4. You take him to the land of no toilets.

So much of long-term love is risk. Such as, taking him to the land of no toilets, also known as the Sahara desert on the border between Libya and Tunisia (when the one thing he loves is plumbing, first thing in the morning). Or taking him to the land of your funny, crazy, machine-gun-loving cousins (when what he doesn't love are firearms). A trip of such obstacles is too much trouble to take without knowing the outcome beforehand. So, what you're really doing is taking him to a place that is far, far, far outside his comfort zone and showing him that you trust him to behave as if he were right at home—or to fake it sufficiently so that you two can get through the discomfort together.

5. The two of you hold hands during an ad hoc photography lecture.

Most of you have read how holding hands stimulates the release of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone). Such a natural chemical boost is wonderful—and certainly a reason to press palms together at a dinner party while the guy at the head of the table begins to refresh everyone's memory on the history of the photograph, starting with the invention of the process of taking a photo and continuing on to pixels. A little extra affection makes any snoozefest more endurable, after all. But if you find that you're holding hands not just during boring lectures, but also during boring TV shows and boring long drives to visit Aunt Penny, forget your body's biochemical response. The takeaway here is that holding hands is your default position. It's what the two of you do when you're not thinking—or overthinking—but instead are just being together

Still Points North

Leigh Newman is the deputy editor at and the author of Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown Up World, One Long Journey Home.

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