A few weeks before my wedding, an old college buddy of mine invited me out for a drink to take the edge off. I wasn’t all that close to him (he wasn’t invited to the wedding, which was out of town and small), but he wanted, for whatever reason, to help me cross the marital threshold in style, and I appreciated that. We had a good time, dredging up dumb jokes and old stories, and I think we both kind of sensed that we wouldn’t see one another that often after that — not because of ill will, but because of life. Sensing this, as we waited for the check, he seized the moment and offered me a simple piece of council: No matter what, don’t forget to make out with your wife.
I laughed it off. After all, this was a guy whose pearls of wisdom were: “Don’t watch Die Hard more than three times a year because you’ll ruin the fun” and “Be careful of women whose first names have too many consonants.” Also, what the hell? Why would you tell someone to make out? It’s a deeply strange thing to say anytime, let alone as an instruction passed between adult men. It even sounded weird. Plus, in my pre-wedding state, I thought: Adults don’t make out; adults have things to do, like paying bills or arranging cheese on marble slats or yelling at stupid teens for making out.
“Just keep it in mind, man,” he said, a bit wounded by my obvious skepticism. “It’s important.”
I got married and the years have passed. I’ve only seen this guy a handful of times since that night, but I’ve thought about his odd advice a lot, especially given that I can’t recall what my groomsmen told me on my wedding day or even what wisdom my dad passed on.
Thing is, the guy was right. It’s important to make out with your partner, not just to kiss, but make out with in the most clichéd teen-drama sense of the word. For, like, 10 minutes. Not because it leads to sex although it sometimes does. But because pressing your lips to another’s for extended periods of time sends Morse code back to who you were before, when you were young and in love and all you wanted to do was feel their lips on yours. And, as the film of life snaps over the reel, little things like this are really fucking important.
Seriously, when was the last time you made out with your spouse? Like really made out? Think about it. When was the last time you pulled your partner into your arms on the sidewalk or in a car or in the hallway in the morning before you leave for work and kissed them long and hard? Chances are, not that recently. Because life gets in the way. And that’s why you should do it. In public or private – whatever gets your goat or whatever farm-animal-phrase you prefer. Just do it.
Sure, kissing has a bunch of proven stress relieving, heart-assisting, connection-strengthening benefits. And that’s a nice bonus. But the real reason to do it is because it needs to be done. Because it’s good to remain ravenous for someone in that youthful way you did when you were first dating; when what you cared about weren’t bottle warmers and work emails, but happy hour specials and stupid conversations about Die Hard. When you were so in love with someone you wanted to inhale them whole.
And so, I keep it in mind and I try to put it in practice because that’s what, I think, my friend was trying to say. Who knows? He’s a weird dude.
The other night my wife and I were watching some rerun of some show on Netflix. It doesn’t matter what it was, and I don’t want to distract you with our tastes. All you should know was that it was a weeknight and we were both zonked from a long day of, well, living. But instead of sinking into the evening and making it like every other evening, I put an arm around her, looked her in the eye, and went in for the make out. I was nervous in that same will-she-won’t-she? way of my younger days, only this will-she-won’t-she is now will-she-give-me-the-death-stare-because-I-just-ate-a-taco-after-brushing-my teeth-or-won’t-she? It’s funny how things flip, isn’t it? But my wife was game. And we sat on the couch for 10 minutes, like two people who just wanted to kiss one another. It didn’t lead to anything more. We both laughed, said we were tired, brushed our teeth (me, again), and went to bed.
Before the teeth-brushing, when we pulled away, we looked at one another in what seemed to be a slightly different light, under the glow of which we were looking at one another the way we did when we were young. Could it have been the oxytocin? Sure. Could it have been the wine we had earlier? Yeah. But it doesn’t matter. Just don’t forget to make out with your wife. It’s as simple and as profound as you want it to be.
Have I prescribed too much meaning to my friend’s strange advice? Probably. But he was right about Die Hard, and he was right about this. Sometimes you just don’t want to ruin the fun.