“I came up from behind, put my arms around Mel, turned her around, and did one of those dramatic dip kisses. She laughed a little as I pulled her back up. It was then that I could feel someone watching us. To our right was our 12 year old son, and he might as well have been looking at a car accident, his mouth open aghast.
Mel and I have never had a formal discussion on why we are affectionate around our children, so I can’t speak for why she does it. But I’ll tell you why I do it. My parents went through a nasty divorce. I can’t remember my parents saying, ‘I love you.’ I can’t remember them going out on dates, or my father bringing home flowers, or them going away for the weekend. Mostly I remember them fighting, and I don’t want to set that example for my children.
I want them to go into a marriage expecting healthy affection. I tell Mel I love her every day, and she says it back to me. We hold hands in front of the kids. I take my children with me to buy flowers for their mother. I talk to them about how important this sort of action is in a relationship.
More than anything, I’m trying to give them the example that I didn’t have. I want them to understand that love is a verb, shown through actions and words. I want them to expect affection from the person they love, and I want them to feel comfortable freely showing their affection. I think this may be one of the most important lessons you can teach your children about marriage.
When Tristan watched Mel and I kiss in the kitchen; we didn’t explain ourselves. We didn’t tell him to get over it, or anything like that. Instead, I came around the right side of the table, and Mel came around from the left. We cried in unison, ‘Hug sandwich!’
Mel and I smashed him between us. He tried pushing us away, acting like he wasn’t enjoying all this affection coming from his doting parents. Then he went slack, and after a moment, he wrapped his arms around both of us.”
This story was written by Clint Edwards and is an abridged chapter from Clint’s hilarious new book Silence is a Scary Sound: And Other Stories on Living Through the Terrible Twos and Threes. His new book can be found here. Follow Clint on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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