Can you imagine kissing your spouse for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a couple did just that in 2013. I’m betting that this couple wasn’t married with kids. They were probably dating or newlyweds at best. Kissing during that time is so passionate and romantic. Attractions are at their peak, so those hours of kissing feel like mere minutes. I know this was true for me. Before we were married, kissing my wife was thrilling, and we could go on and on…and on.
However, the longer our relationship lasted, the shorter our kisses became. In fact, kissing became routine. After all, who has time to make out passionately when we have a newborn and a soon to be three year old? Everyday is a battlefield, fighting against the forces of dishes, laundry, garbage, diapers, dinner, bath, feedings and more diapers… all this fueled on only a couple hours of unbroken sleep. Affectionate kissing is a passing thought and reduced to little pecks on the lips as we leave for work or say goodnight.
The question is…so what? Is there anything wrong with this? I still love my wife – maybe even more now than ever. So is kissing with passion like we did during dating important in a marriage? Or is it unnecessary and unrealistic the longer a marriage lasts?
Accordingly to really smart people, Oxford researchers did a study on 900 couples in the US and UK about their relationships and kissing. They asked the couples what made them happy in their relationships. They learned that couples tended to be happier when they kissed more often. The frequency and amount of kissing was directly correlated with the satisfaction of the couples more so than the amount of sex.
Why does kissing influence the happiness of the couples? The research didn’t have a definitive answer but there are many benefits of a kiss. Kissing reduces stress by releasing “happy chemicals” (oxytocin and endorphins) that relaxes your body and makes you feel good. Kissing also uses 30 muscles in your face and as a result, can reduce the signs of aging. How’s that for a perk!
Aside from all of that, here is my take. Maintaining passionate and romantic kissing in marriage is important because it creates a space and place for intimate, daily connection whereas sex may not occur as frequently. Kissing intimately allows you and your spouse to solely focus on each other – not the kids, not the never-ending to-do list – and just BE with one another.
Now of course, there are seasons in marriages and times where just sitting around and kissing is not a practical reality. And that is okay. But the point is connecting with your spouse in an intimate and loving way is always an important part of marriage regardless of how long you have been married.
So to this point, could you spare a minute a day? During our pre-marital counseling, our counselor shared his one-minute-a-day rule that has helped his marriage and many others. Everyday, he spends one minute looking into his wife’s eyes. No words. Just looking. Sound cheesy? Try it. It can be oddly unnerving and uncomfortably intimate if it has been awhile since you’ve connected with your spouse without any distractions…but also touching and deeply affirming.
The goal is to give the other person undivided attention for sixty seconds in a twenty four hour period. So often, we are running the race with our spouses, facing in the same direction but rarely pausing to just look at each other and really SEE the other person. The one-minute-a-day rule allows for the couple to stop running and very purposefully turn their attention toward each other to be present with each other. Kissing during or after that minute can add even more depth and connection. It also allows the spouses to reaffirm their vows to one another, and remind them to set aside other time to spend with each other.
With kids or other distractions, this may seem impossible and quite frankly, exhausting. But I encourage you to by making the committment to spend just one minute a day looking into your spouse’s eyes topped off with a kiss. This small act will pay huge dividends in your marriage and lead to greater marital bliss.