Dec 112018 7 Responses

It’s the Last Kiss that Matters

Nearly everyone has a first kiss story. For most, they have more than one story–one about their first kiss and one about the first kiss they had with the person that is now their spouse. For me, the story is the same. The only person I’ve ever kissed is Jenny. (To read about our funny first kiss story, go HERE.)

It’s easy to downplay the first kiss, but it is important. Much can be determined about the future of a relationship by the circumstances of the first time lips connect. Not many couples have a bad first experience and a successful long-term relationship. In most situations, a bad start leads to a quick finish. Sure there are exceptions, but a bad first kiss makes a second less likely. And no relationship can last without a second kiss. (See: 5 Moments a Pastor Looks for at a Wedding)

While teenagers dream about their first kiss and old married couples reminisce on their story, there is another kiss which is rarely considered–the last kiss.

Every marriage is temporary. Even if it lasts for a lifetime it ends because our lives come to an end. Few people ever consider that a day will come in which they will kiss their spouse for the last time.

As a pastor, this is a reality of which I’m keenly aware. A unique aspect of my life is that I’m regularly present for a couple’s first and last kiss as husband and wife. The first is always given on my command, “You may now kiss your bride.” The last is often given as I quietly stand nearby in the hospital room, hospice ward, or at the funeral home.

Remember the Last Kiss

While I don’t want people to be morbid, it would be helpful if we considered our last kiss more often. The awareness that our lives are temporal and that these relationships are temporary, can greatly impact how we live. There is a lot of life that happens between the first and last kiss. When we live in remembrance that our marriages are fleeting, our priorities and values change.

Small fights stay small. Knowing that we have limited time, we put things into better perspective. A small fight should never be given more weight than it deserves. Disagreements happen. We can work through them.

Dangerous habits are seen as more dangerous. While irritations are more easily overlooked when we remember the last kiss is coming, threats to our love are taken more seriously. Because our time is short, we can’t engage in foolish behaviors or make choices which could deeply hurt one another. When a threat is recognized, it is quickly neutralized.

Minor differences are appreciated. Losing sight of the big picture, we are tempted to be irritated by minor differences. Yet when we remember what is to come, the minor differences aren’t just tolerated, they are often celebrated. While differences might frustrate at the moment, they strengthen a marriage over time. Remembering the big story empowers us to appreciate one another more.

Major blessings are recognized. The greatest gift that comes by considering our last kiss is a deep sense of appreciation for what we have been given in life. When we realize that at any moment, this kiss could be our last kiss, we have a deeper sense of gratitude for the days and years we have been given.

Two Types of Last Kisses

There are two types of last kisses. There is one which I regularly see and another for which I am almost never present. The first is the heart-wrenching, grief-stricken last kiss given as one spouse journeys from this world to the next. In some cases it’s given as a spouse slowly fades in the hospital bed. In other cases, it’s given in the midst of shock as the spouse lays in a casket. In both cases, it is a sorrowful time in which I’m often present. The heartache is palpable. Yet in nearly every case, I can almost feel the sense of honor and gratitude. As one spouse kisses the other goodbye, they are grateful for having loved and been loved.

Yet there is another type of last kiss for which I’m never present. When a relationship experiences an unnatural end, that couple kisses for the last time as well. Yet instead of being forced by the circumstances of life to see their connection end, one or both of them are choosing to end their marriage. Their last kiss is sometimes the last-ditch attempt to salvage love. For others, it is a masked affection as they are pretending to be something they are not. Whatever the case, the last kiss is also filled with tremendous sorrow, but the gratitude is missing. Instead, that kiss is defined by regret.

The Kiss Question

The question we must answer is simple–which kiss do you want?

I wish I could assure you that you could avoid a last kiss. How I would love to never have to say goodbye to my wife. Yet I know that a day will come in which one of us will kiss the other into eternity. Of that, we have no choice.

Yet we do have a choice of whether or not our last kiss is defined by grief and gratitude or grief and regret. Every day we make choices that will determine our future. While there are many things we can’t control, we do control whether or not we love one another on a consistent basis. As long as we do that well, we can avoid a last kiss filled with regret.

7 Responses to It’s the Last Kiss that Matters
  1. […] Knowing what might lie ahead necessitates three vital conversations that we must have now. Having th...

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