer you to 1 Timothy 5:1-2. Based on these verses I hardly think that a Christian woman or man who chooses to save physical intimacy of ANY kind for marriage could be considered prideful. I feel like the appeal to “it was my pride” is just an excuse to have that kiss.

  2. Hey! All I wanted to say is…
    Thank you. πŸ™‚

  3. I had always bragged about how I was going to save my first kiss for the altar, but that was before ever having a boyfriend. I got a boyfriend, 5 days later moved overseas to Thailand (can’t go farther before you start coming back…..) to teach English, and he was ok with my sentiments. But…I continued to wrestle with the idea. I got to come home for a month long vacation and was still very proud of the fact that we hadn’t kissed (mostly cos we were so far apart we literally couldn’t). I was even bragging about it to my friends in Thailand.. Through the Spirit’s conviction, I realized, my bragging was ruining my witness! I’ll write my story later, but I KNEW he was the one for me, and it was ok to kiss him. After much prayer on both our parts, we shared our first kiss 5 months after we started dating and a year before we became engaged. I’m SO glad that we did because I went back to Thailand for another 5 months after that kiss!!

    I’m convinced that it really is a heart issue. If your kissing purity is a stumbling block for your pride, things might need to change. I’m not saying go crazy, but consider your mindset when holding these “should do”s up for application in your life.

    and…just to clarify….. I’m a virgin, and so is he. By kissing I mean just a simple kiss!! πŸ™‚

  4. I just now found this article…even though it was posted quite awhile back πŸ™‚

    I would like to make mention of something that I thought was very neat at a wedding we went to.

    The couple refrained from ANY physical touch until there wedding day, and when it came time for the kiss, the groom gave her a kiss on the cheek…that way their first ‘real’ kiss would be in private but there was still a kiss at the alter. I thought it was an awesome idea!!

  5. I appreciate this article. I also made this issue one of pride.. even one that I put on such a high pedestal that I hurt the man I love very much because he thought I didn’t trust him as I wouldn’t let him kiss me. So one day.. he took me by surprise and kissed me. Ladies, for a man.. a kiss doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to go any further. He wants to show you that he loves you and cares for you. And let me tell you, we were not engaged that day that he kissed me.. but from that day on there was a new understanding between us and it was one of commitment. 3 years later and a 3 year long distance (and I mean LONG DISTANCE) very seldome seeing eachother relationship later we are still very happily together and still sharing those sweet kisses and are still waiting for that wedding day which we pray will be coming soon!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Interesting thoughts. Something to consider, though, is that even though you may be engaged, you are still not MARRIED; you still do not “belong” to each other in a physical way. Though you intend to marry this man, he is still NOT your husband until you are wed. You wouldn’t go around kissing random men you don’t know, or even kissing men who are your guy friends (because they are not your husband); in the same way, it makes sense that you would not kiss the man you intend to marry until you actually marry him, and belong to him in all senses of the word. πŸ™‚ I have seen several friends suffer through broken engagements for reasons they NEVER ever saw coming; it is dangerous to assume the benefits and closeness and oneness that comes with the marriage covenant without actually having entered into that covenant yet–even if you fully intend to.

    In no way am I advocating an engagement relationship based on distrust or doubt or thoughts that “maybe it won’t work out after all”; that is not a good way to build a foundation for marriage! But, the foundation of trust, respect, love, and commitment can be built strong without kissing before marriage. πŸ™‚ I see a lot more support in Scripture for not kissing (or engaging in other physical closeness) before marriage than I do for other side! Not condemning or judging either–just trying to bring another perspective. πŸ™‚

  7. My question is can you and your future husband keep your minds pure by kissing before you are actually married? Jesus said that looking on a woman with lust is the same as adultery; until you have said “I do,” he is not your husband. It is not just the act that Jesus condemned, but the thoughts of the heart. Just some thoughts….. πŸ™‚

  8. This is good. One honest question: How does one approach “flutters of the heart” with “wisdom and discernment”?

    1. Time. Distance. Accountability. Communication.

      And prayer. We are promised that if any lacks wisdom, all we have to do is ask Him.

  9. You’re story reminds me a lot of my younger self, and self pride, and religious drawing of lines in the sand.
    I too had proudly said “I’m saving my first kiss for my husband.” Which I did. At the time I first said them I *thought* that meant the wedding day… however that did change over time. And my husband and I decided on waiting until we were engaged – however we only did that because we believed in engagement being like Biblical Bethrothal at that point there was no going back for either one of us – we were getting married, this man would be my husband, I would be his wife. This was our heartfelt conviction and as it was such, we had no qualms about kissing before we were married. And I enjoyed that time, I treasure those memories of those kisses. I’m glad we did it that way and we have no regrets. However our engagement was just over 3 months and we were 2,400 miles away most of it, so the times in the same state were few and far between. And we do understand it’s not for everyone, but it was best for us.

  10. Also – yes, and so much of our “saving our first kiss” is pride. We do it in the sight of friends and family members so they can see how glorious we are, how we’ve stood apart from the rest, how we’ve had strength…. and then, at the wedding, we make everyone awkward by over-demonstrating our passion before them, too. “See, we wanted it badly. We’re red-blooded, too – and if you think our purity came from a lack of vitality, boy, will we prove you wrong!”
    It’s pride to want to stand apart, to stand above. How much better if this desire to not kiss was organic, was quiet, was personal, and from the heart. Not a “show and tell” of your perfect lives and perfect romance to the world.
    Anyway.

  11. Enjoyed this post very much. You approach it in a very balanced manner that is refreshing. I struggled with whether to save my first kiss for our wedding day or not, but didn’t want to “showcase” it in front of tons of people. I wanted it to be a private, special moment between my man and I. And it was. We kissed the day we got engaged and went on to survive a 7 month long-distance engagement. Looking back now, I have no regrets. Our first kiss was awkward, and special, and between US. I don’t regret that at all!

    1. Hi, Gretchen! What an incredibly courageous post. I can see that most of us girls on here are from the rosy first wave of the courtship/saving-the-kiss generation of the late nineties and 2000’s… started by Joshua Harris and Eric and Leslie Ludy. I was also that 14-year old penning in my journal about my starry-eyed dreams about being a blushing bride of purity! I still want to be pure, I still want to be holy, but it’s taken on newer, deeper, more mature meanings, because now I’ve grown up; now we’ve become women. And you’re the first girl who’s written a piece contrary to our old girlhood dreams (that I know of)!!! Kudos!!!!!!!

      We make our rules and draw our lines to be safe – rules that may not even be found in the Bible. We value our purity so much that we’re scared. Scared of losing it… That’s why your line jumped out at me, “You have not lost your purity if you’ve kissed someone.” I hate to admit it, but I was like, “Whoa! What?! Are you serious?!” Wow. New idea to me. Then I thought, “Wait a second. Do I really see kissing as that much of a life-or-death matter? Whoa, girl. Get your priorities in line.” I think I live from fear sometimes – too much of a “fire and brimstone”, “we’re balancing on the edge” view of sexuality. If I kissed someone before I got married, it would be a colossal loss and I wouldn’t be myself ever again. I would be offering a full gift on my wedding day. I don’t know if this is the right attitude, because it is coming from such a place of fear – a want to be chaste, but also from a place of fear. But we’re “free from the law”. And God is concerned with the place our heart is in. That’s where real purity and impurity begins.
      This is where becoming a mature woman enters the picture. In the Song of Songs it says something like, “What shall we do with our younger sister? We will build a wall around her.” Walls have their places, especially in young girlhood. But as we get older, things change. Aslan said, “As you grow, I grow.” We’re re-considering that maybe being somewhat physical, and kissing, can be innocent (not for everybody, but for some – and that some could be you!) and appropriate to the stage a relationship is in. That’s a fearsome thing for even me to admit. We want to immediately condemn it, to seize up, to say, “NO! Your physical affection is wrong – tainted,” because of our learned and trained reactions to it… through books, through sermons, etc. Our preconceived notions. God doesn’t want us to approach life always like that. He wants to lead us. It takes a great amount of humility to be led. I want to lead. I want to set up boundaries. Yeah, humility – in the sight of so many people I might have to eat my words: “Uh-huh, we decided to kiss.” Others would see me as crumbling on my standards. I might see it as that, too. But I would know that God’s standards are not my standards; I’m not “holier-than-Thou” to Him. He wants our submission, us to be absolute clay… to take our hand and lead us on an individual, beautiful journey. Don’t be proud. Don’t freeze up in the sight of other people, fearful of their opinions. And don’t let YOUR heart limit Him. Don’t hamper Him. Listen to the Holy Spirit. He will help you preserve your purity… by understanding what stage of the journey your heart is in, by loving Him, by listening to Him, by being humble, and by being aware of your earthly beloved’s needs and desires and thoughts.

  12. lori zehr says:

    I thought your article was the best, most balanced I’ve ever seen! Congratulations. I’ve been concerned with the legalism surrounding the subject as well, while striving to uphold standards of purity. I write about courtship and recently did some articles trying to hit on the very thing you did. Wonderful!

  13. Gretchen, I’ve been a quiet lurker for years and I must say that I greatly appreciated this article. Like so many others, I had determined that my first kiss would be on my wedding day and that there would be no physical contact until then. I even wrote an article that was read by girls across the United States about purity.

    I held a very firm line for years without too much trouble, being completely untouchable. And then, leaving home and finding that circumstances were wildly different, my standards began gradually to slip. Finding myself heavily pursued and many other strongly-held beliefs in my life being challenged as well, I ended up giving away my first kiss, and many other firsts, to men who did not deserve them and with whom I have no contact at all now. My heart began to bleed and pain was my constant companion.

    And then God in His great faithfulness and mercy brought my darling and myself together. We realized that we loved each other with a true love that was beyond anything we had ever known; the physical part of the relationship is definitely alive and yet it is only a small part of it–he is my best friend, my heart-companion, and my one true love.

    We both have painful stories from the past which we have completely shared with each other and forgiven, and now I find great healing, peace, and redemption in this love. We will be getting married soon, and anticipate learning to love and honor each other for the rest of our lives eagerly. I have never known purity like this holy love.

    Our first kiss was not quickly given; the relationship meant too much to both of us to squander it. We both felt a release and a peace when the time was right. And we both are eagerly anticipating giving ourselves to each other fully on our wedding night.

    I guess I just wanted to say that I completely resonate with your post, Gretchen. Thank you for writing it.

  14. Someone gave me a link to this article, and it is very thought-provocing! I always figured that I’d save my 1st kiss for my wedding, but as you said, if my future husband wants to kiss me, I’ll probably let him. I’ll be back.

  15. Thank you so much for this post, Gretchen! I’ve been a reader of YLCF for several years now, but this is the first time that a post has inspired me to leave a comment thanking you. I’ve only been engaged for a month now, but I can agree with dating/engaged couples everywhere that this is a really tough subject! You handled it beautifully, and I am thankful for your willingness to share with us. Thanks for remind us that what God thinks is more important than what others might think of us!

  16. this was a sweet post and a convicting one too Gretchen!!
    Thank you for your honesty and for your stand on purity. There was nothing wrong at all with you wanting to only kiss on your wedding day when you were 13. Those were good and sweet dreams. But as you said pride is never good.
    I really enjoyed your article!! it was wonderful!! And i do agree on a lot of what you said πŸ™‚

    May God keep blessing you and Merritt richly!
    And may God bless Ruth Ann too…she is adorable!! πŸ™‚

    blessings to you always!

    In His Love, Jane

  17. Gretchen–I love you! That pretty much says it all. You Rock. Keep up the good work and the good sharing, sister!

  18. Fantastic post, Gretchen! You made some really important points. I don’t want my first kiss to be at my wedding in front of all those people – I want it to be either before, during the engagement, or after the ceremony, in private!! I just think it’s too cruel to tell couples to save their first kiss for their wedding day, then expect them to kiss for the very first time in front of such a big audience. . .

  19. Beautiful post!
    I sent this to my sister who is six months into a relationship with her first boyfriend. I know she’ll appreciate your wisdom and the common-thoughts y’all share.
    Thank you,
    e.pleasant

  20. Gretchen, I really appreciate this post. When I was in high school, I thought that kissing before marriage was something I would never consider, and I guess I really looked down on those who did it. Unfortunately, I also had a strong spirit of pride about it. Now that I’m in my 20’s, however, and most of my friends are married, I have changed my mind. Honestly, I want my first kiss to be a private event. I don’t want hundreds of people watching; I want it to be just between me and the man I will marry. So I have decided that, if my man agrees, I will not kiss him until we are engaged. But I will not have my first kiss on my wedding day.

    Something else I want to add, too, is that each person should follow their own convictions on this. I have some good friends who kissed before they were married and really struggled with guilt over it. If you are going to kiss before marriage, then it should be a decision that you feel in your heart is right. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with it, but if you feel guilty about it then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

  21. this one really challenged me. I had never even considered kissing before a possibility. I was even planning on saving my first hug for my wedding day. πŸ™‚ (that changed this year)

    thanks for an awesome, thought provoking article. πŸ™‚

  22. Laura Anne says:

    Nice post, Gretchen! I agree with your thoughts about being careful not to get prideful– that’s such a temptation for conservative Christians. And it’s best that we’re not so opinionated about the physical boundaries that we leave no room for the man to lead! πŸ™‚ Pure affection is a beautiful, godly thing in a relationship…not to be confused with the passion that belongs only in a marital relationship.

    Laura
    http://only-annegirl.blogspot.com

  23. Gretchen,

    What a beautiful story. I’m in a relationship with the boy of my dreams and we’ve both decided that we want our first kiss to be on our wedding day. I am so excited when I hear stories like this because it means so much to know that other couples valued their purity and future happiness enough to wait for God’s timing!

    I had a question: I run a small girl’s magazine called Princesses of Light, and I was wondering if I could have permission to use your article in this issue? I would love to help pass on your testimony! Thanks so much!

  24. Thank you Gretchen. I truly appreciate a love story that really glorifies God, but doesn’t draw what can be a legalistic line. It exemplifies the heart of purity. I, too, fell into the trap of legalism. I am so glad that I did not marry while in that!
    And, for the record, I do know a couple who regrets a little bit that they did not kiss when they were engaged. They think that they would have learned sooner that they can kiss without it having to go all the way.
    I have been thinking about how important it is to set boundaries, after prayer and counsel, but yet it is a time when a couple can set a pattern of giving each other non-sexual physical affection. I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on that subject.
    Thanks again

  25. Kisses are pretty special, and I’m happy to see this post finally here! As controversial as it is, we have to be careful to know what is best and right for us before God as a couple, and not what suits our pride. And THAT is the hard part, because we cherish those little prideful things so very much.

    πŸ™‚

  26. Kelly Prosch says:

    What a beautiful article, Gretchen. I have two daughters, 17 and 16 and I will be sharing this lovely writing with them. I too married the first boy I kissed (19 years ago this month!) and I pray my daughters, who have yet to experience their first kisses, will do likewise.

  27. I loved the post! I love the emphasis on grace. Yes, God does have grace!!
    So often we each get wrapped up in either our past or our future and we forget to remember WHO God is. My own “love” story is not the neat and pretty story that I dreamed it would be….I’ve made many mistakes, but even knowing that, I’m starting to see that its not about my mistakes or what I’ve done right, but rather about my God and who HE IS! I agree about the pride, and how you spoke of it was again convicting. Since I was younger it was always my vision to be the “teacher” but God lately has been trying to get me to be the “student”. Every time I try to live my life on my own, prove that I can do it and am worthy of teaching, I fall flat on my face…but when I am content to be a student of HIS Character, then, and only then can I truly succeed.

  28. Thanks for being so candid, Gretchen. I have no conclusions on the kissing yet since I’m still single!

    But your post did remind me of something I realized a little while. I felt like I was fighting and fighting to “follow the rules” with guys (emotionally) and beating myself up for little mistakes. It really was a striving thing. And I had this vision of myself as a boxer, just punching at the air. And God said to let go, that it was HIS fight.

    It’s all in vain if we’re not surrendered to Him. We won’t withstand temptation without Him, though we may succeed on the surface…and we’ll miss opportunities for joy, too.

  29. Thanks so much for writing this. A very touchy subject to be sure. Pun unattended:)

    As the youngest of six I have been very blessed of their examples. I know very well if the time comes for me I won’t be like them for every story is different. But thanks to my very wise brothers every legalistic view of courtship has been broken. I don’t say ever when I’m having for my first kiss. It’s just wrong. One of my siblings had their first kiss on their wedding day others didn’t. I respect each couple’s decision knowing they did what they thought was right before God.

    I do agree with you first kiss on wedding day is just too awkward. If it comes to that for me I think that item will be removed from the program:)

  30. Very well written, straight from your heart!! πŸ™‚
    I think you have a lot of great advice to give and I agree with most of it.
    I had also vowed to myself that I would not kiss a man until I was married.
    But looking back, I see that I mostly decided this because of the influence around me. I thought it was best and the right thing to do.
    Now, I’m not so sure.
    I think it all depends on the couple and where God is leading them.
    For some couples, it’s definitely a good idea and for others, perhaps not.
    My personal conviction is still to wait until engagement for the 1st kiss.
    As far as 1st kiss in front of everyone at the wedding, well, I ‘m not so sure that I’m for that.
    I’d rather it be a private thing between me and my future beloved.
    I have a friend who didn’t kiss at their wedding; she wanted it to be private. At the time, I thought that odd but now I can see her point of view and agree with her!
    Thanks again for sharing with us!

    1. That’s the way I want it πŸ˜‰ Nobody needs to see us kiss to know that we realy love each other and mean ” I Do “

  31. I loved reading that, Gretchen. I can’t think of any post you’ve written that I enjoyed reading more! Thank you! I have a similar story, but I’d need lots of courage to share it with such sincere honesty! I was talking to a friend some time back who had dreams of sharing her first kiss on her wedding day. Her sweetheart had other ideas though. I asked her afterwards what happened when he came for a visit and her laugh told me that the first kiss was pretty special…!

  32. Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been struggling with a few things and this beautifully written entry helped me a lot.

  33. sweetmomma8 says:

    So true! Thank you so much for writing this brave post!
    I totally applaud your message and support your beautiful heartfelt reasons for giving it.
    Just to add my two cents in… My husband and I DID wait until after the wedding to have our first kiss. But different situations call for different lines for different couples. That was something we both wanted and had prayed for seperately for years. The reason I wanted it that way was because I saw the way the word kiss in Hebrew means Nashaq “To bind or to burn or to seal a covenant.” I only wanted to share something that special with my one husband. Look it up! It’s awesome!
    My husband on the other hand, saw it as a way of keeping us out of trouble. He’s quite a bit older then me and has in the past gotten himself in quite a bit of trouble because of his lack of restraint. So because of his love for me and our holy union he decided it would probably be best to save that until we wouldn’t have to worry about those wonderful consequences.
    One thing I have to add is a warning…
    Many girls really overromantisize their first kiss. I agree, it’s special.
    But it is not the kiss that’s special girls! It’s the love you have for the man you give it to!
    It won’t feel the way you think it will. It’s not magic. Only a Godgiven Love for your man and a passion to please and serve him will make it beautiful.
    Then it will last MUCH longer then just the sparkles everyone talks about. It’ll last forever!
    Much Love!
    Momma of 2 an ? on the way πŸ™‚

  34. Right on, Gretchen. The heart attitude (it took me years to recognize the pride in my ‘proclamations,’ too!), the practicalities, the warnings in both directions — everything. Well done.

    I’ve heard it argued that people who save their first kiss for the wedding never regret it; implying that those who don’t “wait” automatically regret it. But honestly, our first kiss was so sloppy — we would have never lived it down. πŸ™‚ I don’t regret saving our first kiss for engagement. A gift that special… well, we had no intention of giving it in front of 200 people at the wedding, including rejected suitors. πŸ™‚ There is a time and a place for everything — and it doesn’t look exactly the same for every couple. So much room for grace.

    I’m so glad you shared, for it was my story, too, that you shared.

  35. P.S. You may have drawn some hard lines as a young teenager, Gretchen, but you were awfully sweet and I love reading the YLCF archives… I was plain catty in my 13-year-old journals. πŸ˜‰

  36. Marvelous post, Gretchen! Coincidentally, I was going through the journals I kept when I was 13 or 14, and I had the same legalistic attitude about love, romance, purity, and modesty. I cringe when I read it now (I wrote some scathing things about girls who weren’t doing things the ‘right way’), but I do think it isn’t an uncommon thing for a young teenager who is just starting to figure things out to draw hard lines and see everything in pure black-and-white. It’s important that we grow out of it, though, and your post is great for that… it would have been wonderful if I could have read it at 13! πŸ™‚

  37. Thank you so much for sharing this, Gretchen! I appreciated it very much. My first kiss was for the man who is now my husband, but we decided it wasn’t necessary to save our first kiss for the wedding day – I was uncomfortable with the lack of privacy and we both felt that it wouldn’t be too much of a physical temptation for us to share that sooner. Sometimes, I read the stories you mentioned and feel like I somehow missed out on something. But I know that’s not true and I have to remind myself that the BEST for my husband and I is what God planned for US and how He led us. πŸ™‚ It’s a different journey for each of us!

  38. Heather Prosch says:

    Thank you so much for this post. This is an issue affecting a lot of girls, in many different situations. About a month ago, I let myself get quickly swept into a relationship with a man who was not a christian. Because he was the “perfect gentleman,” I was blinded to the fact that I was making up excuses about all those convictions I was more or less ready to break-no kissing until the wedding day, no holding hands, no dating only courtship, etc.
    I told myself that it would work out and we could have a relationship without having the same faith. Well, “Flattery leads to compromise” as a Casting Crowns’ song goes. This was the first guy who had asked me to date that I actually would have liked to-very smart, kind, and gentlemanly like. The third time we saw each other, he asked to kiss me and I only said no because God was still pulling on my heart, and, in the midst of my throbbing heart, I knew I couldn’t give any part of myself away to someone who wasn’t a christian. After moving away for six weeks to attend a college-age spiritual growth conference with my church, I ended our week-long relationship.
    I feel so grateful that God had a hold of my heart even though I was blinded by flattery in this relationship. I truly believe the only reason I didn’t kiss him was because after I got saved at age 12, I began giving my heart and life to God. When this guy asked to date me, God had my heart completely. God definitely used this situation to draw me closer to Him and deal with fears I had about never getting married.
    Whatever happens in the future, I am God’s first and foremost. I thank Him for His mercy and grace every day because without God, I would be a total failure at life. I look forward to giving my heart and life to the godly man that God has yet to bring into my life, and I thank Him for the peace He has given me. Whatever we have done in life, whatever mistakes we have made, God is always there with arms open wide, ready to receive us back again. Thanks again for this great post!

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Good thoughts, Gretchen. I’m getting married in three months and we’ll have our first kiss (on the lips) on our wedding day. It’s been a struggle to not be prideful about it. Funny how something like a kiss can be such a big deal…

  40. Hi! I have a few friends who follow YLCF, but I haven’t really been on here yet. What I’ve seen so far, I like. This article was really good and thought-provoking!

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