Here I was, 28 and standing at the altar facing the best version of the man of my dreams and I was about to be kissed for the first time. Birds were singing, the sun was shining, and time seemed to have stopped for both of us as the pastor said “You may now kiss your bride.” My husband tenderly embraced me, and for a few seconds we looked into each other’s eyes, smiling with an overwhelming sense of love, peace, satisfaction and sweet anticipation. My first kiss was perfect.
I know. I can imagine all the questions coming to your mind after this introduction. How many people do you know that are passed 12 and that have still not been kissed? Let alone, someone over 20 years old. Who dates for almost 3 years without ever kissing (on the mouth) or making out? Let me assure you that this did not happen because either of us are helpless, unattractive, socially awkward freaks (or so we like to think). Neither of us is ‘sexually confused’ and we were always very, very, very attracted to each other. So why not kiss? Why try to take abstinence to whole other level? After all, God did not write in the Bible (at least not in black and white) that kissing was a sin. So, were we trying to be holier than God?
Not your average 13 year old
It all started when I was 13 and had a different crush every week. I never acted on it but was at the age when I constantly dreamed of the man I would once marry. I looked older so I would be asked to date all the time, but my father quickly rained on my parade using ‘Spanish ways’ to prevent me from dating so young. As I waited for my turn, I started to look for role models, successful young couples that I could imitate and that would inspire me. I discovered that it was hard to find. At school, every ‘love story’ was short and full of unwanted drama. I would have to sit through horrific stories of heart breaks and see each one of my friends lose more than their innocence in the process. At church, well it was like an episode of “Beverly Hills 90210”. By that I mean that everyone had dated every youth group member at some point and had baggage from passed relationships. Even at my young age I classified all my findings as dysfunctional and decided that I wanted a different story.
That year I gave my heart to Jesus and started learning what surrendering my “whole life” to Him meant. My new found passion for God and His word, combined with the negative results of my very unofficial research led me to a radical decision. If I wanted a different result than the ones I saw from couples (of all ages) around me, I needed to take a different approach than the one they were taking.
The plan: No Dates…until I was ready to marry
I decided not to date until I was ready to marry (which for me was 12 years later) because I wanted to fall in love with one person and not be departed from them ever again. My plan to achieve that goal was that every time I would meet a “potential special someone” or every time I would be asked to date I would ask God first and evaluate the candidate (without getting involved in any way) until I received an answer from God on what I should do. As I started getting deeper in the word and in my intimacy with God, I began to hear His voice and accept His guidance for every area of my life. As a result, I concluded that the romantic area of my life would not be an exception. God showed me that by guarding my heart, I was loving my future husband without even knowing him yet. By abiding under His shadow and guidance, I would not bring to the altar leftovers survived from past heartbreaks; instead I would bring a clean and whole heart able to love freely.
What really happened?
I naively thought that any guy that would claim to like me would understand my boundaries and be delighted to comply (I actually did, goodness). Fortunately, I had a rude awakening. Not all guys were interested in my “heart” to say the least and not all Christian men were ‘godly’. I learned that the whole waiting period sometimes felt like a torture, especially when everyone is trying to marry you off (if you are single you know what I mean). I learned that holiness and respecting myself was not as popular and celebrated, even among Christians. I was ridiculed, pushed, and doubted, but I grew closer to God and my faith ended up getting stronger. I learned that purity comes at a high price of sacrifice and even when no one is watching, God is. God kept me (Jude 1:24) and He did what He promised. He gave me the grace and abundant love necessary to be satisfied and complete in Him. I am aware that we are all at different places in our lives, do not be afraid. God's love can reach you where you are and his grace can cover you.
For the record my husband was my first boyfriend ever.
The plan: To not Date until I felt complete as a young woman in God’s love
I decided that I wanted a romantic ‘one-of-a-kind’ love story. I wanted the whole package. I wanted the ‘drop dead handsome’ dude, the fearless pursuit, the hand written letters, poems, songs and the acceptance and blessing from all the people around me. In other words, I decided that Shakespeare drama was not for me. I did not want to live in disobedience and live the painful consequences of it. I simply wanted a happy story that was written by God and that made Him smile. My plan to achieve that part was tricky but I was determined. I decided that I would not look for a boyfriend; instead I was going to let God bring the person to me and choose who it would be. I decided to focus my energy and attention on getting to know my Creator, discovering and developing my talents/gifts, and living fully as a single Christian girl. I wanted to be complete in Christ. I desired to know and love Him to the point that even if He decided not to give me a husband that I would be truly and totally satisfied in His love alone. I discovered that getting to that point in my relationship with Christ was key to a successful love story; that is if I intended to play by God’s rules. (I know that last part is hard to digest)
What really happened?
I learned that it was not for me to decide when I was complete. God showed my immature self that He is not bound by time, space or my whims. He taught me that marriage was not about ME (I was like what???), it was about Him being glorified. How? By bringing two people that will challenge each other and point the world to God through their love for each other and their mission. I was lovingly taught that God was not only able to provide for my needs but that he also loved me enough to satisfy my desires as well. He showed me that He knew me better than I knew myself and so as long as he was ruler over my destiny. He would not fail to give me even more abundantly then what I ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Now I see why the perfect time was the one God picked:May 25, 2009.
What no one wants to hear…
God challenged me to evaluate what sexual and emotional purity meant and how He desired nothing less than holiness. I realized that a man would never be mine until the day of our wedding, not even while we were engaged. Too many times I saw people that with an extra ounce of arrogance or maybe determination; had played with the fire of passion before the time was right, believing the lie that they were strong enough. I did not want to assume I was. I did not want to have to hide to show love to my companion or ‘seek’ privacy because what we did was not ‘PG’ kind of stuff making others uncomfortable. Many people fail to understand that our bodies belong to God and until He gives permission, no one should touch it with sexual desire. We often act contrary to that. We act like our bodies belong to us and in certain areas God can reign but when it comes to this I can give a little pleasure to my flesh and I get to decide how much. Call me extremist, radical or crazy but I thought it would be very romantic to kiss the love of my life for the first time the day that he actually became mine and I became his. The day that we would not have to hold back in any way because the time to ‘awake’ loving passion and fully enjoy it had come with God’s blessing.
So why not kiss?This post is written as a testimony and not as a theological teaching or argument for you to follow our footsteps. This is a challenge to seek guidance in what to do or not in your relationship based on God’s desire for you and not based on what you see in movies, love songs or your feelings. The Bible says: “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (…)” (Jeremiah 17:9). This means that your feelings about what you want to do in a relationship are a really bad place to start. Usually, the flesh and the spirit are on two different pages when it comes to the desires of God, so be alert!!!
What about the guy?
When I met the man who is now my husband, he had been in a previous relationship and ‘not to kiss’ was never an option for him. Before we dated, we were friends and during that time he discovered my take on kissing before my wedding day. Time passed and when he decided that I was the person he wanted to date and eventually marry, he told me that because he loved me he was going to help me honor my vow to God. During almost 3 years of dating (read our story here and here) we had numerous opportunities to kiss, not only because we wanted to, but also because it felt so right. However, not once did he try to kiss me, even when our feelings dictated otherwise. This revealed so much about my husband’s character and about his love for me. I mean what would happen if you told your date or boyfriend that you did not want to kiss until the day of the wedding? Ha! They would probably think you were crazy. Not my husband, he decided that he was going to put his body under God’s authority and present me clean before God and promote holiness in something as small as this and make my vow his vow as well. Self-control when it comes to the flesh, is a great victory,and it showed me that he was not playing Christian, he was truly living in the spirit even when it was hard. His integrity and determination showed more love than any kiss would have ever had.
Wherever you stand today, I pray that you will not “be conformed to this world: but (that) you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
Photography belongs to Nuance and bubbles blog. Photography by Rachel Boggs Photography and Alex Istormin. 2013.