In my previous post, My Husband was my First Kiss ~ Part 1, I shared our journey of how God brought Jay and I together, and how He was protecting us for each other throughout our single years until the time was right for us to meet. This post delves into our dating years, and how God helped us form our boundaries that made it possible to save ourselves for each other until our wedding day.
I love thinking about those first moments, memories a woman really treasures. It is a story I look forward to sharing with my children someday. I think fondly of those times, and how Jay set things off for us.
To continue my story, after waiting for me to finish my “no-dating” year in college, we finally started officially dating. Jay started us off by explaining that though it was too soon to tell for sure if we were right for each other, he wanted to go about dating me with the intent to find out if we could get married. Kinda serious, right?
This didn’t mean that we couldn’t end things if we discovered that we were not right for each other, but from the beginning we wouldn’t date casually. We would be going forward with the awareness that this could end up in marriage down the road.
This is an interesting approach, and I know not everyone does things this way, but we both felt this was what God wanted us to do, so it was the best approach for us. I know people often don’t marry the first person they date, and it can sometimes take a few, or many tries to figure out what (or who) works. But there is a big difference between starting out just to have fun and date casually from the beginning, vs. taking it seriously, but ending things if it doesn’t work out.
I think it helps to keep in mind that this person that you are dating is either your future spouse, or someone else’s future spouse, and dating is to figure out which that is. So you could go ahead with dating cautiously, keeping constant lines of communication open with God and respecting the fact that you may be dating someone else’s spouse. You would not want to take away something special from their future marriage by going too far physically. This is just my opinion.
Back to my story, we started dating, or more accurately – courting. This meant holding hands, not hanging out alone, going on walks, talking, eating out, playing music together, performing at open mic nights, leading worship & prayer together… I know it seems old fashioned but we had a blast and just kept getting to know each other.
It was not always easy avoiding temptation, and often times very frustrating – especially when it seemed sometimes like everyone else was having all the fun. We are definitely not the perfect couple. There were times when we had to leave in a hurry from Jay’s apartment because his roommates were leaving – super inconvenient! Other times, we didn’t do so good and lingered a little too long before leaving. Sometimes while watching movies with friends, it was easy to get a little too comfortable and push the cuddling a bit, and then we had to back off and re-assess. Looking back I really believe it was God’s hand on our relationship that kept us from getting into any real trouble.
The relationship wasn’t perfect but we tried our best to keep our boundaries clear and set them back far enough that if we slipped up, we wouldn’t fall into something we would later regret. We prayed a lot, and asked God to help us keep things within our boundaries until the right time. Our friends and family played a big role in helping us keep accountable with this, and encouraged us along the way.
I am very grateful Jay was so patient and didn’t push me to do more physically than I was comfortable with. I had some trust issues going into dating and needed to know that I could be safe with him and that he could be trusted with my heart. We had been dating six months before he told me he loved me and I told him I loved him back. At that point I had seen enough to know this was the man I wanted to marry, so if he kissed me, I would let him. I never really made it a goal for myself to never kiss until my wedding day, but I knew that I would only kiss if it was a man I knew I could marry.
This is another example of how people can handle dating within such a wide range of ways. Some people never kiss until their wedding day, some people kiss on the second date if things are going well. In our case, I was ok kissing before my wedding day, but I needed my first kiss to have some weight. I only wanted to give my first kiss to a really special man, who loved Jesus, who I respected, who had integrity, and who I was falling in love with. So that clear, starry fall night, after dropping me off at my mom’s house after a date, Jay told me he loved me and went in for a kiss. I kissed back, and it was AWESOME. Through accountability and the grace of God we were able to maintain our physical intimacy at that level (just straight kissing, no making out) through the rest of our dating and into our engagement. The rest we saved for marriage. Why was this so important to us?
I think as you get to know a person, it is nice to show some physical affection, and I think there is room within dating for some of that, within reason. But always keep in mind, things may not work out, and you could be dating someone else’s spouse. Think about what things would you get jealous about that your spouse had done with their ex.
It also helps to keep the philosophy that any boundary you set is very easy to cross over even with the best intentions. We are human and it is in our nature to push things too far and slip up. We all do it, it happens, and though it is not God’s best for us, He does have boundless grace and redemption for even our messiest mistakes.
Knowing how human nature operates, if you decide you want to wait to have sex for the first time until your wedding night, don’t make your boundaries while dating “we won’t ever let ourselves have sex,” because you KNOW we all screw up. Set the boundaries well before you even get close to that point. I guess that is my advice.
I want people to understand that their future spouse and future family are something worth fighting for and protecting. So yes, I do believe it is God’s best to wait on marriage for the bedroom phase. I also believe He has major compassion for people who were unable to wait. He can heal any of the resulting issues and pain that come as a natural result of that. He can make us new and whole again. He wants to take away all condemnation and guilt, and any jealousy that may come up in your future marriage.
But for any who are not yet married, I implore you to protect your future and your heart, and ask God to guide you through your dating years. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).” He gives us strength to carry on when we are too weak to maintain the willpower on our own. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you (Psalm 55:2).” I can only tell you what my imperfect experience was, and I say waiting was SO WORTH IT. We are a real couple with our own challenges, but by the grace of God I am married to my best friend, the love of my life, & loving father to my child. I have only ever kissed him, as well as anything beyond that. <3