White Roses

I was raised in a very conservative home with a lot of rules and guidelines to follow. One of these guidelines that I learned about as I grew older, was that my dad didn’t want me to kiss anyone until my wedding day. This was partially due to the fact that my older brother had done this with the woman he married, and it had been beneficial for both their hearts and their purity as a couple together. Honestly, I don’t know if my dad would have been fully aware of this relationship standard if my brother had not exemplified it first. But he did, and my dad thought it was a wonderful idea. I did as well, especially after my experience at age thirteen when I had been physically assaulted and kissed by a much older man. That experience made me see that saving my first real kiss for marriage was what I wanted to do.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

I wanted that, I wanted to set an example, and I wanted to save my first real kiss for a man who loved me, for the one man I would kiss for the rest of my life. This was my goal. When I was with my first boyfriend, I told him this desire and my reasoning, he respected it and we didn’t kiss. The same thing happened with my second boyfriend, and I was so thankful to these two men who were willing to give up kissing me even though they both wanted to, to honor my boundary that is fairly rare these days.

I had a good reason, I had high standards. And I had past guilt and trauma from my first experience with kissing. For years, I thought that I was damaged goods and that a good Christian man wouldn’t want me because I was “used.” This was part of the reason I avoided kissing from then on. I felt as though I owed my future husband an apology. But then I began to really take on that standard as my own, beginning to understand that I hadn’t been at fault in the sexual assault situation, that I didn’t need to feel guilt, that my future husband wasn’t owed an apology for the fact that I had been wronged. I just decided that I wanted to save my first real kiss for the man I would marry.

But then something happened. I went out on a date with a guy, and when we hugged goodbye, he kissed me. It was unexpected, I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t know what to do, it was my first real kiss. I was instantly confused, and guilt washed over me for days. This young man and I are only friends now, so the kiss was an isolated event, but still. I had violated a moral standard! Had I betrayed my future husband? Had I committed some huge sin? My head was spinning. I prayed about it, thought about it, talked it out with the guy, and kept thinking. Had I done something horribly wrong? I talked through these feelings with a close friend, shared with her how guilty I felt and that I also felt like I had wronged whoever I would marry. But here is what I learned. My first kiss with my husband will still be my first kiss with my husband, whether we save it for the altar or not. Now, that doesn’t mean I can go crazy, kissing everyone and being promiscuous. What it does mean is that I do not have to feel or carry guilt for a kiss that was given away. The Lord knows my heart intentions, and he knows I do not desire to throw away physical affection willy-nilly. The Lord knows my heart and that I want to commit to a high standard of purity. And the Lord knows that the man he has made for me will love me no matter what my past looks like.

I entitled this post, White Roses, for a special reason. When I was dating my first love, we were talking about getting married, and waiting until we reached the altar for our first kiss. I decided that I wanted our wedding flower to be a white rose because white roses mean purity. I wanted to share our story with everyone, how we had waited until our wedding day for our first kiss as a picture of purity. Well, I didn’t marry him, but I can still use that idea. And I have kissed someone who I’m not going to marry, but I can still decorate with white roses.

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