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Monday, September 14, 2015

First Kiss at the Altar? Pros and Cons

Please understand: I am okay with both sides of this issue. I believe we can respect those who do and those who don’t kiss before they are married. Are you ready for a sane discussion? I hope so.

I first heard of the not kissing before marriage idea on a date with my boyfriend (now my husband). It was a “dating outing,” which meant everyone had to invite a partner, whether or not the relationship was serious. The young man who spoke for the devotional decided it was his opportunity to tell everyone why it was a “sin” to kiss before marriage. He basically said it was terrible to brush lips. Probably everyone there except the casually dating couples were made to feel like the most sinful of the sinful. Horrors! Kissing before marriage! It was close to adultery! Now, I’m exaggerating, but not by much. The guy’s “devotional,” which should have drawn us closer to the Lord, made most of us feel like scum.

So, my boyfriend and I spent some time afterwards, when the fire in the lodge was blazing and people were sitting around and chatting, to get off in a corner to discuss the issue: was it tantamount to impurity to kiss?

I’m okay on both sides of this issue, as I said in the beginning. You have a right as a dating couple to decide your boundaries. If you don’t want to kiss, you certainly don’t have to. If you do want to kiss, it’s also your prerogative. It’s your decision. (And, you should definitely have boundaries for your dating relationship.)

Pros—No kissing before marriage. None.
  • If you don’t kiss at all, you will have less temptation to kiss a lot or to do more than kiss.
  • You will marry each other on the basis of commitment and God’s will, with nothing physical entering in.
  • You'll have the satisfaction that you saved everything for marriage.
  • If you never kissed anyone before your spouse, you’ll both have that super clean feeling. “I only ever kissed you.”

Cons—Why “no kissing before marriage" might not be the best idea.
  • If you tell everyone, it can lead to pride. “We are so pure—touch us!—we never kissed until the altar.”
  • Your first kiss will be very public. Your wedding audience may hoot, cheer, and time your kiss, and you might not enjoy it at all.
  • Your first kiss may be very awkward. Do you both know how to turn your heads, avoid clicking your glasses, and miss each other’s noses?
  • When the man asks the woman to marry him, he is asking her to commit her whole life to him. Isn’t engagement a good time to seal it with a kiss? (Just a question.)

I would never advocate kissing a lot before marriage or any kind of kissing besides a sweet lip kiss. I don’t think being lip-locked or in a long embrace is the best way to ward off temptation. And, I believe that if a couple decides not to kiss before marriage, it’s absolutely fine.

But, I think the decision to kiss or not should be private. It’s between the man and the woman. If they want to wait, they don’t need to make it public. Then, when they kiss for the first time at the altar, no one but them knows it’s their very first kiss. No one will holler or whistle. It will be the sweet seal on their marriage the kiss at the altar ought to be. “You may kiss your bride.”

After all, a kiss is not fornication. A kiss is a kiss. It signifies caring and love. Ideally, a person should only kiss one other: that person’s husband or wife. But, if someone kisses someone else, later finding the one God has for him, he hasn’t committed anything worse than kissing someone he didn’t end up marrying. He/she probably regrets having kissed someone else. It wasn’t the one he/she married, but it’s not fornication. It wasn’t touching and petting, and it wasn’t a horrible sin.

I believe it’s wrong to put a guilt trip on someone for a pre-marital kiss.

I also believe it’s wrong to be prideful about not kissing before the altar. It's perfectly okay to share quietly afterwards--and especially with your kids--why Mommy and Daddy waited for their first kiss. (I recently read an excellent blog post about this. You can access it, here.)

In an ideal world, everyone would wait until he knows this is the one he wants to spend his life with to kiss for the very first time. The couple would not indulge any physical passion until after marriage. That would be right and good.

Let’s be discreet.

And I truly hope that the kisses at the altar—first or not—will become less of a spectator sport.



  1. I never heard of not kissing before marriage until I was in college. Another friend and I talked about it and wondered if it might be a total shock to the system to go from no touching to now suddenly full touching after marriage (though I understand some who don't believe in kissing before marriage don't have a problem with holding hands and such). On the other hand, waiting for that first kiss and full touches at marriage means you never have to be on guard to stop at a certain point: you'll have that freedom to go where it leads you. As you say, I can see both sides of it. too, but I also think it's a mistake to make it a dividing line when the Scriptures don't do that. We were talking yesterday as a family about several non-Scriptural dividing lines that people defend with the same vehemence as the Deity of Christ and other fundamental doctrines. I may have a post brewing about that. :-) You also bring up a very good point about the issue of pride in this. Couples who decide not to kiss before marriage don't necessarily need to broadcast it or make a big deal about it to others, although I understand some doing that mean it as an encouragement to others to maintain purity. But I think there would be even more scrutiny of their kiss at the altar if the whole assembly knew this was the first time they kissed, and that would seem really awkward, I would think.

    1. Thank you, Barbara. Yes, I believe like you, that many who tell people do it for encouraging others in purity. I appreciate your comments and look forward to your blog post. God bless!

  2. My husband and I grew up in a very strict church and we kissed before marriage but after our engagement. No one was supposed to know of our sin - I guess some may know now though! Ha! I spent a long time being ashamed. I finally came to realize that it wasn't the end of the world. We have been married for almost 18 years. Thanks for your "sane " post.

    1. Congratulations on eighteen years of marriage. Your "sin" is public now, if anyone reads the comments. :o) Thank you for sharing, Valerie. God bless you!

  3. Replies
    1. I don't know that there are any on this subject. Thank you, Carol, for your question. God bless you!


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