The Eight-Second Kiss

Hey Friends:

(About one-third of the 52 chapters in my new book, The Newlywed Year, address issues common to the first year of marriage. Chapter titles include “Cutting the Apron Strings,” “Uncovering Unexpected Flaws in Your New Spouse,” “Establishing New Traditions,” “Bridezilla Repair,” “Division of Household Duties,” and so on. But most of the book delivers universal truths and stuff that’s pretty important for couples of all ages and experience. The following short chapter is one my favorites. And it works!)


Romance is a daily goal. Sex is not. As a matter of fact, couples should intentionally share romantic words and gestures that don’t lead to the bedroom. It’s a good practice for the forever relationship of married life.

Here’s the big idea. On one particular day in the not-too-distant future, sex will not be an option because one of you will be too tired, too busy, too distracted, or feeling blah or under the weather. Let’s all agree that’s OK. There will be days like that. What’s more, those days may come in bunches.

Still, on those days when sex is off the table, love, mutual appreciation, and even romance can still be front and center. Those feelings really should be an immutable part of your DNA as a committed married couple.

What to do? I challenge you to engage in a ten-day experiment called “the eight-second kiss.” It requires you and your spouse to kiss in the kitchen (or wherever) for eight seconds for ten days in a row. At the end of that ten-day experiment, I encourage you to keep it going ad infinitum. Couples who have taken this advice and reported back give high marks to the eight-second kiss.

The daily eight-second kiss is one of my greatest inspirations. What does it have to do with those days when one of you is not in the mood? Everything.

When couples are not in sync physically, the risk is that one of you may feel rejected and unloved and the other guilty and pressured. Those are four harsh words that need to be erased from your marriage. The eight-second kiss is a powerful tool for eliminating all feelings of rejection and guilt. The pressure is gone; the love is evident.

Do it every day—not as a chore or obligation—and you’ll build a level of trust that leads to great sex at the right time for both of you.

Finally, to successfully adapt the eight-second kiss strategy you will want to consider the following kissing tips: Don’t hold your breath for eight seconds. Hold your beloved’s face in your hands. Look in their eyes. Maybe brush the hair from their cheeks (like in the movies.) Tilt your heads slightly. Don’t get sloppy, but come together almost until you can feel each other’s pulse.

You may want to grab your sweetheart and try it right now.

(Excerpt from The Newlywed Year, Chronicle Books, 2021.)

IDEA: If you have any weddings coming up in the next year or so, grab a few copies now. The day before the wedding, jot some well-wishes inside the front cover, tuck in a check or dead president as a bookmark, and gift wrap the book. It’s so much better than a disposable card or clicking on a boring bridal registry.

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