Slowly but surely I'm learning how to date in a way that is (hopefully) glorifying to God--and surprise surprise--much more healthy and balanced for me. Over the past ten years I have often chosen to learn lessons in this arena the hard way--from buying a house with someone I wasn't married to to dating a guy who told me he was a better looking man that I am a woman (Who thinks/says stuff like that? But more important who puts up with it? Yes, me.). I've lacked boundaries, wisdom, and the desire to seek God first. And not surprisingly I've created a lot of unnecessary heartache and drama and spent about eight years of my life in relationships that were ill-advised in many ways.
One of the areas I've made the most mistakes in is the physical realm, and just in the last few months I have been learning more about how mistaken I've been. I've always thought of myself as being more like a stereotypical guy when it comes to physical stuff, believing that I am objective and that kissing and whatnot did not interfere or influence feelings. In my mind kissing was simply fun and light-hearted and just not a big deal at all.
So I started dating Carter in November, and by our fifth date he had still not kissed me--which was a first for me. Frankly it was weird to me, and I was curious as what was going on in his head and wondering all sorts of things (i.e What's wrong with him? When is he going to kiss me? Now it's going to be a big deal when we finally do kiss. I don't want our first kiss to be on New Year's Eve and so forth).
But somewhere along the way I discovered that I liked not kissing! I was so clear-headed. I wasn't distracted or wondering when we were going to make out next. I was just listening to him, and his desire to see me again had nothing to do with the physical. So after seven dates of not kissing, I became a proponent of not kissing at all. Yes, I realize that seems absolutely crazy, but it's yet another reminder of the powerful nature of transformation. Seriously--the shock of liking not kissing is just now rubbing off; it's really amazing to me that I could like not having that as a part of a dating relationship since the physical aspect of a relationship was always a priority for me in the past.
Carter finally kissed me on our eighth date, but I am still grateful that a foundation for our relationship was laid before that happened; and I sometimes think I'd like to go back to not kissing because of the benefits mentioned above. Don't get me wrong--I love kissing Carter and could do it for hours (and have), but part of me thinks "I want to make wise decisions about dating; it's easier to do that without distraction and with a clear head, and if we are right for each other, we can kiss for years after we get married." Of course, the other part of me feels whiny and short-sighted and thinks about how much I've already "given up" and thinks "I really like kissing and shouldn't be such a teetotaler type."
p.s. I'm grateful for the cupcake Sarah bought me this afternoon and the "get a free drink" card my barista gave me this morning at Starbucks.