Who does this? Well, a lot of Christians do. If you google it you’ll find blogs and message boards filled with accounts of people who are waiting for their wedding day to kiss someone, anyone, for the first time.
This idea is popular almost exclusively in Christian culture and orthodox Muslim communities, but in Christianity you usually get to pick your spouse yourself and see your fiancée’s face without a veil before the wedding day. The reasons the Christians cite for waiting till their wedding day often include:
–They don’t want to be overwhelmed by temptation before they are legally married so they’re not going to get the ball rolling beforehand.
—They have been “sexually impure” in the past and don’t want to be tempted to repeat history. (Without fail, these couples also make a point of letting everyone know they are careful not to put themselves in tempting situations and spend their time together with their friends or in public.)
–They want the kiss to “mean something.”
–They say being able not to kiss before marriage will mean you have a strong relationship and therefore it will last.
The irony of this unusual decision is that it somehow takes on an idolatrous quality. The focus is on how the couple is not kissing and therefore how “pure” they are. Their not-kissing becomes a sort of idol. The couple is commended vigorously by the Christian community. “I personally could never do it. I admire you for doing this.” “Kudos on your commitment to purity!” “Whoo, that’s gonna be some wedding night!” (Is it ever.) The not-kissing decision is not a secret. If the decision not to kiss was kept private then it could possibly be construed by the general populace as special and romantic (albeit weird), but when your extended relatives and neighbors down the street know you are not kissing until the altar, it takes on a voyueristic quality. When attending a wedding where the bride and groom haven’t kissed, it is all anyone talks about while waiting for the ceremony to start. You’re nervous for them. You’re embarrassed that their grandparents are watching. You think about the wedding night and how they’re going to go from zero to sex in one go, then you wince at the images flooding your brain. You may suffer dizziness, nausea, and even lack of faith. Why would God want people to not kiss until their wedding day? Do I want to serve a God that wants us to be that pure and holy? Then, if you are lucky, you will realize that the not-kissing decision likely has nothing to do with God and everything to do with them. The years the couple has spent listening to Josh MacDowell “Why Wait?” sermons in youth group struck terror of physical intimacy deep within their hearts and by the time they met each other they hadn’t kissed anyone at all because they’d been too afraid. This can lead to this extremist notion of putting the whole thing off. WAY off.
If you are a Christian male and your girlfriend wants to wait to kiss until you’re married, your hands are tied. Any misgivings about her decision can too easily be interpreted as being disrespectful of her “commitment to purity” and any protesting on your part could make you look like a filthy horndog who isn’t really interested in marriage. The bride often has little to no sex drive as she has been raised to think sex is irrelevant and sort of dirty, so they compromise by not kissing till the altar and ride the endorphins of glowing commendation on their purity from family and friends. Then once they’re married the husband is ready to go but the wife is terrified. He spends the honeymoon furiously bench pressing in the hotel gym while she cries in a corner of their honeymoon suite and calls her mom. Glory be to God!
**This post originally aired on August 13, 2008, and warranted reposting as friends who waited to kiss just filed for divorce.