It’s officially November, which means my social media feeds are filling up with gratitude challenges. These challenges give us little ways to stretch the Thanksgiving season in a good way. They remind us to sit in our thankfulness a bit longer, to stop and smell the metaphorical roses God gives us, and maybe the thorns too.
When we are asked to go around the room and share what we are most thankful for, our marriages and families are nearly always at the top of our lists, after things like salvation and eternity. For most of us, families are a safe place where we can let our hair down, go a couple days without a shower, and be forgiven for words which came out too quickly, too harshly, or too grumpily. This is never truer than in the art of marriage.
Marriage equals one flesh, and sometimes one flesh can be a little too close for comfort.
Our spouse may get the best of us, because of this intimacy, but they likely get the worst of us also. Our most treasured relationship is the least likely to actually reap the benefits of our gratitude. If I struggle at work, my spouse generally gets an earful. If I burn the dinner, my spouse is the one who dials the pizza delivery guy and pats my back. If I am outraged at my child’s apparent complete lack of concern for authority, my spouse navigates through my spat-out words, heavy sighs, and bevy of opinions.
I can show my spouse I am grateful for their sacrifice, their care, and their presence, in many different ways and it’s good practice to:
Say thank you
Do nice things for them
Bring some flowers or good meat home
Plan a surprise date night
Eat at a table and make some conversation
Do some laundry
However, I want to give you one of the simplest and most profound ways to say thank you to your marriage and to your man/woman:
Kiss him more.
Whether physical touch is either of your love languages or not, kissing speaks intimacy. You can’t go around your workplace or church kissing people on the lips. If you kissed your neighbor people would think you had lost it. Kissing is reserved for very special relationships. Marriage is over-the-top special. Marriage is mystery-of-God special. When we kiss, we acknowledge the uniqueness of what God has given us in our marriage.
We know from God’s word marriage is a mystery and now we know from science that kissing speaks strange mystery into a marriage. We aren’t quite sure why kissing does what it does but it releases hormones which create bonding and attachment in our brains to the recipient of our affection. It reduces our stress levels by releasing other hormones. It triggers excitement and a lust for not only our partner, but life and living. I’m pretty sure all these gifts are from a God who knew what He was doing when He created lips, smiles, mouths, and even tongues.
Marriage researchers have also found that six-seconds is a kiss with promise.
Six seconds is a little longer than most of us are used to, I’d wager. I can’t think of anything that speaks gratitude so much as giving time, sacrificing what needs to be done for something as piddly in the world’s eyes as a kiss.
Kiss her more.
Kisses speak God-gifted mystery over a life committed to one another, which seems less than mysterious most days. Six-second kisses break the monotony of life and add passion to the day. Six-second kisses bring us to the now of the moment, rather than the to-do list of worries in our heads. Because they seem kind of long, they remind our spouse they are valued and treasured enough to tarry, a message our Savior brings to us on repeat, easily lost in our harsh and broken world.
I challenge you to try it:
Every day in this month of gratitude, share some thanks with your spouse with a six-second kiss.
Let them know there’s nothing attached to it, but pure gratitude, and if you end up lingering together longer for conversation or…something else, so be it. Either way, here is your Marriage Gratitude Challenge: bring on the kisses.
We want to spur one another on to gratitude in our marriage, and maybe a little spiciness. Anytime during the month of November tell us in the comments what makes you grateful for your spouse and you’ll be entered to win a random drawing for a copy of He Calls Me Loved.