The Importance of Kissing – Free Ebook

One of the constantly surprising aspects of
relationships is just how much reassurance

we need to believe that we are actively wanted
– and, equally, how easy it is to forget

this awkward fact both about ourselves and
the other person. The standard narrative of

love tells us that insecurity about being
wanted is going to be at its height at the

start of the dating period, when we are acutely
– and rather sweetly – conscious of the

many ways in which our partner might not be
keen on taking things further. But, we assume,

once a relationship has started, once there
might be children, a home and an established

pattern of life, then surely the fear of being
unwanted should disappear.

But far from it. The fear of being unwanted continues

every day. There could always be new threats
to love’s integrity. Just because we were

loved yesterday does not ensure a sense that
we will be needed today. More perniciously,

if a fear is left to fester, it can lead us
to adopt a defensive position where, because

we assume we are unwanted, we start to behave
in a cold and detached way, which encourages

the partner to act likewise. Two people who
are, at heart, very well disposed towards

one another can end up in a cycle of each
denying that they need the other, because

they cautiously and pre-emptively assume that
the other person no longer wants them. In

order to try to calm these fears and cycles
of unwarranted detachment, we should be sure

to institute an apparently small but in fact
crucial ritual into our lives: a morning and

evening kiss. Every morning, before parting,
no matter how much in a rush we both are,

we should give one another a proper kiss on
the lips, for at least seven seconds which

is – in reality – a very strangely long
time. Lean in close together, don’t think

about the many things you have to do in the
hours ahead. Simply concentrate on the sensation

of their mouth on yours, feel your nose against
their skin. Don’t break off abruptly at

the end: keep looking at each other for another
few moments and give a smile. The same should

be repeated every evening at the point of
return. When we kiss we are tapping into a

central channel of emotional connection. Intimate
physical contact affects us in a way that’s

both distinct from, and in many ways superior
to, words or ideas. We are sensuous creatures

to at least the same degree as we are rational
ones: a smile or a caress can therefore reassure

us far more deeply than can an eloquent phrase
or a well-articulated fact (‘of course I

love you…’). As babies we were soothed
by touch long before we could understand language,

and we therefore continue to need physical
contact to believe, truly to believe, that

we have a place in another’s life. Normally
a kiss follows from a tender feeling: we have

an emotion first and then we express it. But
there’s another way our minds can work,

a way in which a feeling follows from an action.
The morning and evening kiss should hence

come first, independently of whether or not
there is as yet a tender emotion. But then,

almost for certain, if we go through with
the kiss, the emotion will occur (it’s very

hard to kiss and feel nothing). We may need
to make that rather odd-sounding move in love:

a small effort. The morning and evening kiss
should be a ritual. A central feature of rituals

is that we do them whether we feel like doing
them or not. The kiss should take place even

if you’ve just had a rather sarcastic argument
or if you are racing to an important early

meeting – or if you are feeling resentful.
Better feelings will follow from it. When leaving

the house and heading to the station, we should
no longer only ask whether we have remembered

the keys or the report. We should always ask
ourselves if we have done a far more crucial

and love-sustaining thing: exchanged a seven
second kiss.

Our Relationships Reboot Cards inspire conversations that can help to rekindle love between you and your partner.