A few years back, my daughter was given a copy of “The Princess and the Kiss” for a birthday gift. Back then its significance was not something she was ready to consider; but now we are all too quickly approaching her 13th birthday. Although her father and brother I am sure will serve as worthy bodyguards, and she is still covering her eyes (and simultaneously rolling them) at kissing scenes in movies (I mean innocent “Anne of Green Gables” types), I know the time will come when she will need to have an answer for that all-important question: “How will I know who to give my first to, and when?”
I think of the character of Amy in the most recent “Little Women” movie, who, while still very young, said, “I’ve waited all my life to be kissed.” Hollywood makes much of the physical aspect of relationships, so that viewers come away with the idea that that is all there is (or at least that it is to be the primary focus). I want Erin to have a higher-than-mere-romance reverence for this precious gift of her purity, even in its “smallest” manifestations. The very first gesture of affection which opens the door of “romance” for even the smallest peek – even this should be reserved as holy…a carefully guarded treasure.
No, I do not believe a kiss is a small gesture between a man and woman. As testimony to this, I’ll tell you that my husband and I did not share our first kiss until our wedding day. I am not saying that kind of restraint is easy, or that we didn’t struggle. The discipline was good for both of us. There was delight in the prospect of knowing we had saved it all to enjoy with consecrated abandon. I even had someone ask me how I knew I wanted to marry Patrick, if I had never kissed him. That is another manifestation of the Hollywood idea…the whole “fireworks” thing as proof that “he is the one.” My response to her was that anyone can be taught to kiss. Simply put, it is a skill. But integrity and purity, holiness and honorable commitment – the things that are woven into the fabric of one’s character -these are what a believer brings to offer their future spouse at the marriage altar. The foundation of a romance between believers is much more solid than base chemistry (aka hormones). It is not about sexual prowess, and seeking socially acceptable/church-sanctioned license to exercise it. That is the stuff for Vegas drive-thru chapels. No–every fragment of the physical relationship is intended to be fresh and new; thrilling and at the same time sacred.
I have grown to love this little book, which emphasizes the importance of preserving yourself–hopes, dreams, actions and reactions, thoughts and motives–for God first, and then for your spouse, if He wills. No regrets, no tarnished memories. I highly recommend this beautifully illustrated treasure, written by Jennie Bishop. Buy it for a young girl this Christmas.