If he didn’t meet my qualifications enough to that end, I would remain friends but never make any more physical contact than a hug here or there.” Before Kate and Luke married, they said, “We got into the habit of giving each other a brief hug coming and going sometime during the first year of dating.
It was good to acknowledge the way we cared for each other with something warmer than a ‘Hi.’ “It felt a bit stiff to us both as we grew to care for each other more, but anytime you are holding back feelings for the right time, things can feel awkward.
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(We started dating a year or more after we had known each other as friends with the understanding that we were potentially interested in marriage and wanted to spend time together to find out.) Luke asked me if he could hold my hand initially.
Looking back, it was a good thing, even though I questioned it at one point because it became a distraction for me for a short time—either wanting him to hold my hand, or having a difficult time reigning in my thoughts when he did.
Making a decision on the fly with no forethought is a recipe for going too far. Is it in our best interest to engage in these practices prior to marriage? For those who have adopted the standards of behavior endorsed by today’s entertainment industry, these are stupid questions.
In fact, they are non-questions—meaning they just aren’t asked.
To help you establish godly standards, consider the following advice given by a panel of young American Christians between the ages of 20 and 30. While the names are changed to preserve each person’s identity, the comments are genuine. is “ if you plan to marry him or her, when you both feel like the other is the right one for you.” Continuing, she said, “I wouldn’t hold hands with someone who I felt to be ‘just a date’ or someone I was mildly interested in, or even just plain had a crush on.
I think holding hands is a sign that ‘this is the one for me’ to all the world, and that is just not something I want to do with just anyone.” Bill, 28 and married to Sue, said that he didn’t have a rule about holding hands before he was married but realized that “those first thrilling physical touches when one is young can often open the door to premature intimacy and big life mistakes.” Continuing, he remarked, “If I could do it all over again, I would refrain from hand-holding until becoming engaged (and then make sure the engagement was brief enough so as to minimize any potential problems).
For Luke and me, hand-holding was a positive thing that physically manifested some of the feelings and ideas that we had already verbalized.” Once you become good friends with someone, it seems as though hugs become part of the way many people say good-bye before long intervals apart or hello when they reunite.
While the majority of this panel felt these kind of short hugs were appropriate, they did offer a few cautions about regular and lengthy hugging with the opposite sex. said, “I think the thing is, the longer two people of the opposite sex hug, the more tendency there would be to kiss.
Individual tolerances to holding hands or other touching may vary, so there’s no hard-and-fast rule.