Of all the little expressions of love — such as a box of chocolates, a hand-written poem or a bouquet of wild flowers — my favorite is a good old-fashioned kiss. Whether it be our customary kiss when we greet each other after a day at work or a surprise smooch in line at the grocery store, I always feel loved when my husband, Les, initiates this simple act of affection.
Did you know the word kiss is thought to have originated from an Old English word that mimics the sound of kissing? However it originated and whoever named it really doesn't matter to me. I just know I like it. And why shouldn't I? Kisses, according to a Danish saying, are the messengers of love.
When it comes to public expressions of love, married couples have more than kisses in their nonverbal vocabulary. Holding hands is another favorite. It communicates affection, protection and comfort. Science has even shown that holding hands blunts the brain's response to threats of physical pain (as any couple going through a hospital ordeal can attest to).
Perhaps the loudest statement holding hands makes is to others. It communicates that you are a couple. Whether it's the simple grasp or the more intimate interlocking of fingers, holding hands is a great expression of love.
Even more intimacy is found in a hug. A warm embrace can be practiced publicly or privately without stigma. A hug can be an expression of support and comfort or of romance and devotion. Studies even indicate that frequently hugging your spouse can produce biological benefits, such as lowered blood pressure. But the greatest benefit of a hug is the feeling of acceptance and closeness it engenders.
So if it's been a little too long since these three common expressions of love — kissing, holding hands and hugging — have found their way into your daily marital routine, you may want to be a bit more intentional about renewing public displays of affection. These little connections throughout the day may be the most important expressions of love you don't say.
Based on research and experience from Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, Focus on the Family has created valid and reliable questions that evaluate the strength of your marriage. Take our free assessment now.