Should Our Children Save Their First Kiss For Marriage?

My husband and I recently had a conversation about our children’s future dating lives.  We were discussing the idea of our children saving their first kiss for their wedding day.  While we both like the sentiment of our children saving every bit of themselves for their spouse, I have to admit we both wondered if this is realistic, or even possible.  “How do you enforce a rule like that?” my husband asked.

And I realized, you don’t.  We won’t be with our children at every school dance, at every party, or at any other scenario where they might steal a few moments alone with a member of the opposite sex.

We won’t be there with them, but hopefully something else will: a sense of respect for the dignity of the other; a desire to work for the good of someone they care about; a recognition of what it means to truly love and how that emotion is manifested through our bodily actions; and, above all, a greater love for God than for their own desires.

The question “Where do I draw the line?” is ultimately the wrong one to be asking, for our children and for ourselves.  Of course, we have an obligation to teach our children the difference between right and wrong.  We do their souls a favor by teaching them which behavior is always sinful, and also which behavior is only made sinful when acted upon in circumstances for which it was not intended.

Which means we also need to convey to them which behavior, when carried out in the right circumstances, is good, and beautiful, and true.

When we emphasize the beauty of something, the sacredness of something, and the fragility of something, even the smallest of children are capable of finding their self-control.  I’ve seen the most rambunctious of toddlers caress a newborn baby with tenderness and love.  I’ve seen the most boyish of boys handle a tiny caterpillar with a gentleness that outshines their rough and dirty hands.  It takes the manliest of men to treat their bride like the luminescent light of God’s love that she is.

And so, this is why we start the conversation now.  This is why we don’t just talk to our children about what not to do, but also what to do: how to treat their future spouse like God’s treasure, even now, by living in chaste anticipation; how to hold their own bodies and their sexual powers with the utmost reverence and respect; how to show someone they care about what real love looks like.

I write this to remind myself, as well as all of you, that raising pure children is not just enforcing a set of rules and boundaries.  It isn’t drawing lines, and lecturing, and instilling fear.  It is creating people who don’t need the lines.  It is creating people who would never think of crossing the boundaries, even if the boundaries were there.  And when temptation gets the best of them, and they do take a step over that invisible line, we will hopefully have formed people who feel the prick of their conscience and will find their way back home.

The Theology of the Body is not a set of unrealistic expectations.  Quite the contrary.  It is God’s blueprint for us.  It is what we were created for.

So will my husband and I “let” our children kiss before marriage?  I guess that will be up to our children and their own free will.  But we will certainly do our best to instill in their hearts what a kiss really means.  We will do our best to teach them to hold that first kiss as a precious gift that should be treasured and preserved by them and those who claim to love them.  And if they choose to share that kiss with someone before those final moments at the altar?  We hope to instill in them an awareness of the sacredness of that moment that will not arouse desires that cannot yet be acted upon, but, rather, a sense of self-control and respect for the gift of the other person.  A desire to help the one they care about remain pure, and to follow God’s plan.

Lead your children into relationship with God, and pray that the Holy Spirit will gift them with clear vision and a pure heart, so that the only side of the line they see is God’s side.

A great article with more about “drawing the line”:


About Charisse Tierney

Charisse Tierney lives in Newton, Kansas, with her husband and six children. Charisse and her husband, Rob, teach Natural Family Planning for the Couple to Couple League and have experience teaching Theology of the Body for Teens to high school and middle school students through their parish in Kansas. Charisse holds bachelor and master degrees in music performance. A professionally trained clarinetist and pianist, Charisse has always held a deep love for writing and her Catholic faith. Charisse is a contributing author of The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion and writes for Family Foundations magazine. She can also be found at
This entry was posted in Chastity, Language of the Body, Love. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Should Our Children Save Their First Kiss For Marriage?

  1. Teresa Grodi says:

    Hello! This was a really thought-provoking article. I don’t have children anywhere near dating age yet, but I have been thinking about this lately. I’ve found an unanticipated help in marriage, homeschooling, and parenting in the Duggar family over the last 4 years. I’ve really worked hard at getting a “degree in Duggar”, but watching their show and reading all of their books. Since they’ve had three children marry over the last few years and all saved their first kiss for marriage, something really stuck out at me as they were asked the questions about that “rule” every time. First, as you pointed out in your blog post, it was not a RULE! The Duggars have always been very open and honest with their children about their past — what they saved for marriage, what they didn’t, what they regret, and the dangers of too much “alone time” for a couple, based on their own experience — they answered any questions their children have, and expressed their hopes for their children’s decisions. When each couple started interacting (not ‘courting’ or ‘dating’ stage yet) the parents asked the children and their partner what decisions they would like to make about boundaries and then, together as a family, they would reinforce that couple’s decision. So, they would let the couples make the decision on how much physical interaction they would have, share with their family, and then the family would help them keep those promises, freely made. Something else that is very endearing about the Duggars, and that I am certain sets a very TOB tone for their children, is that Michelle and Jim Bob share LOTS of affection and often frequently make jokes about “making another baby”. They certainly aren’t prude, by any means, but seem to express a very pure love for each other, even around their children. (The eldest Duggar girls recently released a book, written mainly to other young girls, but is so helpful to read as a parent. It is laden with TOB — whether they realize it or not!) I’m so happy to have found your blog — I will keep reading!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Teresa! While I don’t follow them closely, the Duggar family has always interested and amazed me as well. I did see something not long ago about the marriage of one of their children and found myself thinking “How do they do it?” They truly seem to have a wonderful family life with pure children who all look very happy about it! Thank you for the points you revealed about their parenting style. They do seem to incorporate the TOB at the heart of their intentions. I’m glad we found each other and hope we can continue to share ideas for leading our children well!

      • Teresa Grodi says:

        Thank you for your kind reply! The Duggars are definitely worth a careful case study :o) I’ve grown a lot from their example (and I hope to grow so much more!). God bless you and yours in this New Year!

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