My husband and I make it a point to always kiss each other goodbye before we go our separate ways. At the front door, when he leaves for work and I’m carrying a crying baby in one arm and a clingy toddler in the other—no matter what the circumstance—we kiss each other goodbye.
Our friends cringe when they happen to be around to witness it. The youth we minister with pretend to look the other way or mock us, saying, “You’ve been friends for an eternity and married for ages. Stop it!”
They want to know—“Is it really necessary for an old married couple (oh come on, we’ve only been married seven years, guys!) to kiss goodbye?”
Yes, it is.
Let me tell you that there are mornings when a goodbye kiss is the last thing on my mind. Days when our toddler is screaming that her baby brother had just unravelled all the toilet paper (again), there is half-eaten breakfast cereal all over the table and floor, and I’ve just put away the last Lego block, only to see the husband place a mountain high pile of laundry on the sofa to be folded. And to top it all up, I barely got four hours of sleep the night before because the baby needed three night feeds.
Those are the days when giving my husband a goodbye kiss is nowhere on my agenda.
But there he is at the door, dressed in his formal wear, rushing out the door . . . and he motions me for a kiss. In my mind, there are 101 other things I have to do— rolling my eyes is probably top of that list—but I go and kiss him anyway.
You may ask me, “Why?”
The thing is, that might be the last time I ever see him again.
A few years ago, a girl friend of mine met someone on a short-term mission trip. Both felt individually called to a Southeast Asian country and decided to get married after dating for some time. They were blessed and commissioned by a local church and went through pre-marital counselling without a hitch.
Then three months after their wedding, we got news that her husband had died in a traffic accident and the funeral details were to follow. Barely 12 weeks to enjoy newly married life and he was gone—without an explanation, and without an opportunity to say goodbye.
Just like that, my dear friend became a widow.
This story has taught us that no quarrel can and should be allowed to supersede the love we have for one another. Between the love of my life and I, we have dozens of differences and hundreds of tiny little petty squabbles day in and day out. But these do not mean we love each other any less than the day we said “I do”.
When we first started living together as husband and wife, kissing each other goodbye at the door was something we decided to commit to. This, and a string of other “newlywed commitment statements” like promising to never let a quarrel fester overnight or to always make time for date nights even when we have kids.
They seemed sweet and idealistic at the time we penned them down together, but continually revisiting them throughout our marriage has served us well, especially during the rough times of newborn-induced sleep deprivation and stressful work seasons.
If anything, keeping to these promises as we bear with our differences have made us more and more aware of our individual fallenness and how much God has had to bear with us. More than that, it has taught us that it is truly only God’s love that binds us both in perfect unity—and keeps our marriage going.
As Paul says in Colossians 3:14:
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
So, this is why we continue to kiss our goodbyes every single day and every single time we part, regardless of whether we feel like it. Each time we do so, we are aware that it might be the last time we get to kiss each other goodbye.
But more importantly, in this way, we begin each day by choosing to love the other person more than ourselves, to lay aside our tiredness or self-interests to remind each other of what really matters. It may be just a quick kiss to some, but for us, it is a poignant reminder that we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).