Do you and your spouse argue more than you kiss? That seems to be the norm these days. Surveys show that the average married couple kisses four times a day and disagrees twice that often. And 1-in-5 couples go without kissing for as long as a week at a time. 

But the lack of affection can hurt your relationship. In fact, couples’ therapist Joel Block says it’s easy to strengthen you relationship just by kissing each other more often. That’s because kissing releases the brain’s bonding hormones dopamine and oxytocin. And holding a kiss for ten seconds instantly makes you feel more connected as a couple. 

And the benefits don’t end there. Kissing also lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which means locking lips with your sweetie helps both of you relax. And less tension means fewer disagreements. 

Plus other signs of affection can make you feel closer as a couple like lightly touching your partner on the arm or shoulder. Studies show that a gentle touch activates the part of the brain responsible for trust and affection. Which means, patting your partner’s shoulder while they’re paying bills at the kitchen table will help you both feel calmer and cared for and will put you in closer touch with the loving feelings that brought you together as a couple in the first place.