Have you ever noticed that sometimes the best ideas turn out to have bad consequences? Or that words meant to be wise sometimes get twisted and misguided? I’m not just talking about the inability to discern whether a text is said in jest or in seriousness. I’m talking about people who are supposed to be leaders conveying their ideas and messages to the rest of us.
I read a book in high school called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. I don’t remember everything it said, all I know is it led to a particular line of thinking which led to a particular line of action which led to the biggest hardship of my life. Although I’m sure this book was birthed with the best of intentions, I currently give it a big ol’ middle fingered-salute.
The general premise in a very small nutshell was: save yourself for marriage. All of yourself. Including your lips. It was written from a Christian point of view which is how I came across it. Someone from my charismatic church recommended these precepts and I, as a follower and a no-thinking-for-yourselfer, embraced and lived this book.
As a step-momma, I love the idea of celibacy until marriage, of monogamy, of abstinence. If I could make my step-girls walk with their knees together and their head in a cardboard box until they were 30, I’d do it. But that’s not reality.
The reason I have such a problem with this book actually lies within myself. You see, I had never kissed a boy when I read it, and afterwards determined to not kiss any man except the one I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. I’m sure my dad breathed a little easier when I told my parents of this plan!
But then I went to college and I met hiM. hE will never have a name because it’s easier that way. Neither will hE get a capitalized first letter because hE doesn’t deserve that much power. But I do have to differentiate hiM from the rest of the hims. Anyways, I met hiM and hE was very persuasive.
There was a kiss a few months into the relationship. My very first kiss. And although I didn’t realize it then, as I try to understand myself and unwind the mess of my life, I’m coming to the understanding that this was a pivotal moment. The D kiss and that D book. You see, my young mind was so literal! I’d pledged not to kiss until I got married. So this kiss to me was a good as saying vows. It gave the kiss way more power than it really should have had and from that moment onward, I didn’t see hiM as a boyfriend but as my future husband.
When I began to feel uncomfortable with the way hE lived, when I began to feel disrespected and unappreciated, when I wanted to cut it off and walk away I felt like I couldn’t because I had essentially given my word that hE was my choice for life. This led to eight years of a few highs and some very low lows which culminated in me realizing my safety and, potentially, my life was on the line. Fortunately I had the sense and strength to get out.
I guess all this is to say, please, please, please be careful of how you talk to kids and teens about what commitment, love, and marriage mean! A kiss does not have to seal the deal. (And don’t you take that literally!)