My older offspring and I have had an interesting discussion this week. Okay, I have been doing most of the talking - but the responses have been interesting. Our family has a pretty strict stance on the entire topic of dating. It is pretty much summed up in this: "No."
We have embraced, if you will, the method of courtship, and let me tell ya, the opinions and boundaries of this practice are varied. Quite frankly, we believe the Scriptures make it clear that the Lord is the One Who brings a couple together. For it is written: "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder"(Mark 10:9). The problem is knowing when God is bringing a couple together or someone else is. Because a couple may discover that a relationship they have felt compelled to initiate may not be of the Lord (but rather of their own flesh and possibly even from the enemy), it is important to avoid compromising situations. The Lord has made it clear that sexual relations outside of marriage is wicked. The uncomfortable question is, when does a behavior enter the realm of sexual? We've already made peace with our family's boundaries on this topic. 1 Timothy 5:2 states when speaking of relationships to "exhort him as a father (an older man), younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity". In other words, to my young adults I say, "Don't do anything with a young lady (or young man) you aren't married to that you wouldn't do with your own sibling or parent!" Romantic kissing would obviously be impure and horribly inappropriate with a family member. If we remember that God states that we are to treat those we are not married to as family members, the boundaries become clarified.
Now this is not an issue with my kids. They agree that kissing before marriage is not okay. We are in unity here. The issue is the kissing we find in literature and movies. Over exposure to anything strengthens its influence. In movies, for example, a kiss may seem like such a beautiful and romantic component to a story; but if the couple is not married - should we be watching this? And I don't just mean the characters being married, I mean the actors. Isn't there anyone else out there thinking, "Uh, isn't this dude married to someone else in real life?" Or, "I know these two are not married and probably barely know each other." Is it okay to kiss someone romantically for the sake of art or uh, a paycheck? I say no. But what about watching it? An erosion of values can happen so s-l-o-w-l-y, it is barely perceptible until something unusual brings it up.
In our case, it came up during the writing of a story. Should your characters (hero or heroine respectively - not the villain) do something you would not do and inadvertently promote a behavior you find inappropriate? This may seem obvious, but sometimes it isn't. I can assume that most of you are familiar with the story of Sleeping Beauty. Now, I know my kiddos can watch the Disney version or read the fairy tale once or twice and not lose their salt (especially with me around reviewing disclaimers as needed). But what if you are attempting to write a version of Sleeping Beauty for a writing contest? What if you have to create a new spin on the fairy tale while trying to maintain the original heart of the story? A man kisses a young woman he is not married to while she is sleeping unaware. Does this not seem a wee bit inappropriate?
So here we are - working this out - and rising to the challenge of writing in such a way that maintains integrity and knowing when, in some cases, to walk away from a project entirely if it just can't be done well. I've attached a link to a very well-written article here that specifically addresses
kissing in a courtship/dating relationship for the Christian. My three oldest read it because I thought it was so good. Sometimes, even when we all know better, we need someone to throw a cold cup of literary water on our faces so we don't compromise! As for Hayden, here is an article she wrote about the topic three years ago. She is far more tolerant than me on the subject. My kids and I are not in perfect agreement now, but I suspect their opinions may change after that wedding day and they uh, know for themselves the power of a kiss!
Greet one another with a holy kiss. Romans 16:16, 2 Corinthians 13:12
Greet one another with a kiss of love 1 Peter 5:14