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.