Recently, while we were waiting at the hair salon I came across an article in Good Housekeeping magazine titled “Kiss in the Morning.” Gretchen Rubin spoke of and cited several others who spoke of the value of different ways to express affection. It reminded us of three of the things we promised each other on our honeymoon. First, we promised to kiss each other goodbye and hello whenever we parted for any length of time or came together after being separated. Second, we promised to say: “I love you” at least once each day. Thirdly we promised to fall asleep each day holding hands or at least touching each other. While we can’t say we have done this absolutely every time or every day those times we didn’t have been very few.
Our promise to kiss goodbye and hello has been a great way to show each other that s/he is important and to put each other first. It has been interesting through the years for what it has done to keep us connected and the impact it has had on others. Our children used to hang off Bob’s legs when they were small when he came home from work and he made his way to wherever I was in the house. He would kiss me and then he would pick them up and kiss and hug them. When we arrived separately at meetings or gatherings in the evening we evangelized marriage as others quickly learned that he would always kiss me first before greeting others. It was even more interesting when we worked together in the high school. We weren’t quite sure if we were actually saying goodbye to each other since our classrooms were just down the hall from each other, but I always kissed him as we parted outside his classroom and I went to mine. At first students were surprised, but they liked knowing that we loved each other. If he came into my classroom during the day they insisted that he kiss me goodbye before he left. It usually resulted in a lot of hooting and whistling. Even adults in the building began to expect us to do so. We believe that we were a good example of marriage for students and adults in the building. It may sound silly, but sometimes I have kissed Rita on my way out to mow the lawn or get the mail. Sometimes those are bit special because they are unexpected.
Saying I love you has been easy. Most of the time it follows a goodbye kiss. We say it at the end of phone conversations, or as we say goodnight to each other. When we are not physically together overnight or for a longer time we call each day to say:”I love you”. It is good that we started this before texting because our promise included saying it aloud, not merely writing it. While some days and times it is routine, I have never gotten tired of hearing Bob say the words. I usually say the words to Rita multiple times a day, but I make a mental check before going to sleep at night, and if I’m not sure, I say it one more time.
Finally, staying physically in touch as we fall asleep is a wonderful way to stay connected. Sometimes it has been in the joy and peacefulness of having made love. On other occasions it is a very real reminder that we are/were not in sync with each other. If I am upset with him or feel neglected or hurt, it takes a decision to reach out and touch or to allow him to touch me, but it has been and still is a wonderful way to draw us back together. Through most of our marriage I have gone to sleep before Bob does. Through many years he would come to bed with me and hold me or my hand as I fell asleep and then he would get up again. At other times he would lean over to kiss me when he came to bed. Sometimes that startled me so much that he has given up doing that. When we are in bed together as I put down my book or other reading material he always leans over to kiss me. If he is busy and comes to bed after I’m asleep I’m always aware of is his hand reaching out to touch me as he falls asleep. It has been very important to me to know that I’m important to him and that no matter what he is thinking of or doing he hasn’t forgotten me. We tend to sleep well apart in our king size bed, so sometimes I have to stretch or move toward the center a bit to reach her.
These three daily actions have done much to keep us aware of each other each day and to keep us from slipping into a routine that would allow us to drift apart. It keeps me aware every day that I am Number One with Rita, no matter what else is going on.
Did you make promises to each other on your honeymoon or when you were first married? How successful have you been at maintaining them? What have they done for your marriage? We would enjoy hearing about them.