|Fun Shadow shot of Hubs & I kissing on a Hilton Head
Island beach after watching the sunrise.
Something happens when two people kiss. I’m not referring to your usual goosebumps inviting, butterfly acrobatics in the tummy, endorphin release. That’s a given. If you’re kissing someone you’re attracted to. What I’m referring to is an invisible weaving of hearts that occurs while two sets of moist, charged lips touch.
In most memorable love stories, whether read on seen on Hollywood screens, the moment I anxiously await is the culmination of that first kiss. So often it disappoints. But every once in awhile, the story nails it. Perfectly timed. Perfectly orchestrated. And perfectly executed.
When I was young, and the hormones kicked in, I started wondering, hmmm? Who will be my first kiss? When will I kiss a boy? How long should I wait till I kiss the boy I’m dating? Will I have time to apply a little last second lip-gloss!?! 😉
I used to think about these things a lot. I was sixteen and had never been kissed. [I don’t count my fourth grade antics…Sorry Adam!] When I went away for a three day Mock United Nations Debate conference, I met a boy from another school who liked me. We moved our seats next to each other to make it easier to flirt. On the last day, he kissed me in the alley next to the McDonald’s. It wasn’t anything memorable. But when you’re young, any physical touch lights a fire and want is ignited. I wanted more. Fortunately, he lived to far away to warrant frequent visits. I saw him one or two times after that. It was a love story fueled more by my imagination than anything else.
The next four years up to college graduation, I only kissed two other boys. Two jerks. Neither wanted to hold my hand in public. Neither ever bought me flowers. And neither felt it necessary to define the relationship. Undefined is the key ingredient to a broken heart and a deflated self-esteem. All this baloney about friends with benefits is a lie. No one benefits when you call a relationship one thing, but do other things. Self-deception is all fun and games until you wake up. With a suitcase of memories and experiences you didn’t pay for. Yet—everyone pays—eventually. Don’t treat your relationships like credit cards, charging up the ying-yang when you know your assets are depleted. It’s selfish and foolish. And hurtful. Very hurtful.
After the last two credit card affairs, I felt depleted. Disregarded. And disrespected. I didn’t want anything to do with boys or dating. I put my anxious heart on a shelf and told it to stay put. Then when it tried to sneak out when I wasn’t watching, I took my heart and put it in prison. That only made me angry at the world and every young man who tried to befriend me. Finally, like Goldilocks looking for the perfect mattress, I found a home for my heart that made sense. I put my heart in the hands of her maker. The one who started her beating. The one who designed her every layer. I put my heart in God’s hands.
This might sound cheesy. Go ahead and laugh. I can take it. But it was the best decision I ever made. My conversation with my Creator was short and simple:
“Here it is. My heart is yours. I’m letting you decide. Because in the past, every time I decided who to give my heart to, my life ended up in the dumpster of love stories, void of love. You tell me this time around: when to take a chance, who to give my heart to, and how to love someone. You’re the expert on love after all. So I trust you.”
That spring I fell in love. With God. I can’t explain it in words that well, but it was like his love helped to undo all the false messages I had learned about love. He loved me so well, almost as if to tell me, if the next guy tries to say “I love you,” but doesn’t love you like I do, don’t bother.
That’s a pretty high standard. Love me like God loves me. I get that. I was looking for the guy who was willing to try. And willing to work at it.
I met him that summer. The summer of sunshine. His nickname was Sunny. And I was in crush like never before. On his birthday, I wrapped twenty little gifts of fun things I found at the grocery store (the idea came to me late the night before the big day) that had a sun on it. A bottle of Sunny Delight. Sunblock. A Sun key chain. Sunmaid raisins. You get my point. Then I stayed up late into the night, decorating a journal cover with magazine cut out letters to spell out his real name, Santhosh. Yeah, I was a little crazy. Crazy for this boy who was different. In the best way.
A bunch of us friends arrived at Sun’s house early in the morning to help them move to a new house. All day long, I snuck back to my car, grabbed a newspaper wrapped gift and dropped it in Sun’s way. On top of a box. On the moving truck driver’s seat. On his chair. His smile grew bigger and bigger as the day went on.
You see I had one goal. I wanted to rewrite his expectations associated with his birthday. A few days earlier, during one of our earliest conversations, Sun told me he hated his birthday. When I asked why, he took a chance and told me the truth, sharing some painful memories from his growing up years.
So the game plan was to do whatever it took to give him some good memories on his twentieth birthday. And the scooping hug he embraced me with at the end of the night told me it worked. But no kiss.
We nurtured our friendship all summer, spending time going for walks, grabbing lunch together, and talking. A lot. Only when the summer came to a close did we have the infamous DTR conversation. And right after it, I told him something before I changed my mind. “I don’t want to kiss.”
“Of course not silly.”
“Till we get married.” If you didn’t laugh before, go ahead. Get it out of your system now.
He didn’t say anything at first. So I kept talking. “I just. I don’t want to make light of our first kiss. I want it to be really special. I don’t want to repeat my past mistakes with you and rush into the first kiss. Does that make sense?”
He nodded. He might have not agreed whole-heartedly, but he respected me enough to wait.
And we waited for one year to kiss. Sun asked me for permission. We had just finished a long bike ride and sat on the rocks by Lake Michigan in Chicago.
I said, “No.”
He said, “Just one.”
I said, “Okay.” And Wow! Was it worth the wait!
He proposed the next year and we were married the spring that followed.
Fourteen years later, my girls remind us that we didn’t “wait” to kiss till we were married like we had said we would. They’re right. But we put a new value on our first kiss. By waiting for it. And now, when we fight in front of the girls and they’re anxious for us to reconcile, my eldest will say, “Kiss already!” Because she knows that when we kiss, we’re together. We’re united. We’re good.
So I say to all you married peeps, kiss! Kiss a lot. But kiss the one you’re committed to. The one who’s committed to you. Kissing has been proven to be good for your health. And really good for marriage.
If you’re young, unmarried, still searching: value your kisses. Don’t just give them away because a full moon is out or because he or she is cute and fireworks are bursting inside you. Your kiss is a window into your heart. And not just anyone should be allowed in. Your heart is precious, and any guy who doesn’t value you shouldn’t be kissing you. And no girl should be pressuring you fellas to prove your love by rushing that first kiss. Because although someone out there may want you to believe it, I don’t agree. A kiss is not just a kiss.
**Do you have a memorable First Kiss story you want to share? Oh come one, Kiss and Tell already… I did.
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