There are many types of kisses—kisses we give to family, friends or to a special someone. Kisses for family and friends, I can safely say, are given out of love and appreciation. How about the kisses we give to a special someone? What do they mean?
Value of a Kiss
Our actions speak volumes about our thoughts and our feelings. With this being said, John Bytheway, an LDS member who has been a missionary in the Philippines, posed a few questions in an LDS magazine in October 2004.
“Suppose you are on a date, and you put your arm around your date’s shoulder. This is a common gesture of affection, but what does it communicate?
How about, “I like you”?
What if you hold hands with your date? That’s perhaps a stronger message, isn’t it? Maybe that’s like saying “I really like you.”
Finally, what if you kiss your date? Then what are you saying? What do kisses mean, anyway?”
Kisses could mean ‘I care for you,’ ‘I hold you dear,’ ‘You are special to me.’ However, it could also mean otherwise. It could mean that kisses are given for pleasure and satisfaction. With the latter being true in some instances, John Bytheway counseled us to “involve the principle of honesty” when we kiss someone.
A word of caution was also shared by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, one of the leaders of the LDS Church in the quorum of the Seventy, he says, “During the time of courtship, please be emotionally honest in the expression of affection. Sometimes you are not as careful as you might be about when, how, and to whom you express your feelings of affection. You must realize that the desire to express affection can be motivated by other things than true love. When any of you—men or women—are given entrance to the heart of a trusting young friend, you stand on holy ground. In such a place you must be honest with yourself—and with your friend—about love and the expression of its symbols.”
It is important to note that Elder Hafen used the words “holy ground” when he described the heart of a trusting friend. We could think of a few other places that we consider holy ground, such as the temple. Like how we act and feel in the temple, we must have a heart with pure intent when we express our affections because the person to whom we express our affections to is also a temple according to Paul in the New Testament.
In order for us to share the same level of commitment, we must talk about our expectations and goals. It is important to have a clear understanding of what actions such as holding hands and kissing will mean. Doing this will prevent disappointments and heartaches from happening.
President Thomas S. Monson, the current Latter-day prophet, cautioned, “Men, take care not to make women weep, for God counts their tears.” As much as this is an absolute truth with a calming assurance for women, I am sure it is safe to say that this caution also applies to women and not solely to men. Women, for whatever reason, might also cause a man to weep. God is a just God and there is no mistaking that He also counts men’s tears because they are His children too.
To prevent tears from being shed, it is our responsibility to act honestly when we express our feelings and affections. John Bytheway counseled that men and women “have an equal obligation to keep affection within appropriate bounds.” May we not take this responsibility so lightly.
Save Your Kisses
There is no commandment pertaining to giving kisses to people. However, young single adults are always cautioned to not involve ourselves in passionate kissing that may lead to transgression. To reiterate the value of saving kisses, John Bytheway shared, “Remember, before you are married, you will be more respected and more attractive for the affection you withhold than for the affection you give.”
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), the twelfth prophet of the LDS Church, taught: “Kissing has … degenerated to develop and express lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble. What do kisses mean when given out like pretzels and robbed of sacredness?”
Can We Talk?
Affection is not only conveyed through actions. It can also be very well conveyed through words. Getting to know the person we are dating spiritually, mentally and emotionally can be done when we talk to each other. When kissing begins to be the core expression of our thoughts, we might fail to notice that there is nothing more we have in common than our love for kissing. It is important to TALK.
Brother Lowell Bennion, an LDS author, has written: “Once a couple begins to share affection in a physical way, this activity tends to become the focus of interest. Often such a couple ceases to explore the other significant dimensions of personality: mind, character, maturity, religious faith, moral values, and goals.”
He further continues, “Affection should grow out of genuine friendship and brotherly love, not precede them, if one wishes to be sure of having real and lasting love in marriage. Kissing for the sake of kissing invites more affection, and many fine young people become more deeply involved than they actually wish to be.” Kissing is an act of love and love requires honest hearts. May we ever be careful when to use this act.
Suffice to say that kisses have a wide array of meanings. They can be valued like Chanel or a free taste pretzel at a candy store. The choice is yours.