Actions Speak Louder than Words An important part of dating is communicating. We communicate by sharing our thoughts, ideas, and feelings. We enjoy being with someone when we have an easy time communicating or when we have a lot to talk about.
All of us know how to communicate without using words. Some of our nonverbal communication speaks loud and clear. This is a common gesture of affection, but what does it communicate? What if you hold hands with your date? Then what are you saying? What do kisses mean, anyway? Hafen of the Seventy cautioned young adults to make sure their actions match their intent: 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. Because our expressions of affection send such powerful messages, they involve powerful feelings. In such a place you must be honest with yourself—and with your friend—about love and the expression of its symbols.
This kind of miscommunication often leads to hurt feelings and tears. Likewise, young women should not put young men in awkward or uncomfortable situations by their actions. They have an equal obligation to keep affection within appropriate bounds. Remember, before you are married, you will be more respected and more attractive for the affection you withhold than for the affection you give. Save Your Kisses While I am aware of no counsel on whether kissing should be reserved only for post-mission dating or courtship, I am aware of plenty of counsel concerning honesty in our actions and treating others with respect and kindness.
Casual attitudes about expressions of affection such as kissing can cause much grief and heartache. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble. What do kisses mean when given out like pretzels and robbed of sacredness? Kissing and other expressions of affection communicate powerful messages of commitment that others may believe and act on. Listen to the stinging rebuke: Judas used a symbol of affection as a tool of betrayal. We should not leave others feeling betrayed by our actions.
Another reason for being careful with our physical expressions of affection is that they can interfere with the development of a healthy long-term relationship, even marriage. Often such a couple ceases to explore the other significant dimensions of personality: Kissing for the sake of kissing invites more affection, and many fine young people become more deeply involved than they actually wish to be.
One wise bishop suggested that if young adults feel that their relationship is too physical, they should try spending the next two weeks without even holding hands to see if they still enjoy being together. The desire to be with someone, to spend time together, and to share affection is natural and God-given.
But the Lord has cautioned us to be careful, considerate, and honest not only in what we say but in what we do. When kisses are reserved only for those we respect, admire, and are committed to, they are much more meaningful and definitely worth waiting for. To learn more about dating, kissing, and showing love, read the following articles in the Gospel Library at www.