(continued from "They Meet")
At this point, Miss Hammer and Hammertime are connected online - at least initally. After insisting that they each post pictures of themselves (we are as shallow as you, after all), they began to discuss things that are important - Christ, families, service to country, and Hammertime's Everquest addiction (I quit a month later).
We learned neat stuff. Miss Hammer learned that the Proverbs 31 woman handled the family's finances. I learned that the children of single moms aren't always a mess. She grew to like Rich Mullins, and I learned that there were still conservatives in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, er, California.
It was awesome. We learned that we agreed on the important things, but didn't share a lot of hobbies/interests. I let her know ahead of time that although I was currently a sexy pilot, I was on the road to becoming a very unsexy preacher. She let me know that she was a teacher, that she enjoyed being one, but that she'd drop it in a heartbeat to be a stay-at-home Mom.
I had read an excellent book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Just to make sure I wasn't getting roped in by someone twisting logic, I read a 'response' book to it called I Gave Dating a Chance: A Biblical Perspective to Balance the Extremes. And you know what? The 'extreme' of not dating the traditional American way was clearly correct. In fact, based upon some of the book and prayer, I proposed a very 'extreme' idea to Miss Hammer:
We should not kiss until we are announced as "Captain and Mrs. Hammer".
Does it sound crazy to you? It did to many people. What was telling was who was reacting in which way. Simply put, those who were Christians typically responded with, "That's really cool." Those who were not typically said, "That's crazy."
In fact, Miss Hammer was not down with it at first. However, after I went through my reasoning for why I thought it was a good idea, she agreed, and we made a covenant to stick to it. Perhaps it will help others to see why this is a good plan if I lay out some of our reasons.
1) Will the marriage be weaker if we don't kiss beforeheand?
Right away the lie is exposed. Obviously, if something is necessary for success, then failing to do it will lead to overall 'mission' failure. This isn't true here, but it does lead to the next question:
2) How will not kissing prevent us from getting to the wedding?
It is here that all the counter arguments arise, and are proven false:
"How will you know if he/she is right for you?"
I'm guessing that darn near 100% of divorcees kissed before they were married. It didn't help them figure it out, did it?
"What about the intimacy you'll miss out on?"
There are numerous ways to enjoy intimacy without kissing and the natural physical progression that follows. Hugging, holding hands, and far more intimate than kissing, sharing your dreams, thoughts, and feelings.
3) What is wrong with kissing before you are married?
The issue isn't what is wrong, it is what is best avoided. Physical intimacy is a kind of 'giving yourself to another'. We typically remember every person we have been physically intimate with, even if we never knew their names. What good does a married man get from the memories of other women he has been intimate with - or a married woman, for that matter?
Never mind the aforementioned natural progression of physical intimacy I mentioned before and the trouble with all of that - but if you are going to draw a line, it's a very good place to draw it. The final selling point is this - that true love involves placing the other person's purity above your own desires. Someone who loves you will be willing to wait. Someone who, deep down, seeks only their own gratification, will not. If you think it might be a good idea to save kissing for marriage, and your partner objects - are they objecting for you, or for themselves? The answer is obvious.
Lastly, the line I use, and that I recommend Dads and Moms everywhere use, is this:
"Your lips are a treasure worth keeping for your husband."
So the covenant was made to hold off on kissing until we were married...but we had to make it to that point first. As I prepared to visit Miss Hammer for the first time, it no longer seemed certain...
(next: From the DMZ to the Altar)