Your first kiss: Whether it was absolutely magical or horribly awkward and embarrassing, it’s a moment that stays with you forever. I remember those late night sleepover talks with my girlfriends growing up, discussing and wondering what it would be like when it finally happened. What do you do with your head or your hands? How do you breathe with some guy’s face on yours? What if I’m bad at it?? Even worse, how do you know if you’re bad at it?!

I wanted my first kiss to be the most romantic moment of my life, like in all the movies. It would be so perfect my foot would just “pop” like in The Princess Diaries. The guy would be absolutely in love with me and I would re-tell how great it was forever.

If only I had held out for my prince charming to show up and sweep me off my feet. I grew impatient as high school went on and the guys were just plain immature. I became embarrassed that I hadn’t just gotten that first kiss “over with,” like everyone else in the world (or so it seemed).

My first kiss was nothing magical, but it was something I will remember forever. It was the moment I realized that to the boy that kissed me, I was nothing but a body. I felt dirty and used. To make these feelings go away, I kissed as many frogs as I could to show that I was in control and not them.

I wish I had known then what I know now. A kiss is not something to get “over with.” It isn’t to be handed out like a party favor to the cutest guy or girl who pays attention to you when you go out. It isn’t something that doesn’t matter and can be given to just anyone.

I wish I had known the value of a kiss.

A kiss is a symbol of love, affection, and giving part of yourself to another.

When I get a kiss from my beautiful little niece, I am overwhelmed with how much I love and want to protect this tiny little girl. When I kiss a friend in need of comfort on the forehead I’m showing them that I care and I’m there for them. When I kiss the man I love, I’m giving him a sign of affection, admiration, and attraction.

I spent years battling or flat out ignoring this truth. I honestly couldn’t tell you the number of guys that I kissed—it didn’t matter to me at the time. But once I found the man who showed me how treasured a kiss should be, I wished more than anything I could go back.

The bible says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). There is nothing wrong with kissing; it’s our human frailty that brings sin into the mix. I’m one of kissing’s biggest fans, but we all know when kissing goes from innocent and sweet to the opposite! Recognizing where you need to draw the line and more importantly sticking to it even when it’s difficult, makes you stronger, leads you in a life of purity, and guards your heart.

One of my best friends is a beautiful young college woman still waiting for that first kiss. Despite anyone else’s mocking that she hasn’t “gotten it over with yet” at her age, she has held strong. Sure, any day of the week any guy would jump at the chance to kiss her. But she knows her worth. She knows she deserves nothing but the best and for that I applaud her. I wish I had been so strong.

Don’t fall prey to society’s lies and give your kisses away to someone who doesn’t know your worth. Just because you’ve failed in the past or slipped up, doesn’t mean you can’t have another chance to do better and strive for a good and virtuous life. Chastity requires self-control, knowledge of self worth, and the courage to live out the truth. Kissing is a beautiful sign of your affection. Who deserves this part of your soul?