Catholic Life, Marriage, Uncategorized

We Saved Our First Kiss

+J.M.J.+

One of the most memorable, spectacular, and beautiful moments of my life was sharing my first kiss with Ethan. I’ll never forget it. It was on our wedding day.

Not kissing until a couple is married is quite common amongst fundamentalist Christians. There is a whole genre of books aimed at Christian teens that include this resolution. However, amongst Catholics this is much less practiced and often misunderstood.

I am not here to tell you that if you kiss before marriage it in a sin, because as I will touch on below, that’s not what the Church even teaches. Also, we are only culpable of sin insofar as we are aware something is wrong, and very often times purity matters are not adequately understood by well meaning people in the first place because of poor catechesis. I am not a theologian. I am simply here to tell our story.

I Changed My Mind

As a teen I had decided I wanted to save my first kiss for my wedding day. I read many of those books on courtship that had all kinds of reasons for not kissing, some of which I do still believe in, but overall my reasons come from what I learned when… I didn’t save my first kiss.

Despite my resolve, in a weak moment I accepted the kiss of a boy who I thought would then be my first boyfriend, but who made very clear by his completely nonchalant and disinterested manner when I saw him the next day that it had meant nothing to him. I was so disappointed, but moved on, and proceeded to kiss other guys I dated.

After a while, however, I decided that I was done with this kissing for several reasons, and I’m so glad that I made the resolution again, as it truly helped Ethan and I later on.

It’s a Little Cloudy in Here

Kissing clouded my judgement. This particular form of affection made it harder for me to figure out where things should be going with certainty. There were times I continued in a relationship that deep down I knew wasn’t the right fit for marriage. Kissing gave me a false sense of security; it made me feel like everything was just fine when it wasn’t. It is easy for the closeness of this act to solidify a relationship that maybe isn’t as good as it seems.

I once had a boyfriend who was a wonderful, holy Catholic, but we would have made a less than ideal match in marriage. I firmly believe kissing made us think we got along better than we actually did. In hind sight it is so clear to me that our personalities and preferences were clearly not well suited for each other, but boy that was hard for me to see in the midst of our relationship!

Well That Was Easy

After I made the resolve to not kiss again until my wedding day, I started a relationship with another fine Catholic man. Once again, we just weren’t the best match that could be. While we were still affectionate in the terms of holding hands, walking arm in arm etc. we didn’t kiss. I knew within a matter of a couple months that I didn’t want to continue the relationship.

It was just so much easier to pay attention to my concerns about our differences when we weren’t kissing. There was a clarity about who we were and what we both wanted that wasn’t scrambled up with the dizzying excitement we would experience otherwise.

The girl who Ethan dated before me also had this resolve to not kiss before marriage, and Ethan agrees from his perspective that the relationship was much easier to discern about than previous ones.

Conversely, Ethan and I had a very easy time discerning that we were a good match and did want to get married. A great worry of mine for years was that I would marry the wrong person, yet I didn’t second guess choosing Ethan. I was able to see things with a lot more clarity, knowing that we were able to really evaluate each other with level heads, uninfluenced by any excessive kissing.

Heading to the Confessional

Often times even Catholics find this idea of not kissing unnecessary or unrealistic. As long as you aren’t actually sleeping together, there isn’t a serious sin, right?

Wrong.

Now, it is true, it is not necessarily sinful to kiss before marriage. However it is easy for it to enter the realm of serious sin.

The Handbook of Moral Theology is a fantastic, comprehensive, long-used reference book for priests, seminarians, and laity alike to quickly see what is considered sinful or not. (An edition printed by TAN books can be found here on Amazon.) When you look up kissing in the Handbook, you will read:

Decent kissing and embracing as customarily done as a sign of politeness, friendship, relationship, or of honorable love are lawful even between persons of the opposite sex, but always on the condition that these actions are not done to excite sexual pleasure…Ardent, prolonged, and repeated kissing is often a mortal sin…so also is tongue-kissing usually seriously sinful.” ~ The Handbook of Moral Theology

So, I’m not making this up, kissing can be a serious sin and certainly lead to serious sin, and getting to that point is not hard to do for two people who are in love.

Simply not kissing in the first place took such pressure off of us. Ethan and I didn’t need to worry about things going too far. We didn’t need to stress about constantly heading to the confessional. It was a gesture of true love towards each other and towards Our Blessed Lord to avoid such an easy occasion of sin.

The Day {Finally} Came

I won’t lie to you and say that it wasn’t hard not to kiss sometimes, because it WAS, and I truly believe it was just by the grace of God that we were able to make it. However, we knew the wait was worth it for us, and we were so excited to share that moment.

After our wedding Mass we ran out of the church as our friends and family clapped, cheered, and threw rice.

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All photos by Orange Photographie

My dashing groom took off his glasses, dipped me back…

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…and kissed me.

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It was pure magic. I’ll never forget it.

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And I’ll never regret that wait.

________________

You can read our whole love story here.

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13 thoughts on “We Saved Our First Kiss”

  1. See, now if it had been framed like this, I would have actually paid more attention to people who said maybe to hold off on kissing. This is the cutest story I’ve heard in a long time and I love it! I don’t disagree with you one bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were married in the old Latin Rite. That announcement is not part of it – (I’ve actually been to a couple English Masses before where the priest said it isn’t technically part of the Novus Ordo wedding ceremony either, but just sometimes added by priests.)

      Mass ended as usual, we presented flowers to Our Lady and St. Joseph, and then processed out 🙂

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  2. This made me tear up! While my husband and I didn’t have that same resolve before marriage, I do really regret the many times I gave that piece of myself away before. And I do wish we had been more careful when we were engaged. Thank you for sharing your story, I think it’s beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am very much intrigued by this idea, and can absolutely see how it would really take some pressure off and help with discerning relationships clearly. I am in my late twenties and have never dated, have never been kissed. It’s not something that I planned, it’s just how life has happened for me. I do want to get married one day. There are days when that desire is much more overwhelming than other days. But I am also very introverted, and not sure that I want everyone to witness my very first kiss. Do you have any advice?

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    1. I have a friend who also waited for that first kiss, and she and her husband simply waited until they had a moment alone to share it.

      I understand that desire feeling overwhelming at times. When I was single it seemed all consuming sometimes and at others easier to being patient with.

      My older sister is engaged to a wonderful man who just turn 40. She didn’t meet him until she was 30. Neither of them had really dated before and they had to wait so long and patiently, but God’s timing was perfect. I’ll be praying for you!

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    2. Also, I just wanted to note that I also know of several people who just waited to kiss until they got engaged. Things don’t need to be just one way. I know for Ethan I waiting until marriage was also particularly helpful since we lived in a city far from either of our families. We spent as much time as we could with friends here, but were alone often and this made remaining chaste that much easier leading up to the wedding. This isn’t always the case in an engagement, and that could work for a couple, too!

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