Kiss and Tell

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.”

“Ever?”

“Of course not silly.”

“How long?”

“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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4 thoughts on “Kiss and Tell

  1. There was no cheesy in your story to me! I have a similar guy/relationship story to yours, but with a twist: I was abused as a little girl. I was raised by an excellent dad and mom, and with help and counselling learned to trust guys again (the worthy ones, at least). But the christian guy I dated in high school who started out so awesome eventually just kept pressuring me for a little bit more…and a little bit more…

    I broke up with him, and knew that I had done the right thing. I knew it was what God wanted. But it didn’t get rid of the feeling of being used and underrated. Suddenly all the insecurities and fears from my abuse, that I had learned were WRONG just like the rape was, came back. This time, they had vindication: “see, even a nice guy treats me that way.” Jesus had done miracles in my life just years before in lifting me out of depression–right before I committed suicide, he rescued me and did some immediate healing on my beat-up soul and loved me and gave me hope. I trusted Jesus, and I knew that he loved me and that I was good enough. So if I was alright, then that meant that guys weren’t. It was GUYS who were the problem. And even though I loved the Lord, I started to despise the men he had made. Through my early years of college, I was a prickly pear: kind and warm, but always with a sarcastic comment or two to tear down the confidence of my male friends when they least expected it. I was destruction running, but it was subtle enough that I didn’t see it in myself.

    I dated again–this time a nonchristian, and he was fabulous. He never pushed boundaries, never wanted more, and always cared for me. But we knew our beliefs kept us from being as close as we should be and that we’d never get married, so it very amicably ended. But even so, my heart hurt again, because it wasn’t the way a heart was meant to work. I was trying to have a relationship without the depth and closeness–hence choosing something I knew I couldn’t be close with. My prickles turned to briers. Somehow many guys still found it in themselves to like me, and I turned a few down and dated one who had liked me for a while. Commitment: that’s good, right? But I wasn’t committed to him, not even attracted to him. In fear of what guys were, I refused physical intimacy like kissing. About all we did was hold hands. And eventually, the relationship fell apart because we were not close enough with each other to make it last, though we tried.

    Like you, it took falling in love with God–a second time, for me. He had healed my heart of the abuse, but now he healed it of the neglect and misuse from ex-boyfriends too. Slowly I learned to see guys as imperfect but still beautiful masterpieces painted by our heavenly Father. I learned to encourage and be open and not have any thorns. The warning signs came down off my face and my behavior became less stand-offish. I had true guy friends who I trusted and relied on in a non-attracted way. And one of those, who I WAS attracted to, began to woo me. I was scared of another relationship, but I asked God what to do. I’m so glad I did. God guided us through a deeper and deeper friendship, through dating, to where we are now: married and best friends. But it’s only because of God and because he opened my heart to Himself and led me lovingly to where I am today.

    We didn’t wait to have our first kiss like you did–but then, by the time our friendship had blossomed into a relationship, we knew, “this is the person I want to marry.” We kissed on our first date. And even though we didn’t wait, it was special. It was special because I knew I’d found a guy I could trust. A guy I wanted to kiss. My previous relationship hadn’t included any kissing. And it kept us from getting too close too fast, but it also kept us from being close at all. And this relationship was different. Here was a man I trusted, and I trusted him enough to kiss him freely and often. And today, we still do :)

    I read your article on To Love Honor and Vacuum (http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/10/honeymoon-blues-to-over-the-rainbow/) and really appreciated it. Thank you for your contribution to the writing world :)

  2. My first kiss : I gave him my cheek and then suddenly realized that it was suppose to be my lips…oops!! I was 15 years old and thought I would die of embarraassment!! Too cute!! it puts a smile on my face now!!