February 2022 Relationship Challenge - Hugs and Kisses

In January of 2022 I got inspired to create a year long relationship challenge for myself. Each month there's a new intention or a challenge to explore. February is about hugs and kisses, but not just any hugs and kisses :)

It's 7 second kiss and deep, connecting hugs.

February challenge: Once a day! 1 long kiss and 1 beautiful hug. At least.

  • to practice a 4 deep breaths hug and a 7 second kiss once a day (what dr. Gottman calls rituals of connection )

  • to create moments of non-sexual intimacy and genuine connection between us

  • to be open to each other as lovers, not just partners and parents

One of the very common homework assignments I give to my couples is to focus on non-sexual intimacy. To find moments throughout your day to really connect with each other - through touch, or eye gazing, or sharing. If couples struggle with how things are in the bedroom, it’s common they drop any form of connection or touch. Creating those shared moments of intimacy, feeling seen and appreciated and held, it’s not gonna solve everything, but it sure helps.

The idea is to take time. We often rush - a kiss becomes a peck on the cheek, a hug - a pat on a shoulder. What happens when we slow down enough - the nervous system has a chance to relax, the heart opens, our breathing often gets synchronized, we feel like we are melting into each other. Two become one. You don’t know where you end and where your partner begins. Stress mets away. You feel home. You belong.

It’s a good place to be.

It also creates a sense of intimacy. You are not just roommates or parents or partners, you are lovers.

I’m not saying this in a sexual way. It doesn’t need to become foreplay or lead to more. It changes your intention and your energy - you are open to your partner as your lover.

Even if for a few moments, you shift from doing and into being. You switch from thinking of a to-do list, taking care of others, being a mom or a dad, and you are just you. Simply being.

In a way it’s a mindfulness practice. There’s no goal, it’s a journey, not a destination. What do you notice? Can you let go? Surrender? Can you quiet your mind? Even if just for a few seconds.

What was easy: Loving him. Especially in the beginning of the month, I felt giddy with excitement, deeply grateful for our connection. It felt very fun and very playful.

By the end of February it became too easy, and I started taking it for granted. It’s no longer challenging - but it’s giving me a lot of time to prepare for the next one. That one is going to be tough.

What was hard: It's so easy to forget when I’m with the kids. Some days are so busy and I’m so in the “mom” mode, I forget completely.

I have an easy solution for it - kiss before we fall asleep. We usually hug many times during the day, and I save kisses for the last.

One day I was so upset, I had no desire to kiss. Hugs felt ok, but intimacy like a kiss, it was a no. I wouldn’t just do it for the sake of a challenge. I honored my no, but my goal was to get right back on track the next day. It's the commitment to repair quickly and to not withhold intimacy.

What’s the best part about it: celebrating our partnership. Nurturing our connection. It's like watering plants. I have many at home and I love watering them and giving them love. I don't just do it once in a blue moon, I'm consistently there. This was the same - our love and connection also needs consistent, loving care.

What did I become aware of: That I'm so lucky! That it's so easy to become complacent and take things for granted. That every little effort makes a big difference.

What did I learn this month: That I can make a difference just by changing my own actions, that I don't need to wait for him. And when it happens by choice, not only there's no resentment, there's just joy.

What impact do I think it had: It's interesting for me to notice the impact on me - I'm happier, more content, definitely more connected, more playful and more joyful. My cup is full. We had another wonderful month.

What would I do differently next time: I'd have a more "challenging" challenge :) Which is exactly what next month is going to be. Oh dear. March is "no heck month". I will also make sure we continue to kiss like this and I'll keep making an effort to hug and connects - especially when it feels like an effort.