Monday, December 14, 2015

Kiss and tell...

When I leave the house, I kiss my husband goodbye. It doesn’t matter if I’ll be away all day or for a half-hour, we always part with a kiss. It’s not just any old kiss. No my-mind-is-on-other-things peck on the cheek.

The kisses we exchange are full-on, lips-pressed-together, arms-around-each-other expressions of affection. We do it because when you love someone, you want to show it. You want them to know how much you care. A true kiss given on the cusp of separation — even a brief parting — becomes a sensory-rich bookmark, a placeholder of memories until the return.

During this past year — the 45th year Ralph and I have been a couple — I’ve given much thought to togetherness. What are the threads that hold partners together? Why do some unions last while others unravel?

For more than four decades, my husband and I have lived and worked together. We’ve created businesses and carved homesteads out of our imagination as much as the wood, nails and screws that physically held them together. We’ve raised four children and welcomed four grandchildren into the world. We’ve had our share of highs as well as lows. The ebb and flow of our marriage is no different from anyone else’s. Difficult times have been endured, joyful ones savored.

Kisses help us connect with those memories. Each physical expression is a touchstone, a reminder of what’s important. While kisses alone can’t cement a relationship, they can help hold it together. Prioritizing physical contact is like sealing an envelope. It keeps important messages from falling out.

There’s a strong tendency in long-term relationships to take each other for granted. After a while, we stop listening to each other’s words and intimacy loses its immediacy. Even kissing — if done at all — becomes lackluster and boring.

Why let it? It doesn’t take much to rekindle a flame. Smoldering embers ignite when fanned with a bit of focused attention. Before long, there’s fire, a burning blaze to warm the heart.

Being mindful is important to me. I try to pay attention to nature and my surroundings. I make a point of slowing down and looking around as I go about my daily activities. I try not to miss the small things — the little flowers, the rustle of leaves — everyday wonders that can be so easily overlooked.

However, important as such awareness is, it can’t compare to the vital nature of my primary relationship. I want that relationship to be the best it can be. And so, I never leave the house without kissing my husband goodbye. I give him a loving kiss, and he gives me one back. After 45 years of sharing life, it’s our way of letting each other know how much we treasure our time together.

It’s just a kiss. A little thing. But little things matter. They matter a lot.


  1. My wife and I never part company without a kiss but also without saying I love you. It's another way of cementing things together as you reference Sherry. I often wake in the night for one reason or another. I never go back to sleep without touching my wife and telling her that I love her even though I know she often times does not hear me. It's a time to remind me as well as her of what we have to share together. Two wonderful boys many pets many Gardens thousands of meals thousands of evenings and oh yes thousands of those too. You may not be able to prevent losing your keys or your phone or even your house. But you can prevent losing your relationship. And it doesn't take it a great deal to keep a solid.