Recently I’ve read two fantastic books: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
Both books are brilliant and inspired me to try a little piece of advice from each. I’m shocked: a secret that Dr. Gottman shares, combined with Dr. Chapman’s philosophy, has totally increased the emotional and physical intimacy between my husband and me. And it only takes six seconds, once a day.
When your spouse comes home after being away at work, share a kiss for at least six seconds.
Dr. Gottman’s book has tons of tricks for building intimacy throughout the day. They range from prioritizing a fifteen-minute conversation before bed with your spouse, to simply kissing him for at least six seconds every day when you finish work. When I read this tip I thought, “aww, that’s cute. Maybe I’ll try it sometime.”
In The Five Love Languages, which I was reading simultaneously, Dr. Chapman argues that people express and receive love for one another in five different ways, or “languages.” Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. My husband Joshua’s love language is physical touch. Mine is not. I read this book and was reminded of the importance to love my spouse in his love language, so I decided to give Gottman’s six-second kiss a try.
I had no idea how much this would end up meaning to Joshua.
The first day I tried it, I knew what he was expecting when he came home from work: a quick peck followed by me putting our baby boy into his arms. When the kiss lasted longer, I felt his arms tighten around me and heard a very excited, “mmm!” from him. When the kiss ended Joshua just looked at me with wide eyes and said, “WOW! That was really nice!”
Six seconds. That isn’t even a fraction of all the seconds we have in a day!
Trying the six-second kiss reminded me that intimacy is so much more than what happens in the marriage bed. It’s what happens between spouses all throughout the day: a ten-second text just to say hi in the mid-morning, a thirty-second phone call to say “I love you” in the afternoon, a five-minute chat between getting home from work and rushing out to an exercise class. Intimacy is closeness with your spouse, no matter how it fits into your schedule.
It doesn’t matter if the baby is crying, the water is boiling, the timer is going off, or if you have to use the restroom. Six seconds isn’t going to kill, burn, or ruin anything. But it just might mean the world to your spouse.