Do you remember the song What the World Needs Now is Love ? It was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach in the mid sixties, and it rose quickly on the pop charts throughout the U.S. It struck a chord. The compelling words from the song that remain today in the minds of many are: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
We loved it then and still do because it speaks the truth. The world does need love. Because love is so sweet and so vital. The problem is, too many don’t know how to express it adequately. There are a million things we could say about how to express love, and many would be more important than the one we’re addressing today. Still we have learned that there is one single expression of love that is almost magical in its power to create loving feelings. It’s the kiss.
In our marriage firesides and seminars we promote and encourage kissing. We believe in it. The Lord believes in it. Check it out in the scriptures. Righteous people, including prophets, are kissing friends and family members throughout the written word. The Apostle Paul said, “Greet ye one another with a holy kiss.” (1 Cor. 16:20)
Leah and Rachel’s father Laban’s love for his family is obvious in this scripture: “And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them; and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.” (Gen. 31:55) Earlier in this account we read about the kiss Jacob gave his true love Rachel.
We all know the beautiful story of Naomi and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah. In Ruth 1:9-14 we read: “The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voice, and wept.” After a bit more dialogue the account says, “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother in law, but Ruth clave unto her.” The love in this family was evident and they didn’t hold back their kisses.
We see that Aaron kissed the prophet Moses, as found in Gen. 50:27: “And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him” (Exodus 4:27).
We all remember the touching scene in 3 Nephi 11:19 and 17:10 when the Savior appeared to the people of Nephi after his resurrection. “And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet.” Then later, “And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him, and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet…”
Another scripture puts emphasis on the kiss. In Moses 7:63: “And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their neceks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other.”
Devoted disciples of Christ kiss Him to express that devotion. And He seems to like it. We all know the story of the woman, a sinner, who came to Jesus when He was in the home of the Pharisee by the name of Simon. “[The woman] stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Simon was astonished and was critical of Jesus for allowing a sinner to do this.
His comment to Simon is priceless, “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.” In our vernacular it might be a akin to saying, “Hey, you’re out of line. Now let’s get one thing clear.” Then He taught him a parable, and gently reprimanded him when He said, “Thou gavest me no kiss; but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.” Because of her humility and loving gestures He forgave her sins. (Luke 7:38-45)
Christ isn’t present for us to kiss Him, but we are surrounded by His children. Remember, He said, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these . . . ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Kisses for Your Spouse
We remember attending a student firesides in the BYU Marriott Center several years ago. Elder James E. Faust and his wife were the speakers. After she spoke he quickly arose, stood by her and said, “Would you like to know the first time I kissed her?” Then he said, “It was on the night I asked her to marry me. And I’ve been making up for it ever since.” The audience loved it. He remarked that every couple makes that first-kiss decision for themselves, but for him, this worked out very well. The longevity of their loving marriage is a testimony of it. “Making up for it” obviously meant their life was filled with kisses for each other.
At a recent Relief Society conference in Green Bay , Wisconsin , we encouraged the sisters to greet their husbands each day after work with a kiss, not just a peck, but an honest-to-goodness I-love-you-to-the depths-of-my-soul kind of kiss. That puts him right on the top of your list of who matters most, and he’ll have no doubt about it. We encouraged them to kiss their husbands in the morning, in the evening, and after prayers together. We were absolutely on a kiss-your-honey band wagon. It’s missing from too many marriages, and that’s sad. Not only sad, but dangerous for a marriage.
A few weeks after the presentation we received a letter from the stake Relief Society president who had invited us to the conference. She wrote, “My good friend said the best thing she got from your talk was…THE KISS! She says she does it every morning and evening with her husband and it has changed her marriage! She says he’s actually listening to her now. Well, I guess she got his attention!” Incidently, it works both ways, husbands.
Kisses matter. Sometimes we will say to each other, “Hey, I haven’t had a kiss yet today.” and the other will say, “Now that you mention it, neither have I.” (Boy, that a better be the case!) And then, like Elder Faust, we make up for it. And it just feels good.
When we think of couples kissing it reminds us of a Family Circus cartoon by Bill Keane. It shows the mom and dad in the kitchen kissing each other with their little children watching from the other room and one of them is saying, “I feel all warm and happy when I see Mommy and Daddy kissing!” Remember, one of the greatest gift you can give your children is parents who love each other, and kissing reassures them that you do.
Kissing keeps a marriage fresh and fun and together. And if there’s anything the world needs now it examples of happy married people. We’re guessing that divorce rates would drop dramatically if husbands and wives would lovingly kiss each other every day. It keeps marriage alive.
Kisses for Your Kids
Hold your baby or grandbaby in your arms and just try not to kiss him or her. It’s not possible. These little ones are irresistible. Those little cheeks cry out to be kissed. That little bald head screams “kiss me.” Those little lips beg to have a loved one plant one on them. It takes will power to resist those little lips, but we keep that to a minimum because of germs, and mostly go for the cheeks and head.
And it’s so fun to kiss those little feet. Babies are just plain kissable, that’s all there is to it.
When your little children greet you after being separated for a few hours, they run to you and want to be hugged and kissed. It tells them all is well once again. And that you love them. So do it often, and enjoy it.
Even when they get bigger, they need kisses. Not quite as many, but they still need em. We were visiting our son and his family and what fun it was to be greeted by him, his wife and everyone of his five kids with a welcome kiss. Then that evening when the kids were going off to bed, the teenager said, “G’night.” and headed for his room. His mother said, “Get back here. You forgot something.” He knew what it was, came back and kissed his parents and us, and off he went to bed, smiling, and he left all of us smiling, too. These parents have done a good job teaching their kids that kissing the people who love you is important. When teenagers get a good amount of kisses at home, they’ll be less likely to go looking for kisses in ways that may get them into a heap of trouble.
Kisses for Your Friends
Some cultures have got this part down pat. When we spoke in Hawaii a few years ago people didn’t just hang leis around our necks, they hugged us and kissed our cheeks. We can’t remember feeling more loved than we did on that occasion. They were strangers who immediately became friends. Kisses do that.
We were recently at a book signing and an old friend we hadn’t seen for awhile came. Both he and his wife put their arms around us and kissed us on the cheek. These weren’t air kisses. They were smack on target. And it made us feel so loved by them.
We had a sweet experience at a two-day women’s conference recently. Because we spoke both days we had the chance to get to know these sister a little better than usual. They were very appreciative. One of the things that touched us most was that on the second day, because of our tight flight schedule, we had to leave right after our presentation, so the leaders arranged for the sisters to sing a hymn as we gathered our equipment and dashed away. As we turned to walk out of the chapel through the door by the stand, we turned to wave and threw them a kiss. Immediately the sisters responded and a multitude of sisters were throwing us kisses. Enough to make us cry.
We learned a few years earlier that even these kinds of kisses work. We were serving our mission and one of our assignments was to attend a United Nations meeting in Mexico City . We were there as a support to help share research on the importance of family values. Attendees were from many Latin American countries, and some European delegates came as well. Many were hostile against us and what we stood for. They were there, in part, to redefine marriage and the family. As we walked by a small group of women during a break they began shouting unkind words at us. We smiled and threw them kisses. They stopped the name calling immediately and some even threw us kisses back. Now that was a surprise. Yes, there is power in the kiss, in all its forms.
Recently a good friend was telling us about her son’s engagement. He and his girlfriend had been dating for some time and she was so hoping they would get married. Her son told his mother that he was going to propose and showed her the ring. She was thrilled. After the formal proposing took place her son brought his fianc home to share in the excitement. Our friend said, “I was so happy I just smooched all over her face! I love that girl.” We can only imagine what a sweet relationship this mother and future daughter-in-law will have.
Different Kinds of Kisses for Different People
There is only one caution we give. Be sure that kisses are appropriate. The romantic kisses are only for your spouse. Those are not the kind you give out to others. Friendship kisses are quick and sweet, and not the body-hugging type. Marriage kisses can linger as long as you want, and sometimes, the longer the better, as close to each other as you want to be, and sometimes, the closer the better.
Teach your children the difference in the kind of kisses given. Be sure your dating kids know that open mouth kisses are not appropriate before marriage. They are too intimate. Give them a demonstration of the right kind of pre-marital kiss-closed mouth kiss. If you don’t get specific they’ll likely follow the example they see in movies and on TV. Now that’s scary! And teach them to save their romantic kisses for the one they marry. Tell them about Elder Faust. In the meantime they can do the cheek kisses and throw a lot more. That’ll help keep them out of trouble. And then just pray a lot.
Keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul: “Greet ye one another with a holy kiss.” Remember, there is magical power in a kiss. Use them often and appropriately and life will be a little happier for you and the people you love.
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