Sunday, 12 April 2015

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth

I have to confess something.  My wife is the only woman that I've kissed in romantic way.

I didn't plan it to be like that.  I got my Patriarchal Blessing when I was 16 and it said that 'in time' I would meet a select daughter of God take her to the temple to be married.  I lived in a small town with a small branch, no LDS girls my age within 50 miles and I was not interested in dating a non-LDS girl.  The closest I got to having a girlfriend before then was the time I had a crush on a girl that couldn't stand me.  It sounded to me like finding my future wife was way off in the distance.  I figured I would serve a mission, come home and move to the city, and then go through a number of relationships, but thanks to some divine intervention I hit the jackpot about 10 months after that blessing.

Still, I did have to wait.  She wasn't old enough to take on a double date when we met, and we took things slow.  Partly out of heading the caution of our church leaders, partly because it was a long distance relationship.  Her family moved evern further away the next year, then the year after that I left on a mission.  It was about 4 and a half years after we met that we finally knelt at a temple alter.

We didn't rush into kissing, but we didn't wait until we were married either.  A kiss can be so many things.  It can be a quick, casual peck on the cheek, a formal greeting, platonic affection (Acts 20:37), gallantry, worshipful devotion (Luke 7:38) or a passionate event.  It can also be an act of betrayal as it was with Judas or with anybody who give their affections to another outside the of their current relationship.  It can create arousal or revulsion, excitement or offense.

In a dating relationship, kissing is a serious thing.  It is the most physically intimate act a dating couple can participate in without crossing the line and it indicates a level or commitment that elevates the relationship above others.

My wife and I did not let our kisses become passionate until after we were engaged, and even then we limited those kinds of kisses to the times when we were saying goodbye for the evening.  There were times it took a lot of effort to pull myself away from her lips and perhaps that was unwise to risk that much temptation, but thankfully neither of us gave in and did something we shouldn't have.

My wife said many years later that she was glad we did that because it comforted her to know that she was able to have those kinds of feelings for the man she was about to marry.  We both felt passion and desire, but we had it bridled.  The wedding picture I love best is the one where her arms are around my neck, my hands on her waist holding her close.  Her eyes are closed and her head tilted back, lips slightly parted, surrendering to the kiss we are just about to share.  At the wedding reception we were both more than happy to osculate when the guests clinked the glasses.  We may have clinked them ourselves once or twice to get them started.

A strange thing happened however shortly after our wedding.  The kissing stopped.  There were still the quick hello/goodbye kisses, but not he passionate kissing done just to enjoy the intimacy of  kissing, not making out.  Passionate kissing was the canary in the coal mine; it's ending signaled the onset of all the challenges in our intimate relationship that marked the early years of our marriage.

My wife knew that during the engagement, kissing would only be kissing, but now that we were married she expected kissing would be seen by me as foreplay.  If she was not in the mood to have sex (and that was most of the time back then) then kissing was off the table too.

In the later years, when things in the bedroom were good but not great, kissing was still on the back burner.   It wasn't until we set out to make our intimate life as wonderful as the rest of our marriage that we even really addressed it, and addressing it made a big difference.

I'm sure that James did not have kissing in mind when he said "the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" (James 3:5) but there is still more than a little truth in taking it that way.  I don't think it is possible to reach the same level of passion in a marriage without kissing, as you can with it.

Not all kissing has to be foreplay though.  My wife and I always make a point sharing a meaningful kiss before we part or when we come back together.  Even when it's just her heading off to Relief Society and me heading off to Priesthood.  By meaningful I mean a tender and sweet kiss on the lips, done with deliberate affection.  Sometimes when we reunite after work the kiss is a little longer, or supplemented with a kiss on the neck or behind the ear while holding each other close. If one of us feels like giving the other a kiss, we share a kiss.  A small interruption to be reminded that you are loved is a nice thing.

How is the kissing going in your marriage?  When was the last time you gave your spouse a kiss that wasn't done just out of habit?   If you want to ramp things up, here are some ideas that might help:

Learn how you spouse wants to be kissed.  
Do they hate big sloppy kisses or do they not care, or even like that?  Does a kiss on the neck send shivers down their spine?  Talk with your spouse, find out what kinds of kisses they like and don't like, where they liked to be kissed on their body and even what locations or settings they want or don't want to be kissed in.  Something about being alone with my wife in an elevator makes me want to give her a nice long kiss. 

Develop good kissing skills
It's kind of up to your spouse what makes a kiss good, but it doesn't hurt to look around for ways to become a better kisser. There are a number of places online that go over kissing techniques, I'm not going to point you to any one in particular but if you Google 'How to kiss' you'll find a few places that will go over it.

Take your time
Practice makes perfect.  Setting aside time for kissing is a wonderful thing and it gives you both the chance to explore and communicate about what works and what doesn't.  Take a drive some evening out to some private spot and make out like teenagers.  Also take your time with the kiss itself, inside and outside the bedroom.  Make each kiss an intentional intimacy.  Now and then have a 15 second kiss when you both get home from work, or perhaps a 30 second kiss.

Be ready
The best thing to do is to brush your teeth regularly, and include brushing the surface of the tongue and roof of the mouth as well.  Carry breath mints if you need to.  Keeping the lips kiss ready is good too.  I carry a ChapStick with me all the time and use it a fair bit.

Don't attach strings to it
I mentioned before how my wife used to avoid kissing when she wasn't in the mood for sex.  She expected that one would have to include the other.   It's OK however to have kissing without an obligation to have sex as well.

If you are going to do that, it must be mutually understood and agreed to at the start.  If my wife indicates that sex is off the table but she is willing to engage in some kissing, we have a wonderful intimate time and I do not try and pressure her or seduce her into going further than she said she was willing to go.  This has been a real blessing in our marriage at those times when her health has temporarily put limits on what she can do.

Don't be ashamed of it
Go ahead, kiss in public, kiss in front of the kids, show up at your spouse's workplace and give them a kiss there, kiss at church, kiss in the Celestial Room of the temple.  Keep it appropriate for the setting, and be sensitive about any inhibitions you spouse may have not yet overcome, but never be afraid to express your love for each other with a loving kiss.

Kissing and kisses have been made the subject of many songs for a reason.  Little girls dream of getting a true love's kiss before they have any concept of sexual love and one kiss can sear itself into a person's memory for life.  It may seem like a small thing, but a renewal of kissing in your marriage could result in many other good things for the both of you.