PDAs for the Common Good

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We stood in my best friend’s kitchen.


I was chatting with her and I could feel him close behind me. I leaned back, just a bit. Reached a hand over my shoulder and on to his, as I nodded at her words. I tipped my head just a bit and felt his lips land, briefly and softly, on my hair. I must have smiled.


She stopped, her words drifting away. A grin split her lovely face and she said, simply:


“I love how the two of you are still in love. I love that I can see it.”


It embarrassed me, to be truthful. I may have flushed a bit, worried that I had just engaged in a PDA right there in our friends’ home. I hadn’t even thought about what we were doing, but I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable.


But I met her gaze and saw pure, unbothered joy reflected there. She meant it. Our affection for one another made her happy.


She went on to tell me about how so many of their friends were in unhappy marriages. Couples who failed to make it to their two-year anniversary. Those who were experimenting with “open marriages”. Some who complained bitterly about one another at every opportunity.


“But you guys… you guys have been married like five years more than us, and it just makes me feel good that you’re so solid.”


My best friend is utterly guileless. She is sweet and genuine and a total open book. People love her and trust her and her willingness to listen makes her a frequent target for all their venomous spewing about their other halves. She’s also sensitive and compassionate.


This is the first time I realized what a weight that is for her– how deeply it all impacts her. In trying to support their friends and acquaintances, she takes all this to heart. She prays for them, dwells on it, and feels the burden.


And, so, as I stood, leaning against my husband in her kitchen, it finally hit me how important that simple affection really is. Not just for him and me– though it is– but for others.


A part of me already knew it was valuable for our children, too. I want them to be able to take for granted that we love and cherish each other– of all the things they might worry about, I never want mommy and daddy’s love for one another to be on the list.


But maybe it’s good for other people, too. Those who aren’t inside the immediate family. Maybe it’s beneficial for other couples to witness that simple, enduring affection.


I’m certainly not advocating for making out in public. There’s a line between tender affection and intimacy better reserved for private times.


But I think about the older couples we see holding hands as they walk along. The parents of teenagers who sit on the beach, one arm slung around the others’ shoulders. The couples who greet one another with a hug that lingers, just barely, just enough that you realize how happy they are to be in one another’s arms.


I think those moments are good for the rest of us.


So don’t mind us when you see me rest my hand on my husband’s forearm as we sit side-by-side or he kisses my fingers before he releases my hand.


Apparently, I don’t even notice that we’re doing it.


But maybe that’s a good thing.

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4 comments to PDAs for the Common Good

  • Brava! I agree wholeheartedly. While it has been known to amuse our teenaged niece and nephews to wrinkle up their noses in mock horror at ‘Ewww, geezer lovin’!’ it was always obvious to us that they feel safe to tease in a place where love is an everyday and commonplace thing, not something reserved exclusively for behind closed doors. Most wise people of any age very quickly extrapolate from a polite PDA that they are in the company of people who, if it’s not already true, could potentially love *them* too and won’t close the doors on them. Genuine, happy affection so often lightens the lives of people even on its periphery, it’s a gift when we get to bask in it personally or simply by proximity. Carry on carrying on!

  • Yes! This is great. And my husband, I think, appreciates it when I show a little physical affection around other people, too. Makes him feel wanted. ;)

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