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The First Step to Becoming more Present in our Relationships

She had sipped the last of her honey-sweetened coffee and closed her MacBook when suddenly, she felt his hand push her hair to the side and his lips brush the back of her neck.

They felt warm and soft compared to his rough, unshaven face. Gently sucking her skin, he lingered as his fingers moved up the back of her head and across her scalp, kneading and pulling—messing up her hair. She could feel the rise and fall of his chest against her back before his lips slowly moved to her bare shoulder, and in his presence she felt discovered again, like the first time.

Remembering this, she smiled as she secretly felt the warm expression of her love against the conference room chair. He was now 2,000 miles away, but she could still smell his cologne. He hadn’t said “Have a good flight,” or “I’ll miss you, Baby.”

He didn’t need to.

It can be a bit overwhelming: all the blogs, books, and seminars explaining how to rekindle or maintain passion in a marriage or a long-term relationship. There’s more than a few relationship “gurus” out there. To paraphrase a few, one would tell you to first devote yourself to pursuing your life purpose and let the rest fall into place—lead and he or she will follow. Another will suggest that you give a woman room to be feminine by offering the strength and steadiness of your masculine energy—find passion through polarity. Still another might say that you should play around the edges of your boundaries—feed passion with discomfort.

I can’t argue with any of these. I think it’s all good advice, and if you’re open and introspective, you can keep that flame burning.

But where do you start when there’s so much advice to choose from?

I’m not a relationship guru. I’ve neither the expertise nor resume to offer anyone relationship advice, but clearly, one doesn’t need a license to do so. If you come up with some clever sh*t, people will listen. Package it right, and they will follow. It’s really hard to sort out the bullsh*t, and in the end you have to trust your heart.

But this—what I’m about to say—I truly believe. It’s not a path; it’s only the first step.

The next time you leave the one you love, just before one of you walks out the door or gets out of the car, do this. It’s the one thing that every man in a relationship must do. Do it and she will be distracted with thoughts of you, distracted until the next time she sees you.

Kiss her.

No, I don’t mean kiss her the way you always kiss her. Not the way two people kiss after they’ve been together for a long time, quickly on the mouth or cheek as a routine or an emotionless ritual. Not the way you kiss when you’re in a hurry to get out the door. Never over the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in your hand, and not the way you kiss in front of the kids.

I mean kiss her as if nothing else exists in the world; like it’s the first time and the last.

Kiss her with your eyes, and your hands, and your chest, and your mouth.

Kiss her with the soft pressure of your hips against hers.

Kiss her with fierceness and softness.

But mostly, kiss her with your consciousness.

You see, it’s not your lips that will move her. It’s your presence. It’s that you have turned everything on, all of your senses and your awareness, and you are focused entirely on her—even if it’s just for a moment. When a woman says to her girlfriends, “He’s a great kisser,” what she means (whether she knows it or not) is that he was fully present, and that, in his arms, she felt she was the most important person in the world.

Ultimately, for a relationship to flourish, you need to become fully present whenever you’re together. But learning that can take time. Go to the gurus, read those books, or hire a relationship coach. But kissing her, every day with your fullest attention, is your first step, and by doing so you can make an immediate and positive change.

When you do it every day, it becomes habit. Not habit in the way that you say, “Love ya” as you rush out the door. I mean habit in the way that it becomes instinctive.

So how do I kiss her like that, you ask?

First, stop what you’re doing. Hang up the phone and put it out of sight. Shut the laptop. If something’s in your hand—a briefcase or a cup of coffee—put it down. If you’re in the car, turn off the engine.

Next, take a slow, deep breath and clear your mind of everything except her. Look at her. Breathe in her scent. Notice the curve of her lips, a fleck of color in her eyes. Notice something that you love about her, something unique.

Now let your body and your heart fill with love. Let them fill with lust.

Filling your heart may be an abstract concept. If it is, then try this: Breathe deep and slow as you relax the core of your body. Remember how you felt when you kissed her for the first time, or think about the last time you had sex with her. Remember how you felt when she was away and you were missing her. Now visualize that feeling as energy filling your body. Visualize the energy filling your heart.

Now…kiss her.

It doesn’t matter where you kiss her: on her mouth, her neck, each of her fingers, her wrist. It doesn’t matter if it’s firm or soft, wet or dry. What matters is that you kiss her with your full attention—your total, complete presence. This is what I mean when I say, “Kiss her with your consciousness.”

And when you kiss her, do it with more than your lips. Kiss her with your body. Run your hands through her hair or hold her shoulders. Interlace your fingers with hers. If there’s a wall, gently push her against it and press your hips into her hips. If she’s in a chair, come up behind her and kiss the back of her neck. Get creative.

Visualize the energy you felt in your heart flowing into her, as if you’re moving into her. Trust me, she will feel it.

After you kiss her, you don’t need to say anything. You’ve already said it.

Now here’s the important part: You have to do it again tomorrow. And the next day. In fact, kiss her every day—forever. If you’re only dating, then kiss her every time you leave her. Do it right before you go your separate ways, as she’s leaving for work or just before you walk out the door.

If you’re arguing, then you really need to kiss her. Don’t ever let her get on a plane without kissing her like it is the last time you will ever kiss her. Do this and you will leave her wet, literally and figuratively. She will carry your presence inside her. It will distract her. It will make her smile.

Now imagine what your relationship could be if she felt this way each day.

Routine is the slow death of passion. As we multitask our jobs, bills, and kids, fly-by affection becomes quick and easy. And although there is a place for the quick peck on the cheek, you cannot let it replace the slow, soft kiss that shows her nothing else in the world is worth interrupting your current attention on her.

The reason why sex on the kitchen floor or on the back patio is so great is not because the hard, ceramic tiles are easy on the knees, it is because in fully-present sex you don’t care where you’re f*cking, and by not caring, you are saying that having sex with her is more important than anything else in the world. You need to bring the same attitude to your kiss, and ultimately to every moment of your relationship. I don’t mean suffocate her with your attention. I mean be fully present with her.

This is your first step. It’s something you can remember to do every time you part ways. In time, you will learn to be fully present whenever she is by your side. It’s what she deserves. It’s the one thing that every man in a relationship must do.

Now go kiss her—kiss her with your consciousness.

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