When you were first married, you kissed your spouse more often (and for much longer) than you do now.
You need to read this brief article, and then be willing to carry out your sentence for these crimes...
If you have not yet been married for at least one year, this article will be confusing and hard to follow. Please wait to read this until you are no longer a newlywed.
You are busy. You have many responsibilities at home and in your community. You have children, a job ... You are often tired. And, when you and your spouse are reunited, you quickly peck on the lips as you speed through your hectic schedules.
Your marriage needs physical affection. It is true that physical intimacy is just one of many aspects of a happy marriage. Yet in all my years studying, teaching, and observing marriage, I've consistently found that, for those who truly want to experience marital bliss, physical intimacy is not optional.
Dr. John Gottman, PhD and renowned marriage researcher, has studied marriage for decades. Dr. Gottman frequently emphasizes the importance of connecting with one's spouse during times of departure (leaving for work, falling asleep, etc) and times of reunion (returning from work, waking up in the morning ... you get the idea). How does he recommend connecting with your spouse?
A six-second kiss.
Kissing releases oxytocin (the same hormone that is, in part, responsible for the connection and comfort that breastfeeding mothers share with their babies). This hormone also helps husbands and wives bond more as they ... drum roll please ... kiss more!
But why six seconds? According to Gottman, this kiss is "long enough to feel romantic," but it doesn't make the kids late for school.
So, kiss as you separate, and kiss when you are reunited. That's two kisses, folks. Six seconds apiece. Twelve seconds total (though more kissing is certainly welcome). It will do wonders for your marriage!
My wife and I have been practicing the six-second kiss for a while now (I told her it was research for a future article). Though we certainly enjoy the occasional kiss without our children near, with five energetic kids often hovering near their mother, my "goodbye" and "I'm home" kisses often have an audience. For years, this show of affection has been met with loud resistance from our oldest son (now 11). And, of course, being the sympathetic parents we are, we've begun to either call his attention before we kiss or prolong our kisses when he complains.
On a more serious note, children really do crave the security of knowing that mom and dad love each other — and knowing that mom and dad enjoy kissing is one way to provide such assurance. So, you have permission to gross your kids out. It's good for you. And it's good for them.
Alright, now it is time for the most enjoyable sentencing you'll ever be given. Your assignment is to kiss your spouse for at least six seconds, two different times during each day. Try this for at least one week.
When you see the magic that happens in your own marriage, you'll want to pass the word along to your married friends — chances are, they need to be kissing more too.
This article was originally published on familygoodthings.com. It has been republished here, with permission.
Rob Stewart has taught marriage classes at BYU-Idaho for the last decade and is a co-founder and contributor at familygoodthings.com. He is also the author of the popular new eBook "3 Things You Can Do Today to Create a Ridiculously Happy Marriage."