Physical Touch

9 May

One of the first things my husband and I did in marriage therapy was discover our primary “love languages.”  The idea comes from the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  I’m not going to go through all of the love languages here because there are a lot of other people who have already done that much better than I could.  Feel free to check out the link and the book because I do think it is useful information.

Back to my point…  During our counseling session I discovered that my husband’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation followed by Physical Touch.  It wasn’t exactly a revelation to me.  The marriage counselor explained the 5 love languages first, then asked us to guess at what our spouse’s primary and secondary love languages were.  Surprisingly, I got his primary and secondary love language right and he got my love languages (Quality Time and Acts of Service) right.  Physical Touch doesn’t rank at the top of my list, but when I look the Love Languages quiz I found that it is my #3 love language.

Over the past couple of days I have seen a few things about the importance of touch.  Today I thought I would share some of my thoughts on why touch is so important to a relationship.  Several people on the forum have posted about some of the things their marriage lost even before they knew about their spouse’s affair.  Physical touch was one of the first things to go.  By physical touch I don’t just mean sexual encounters, but every type of intimate touch – from holding hands to hugs and kisses.

Those are the types of physical touch that mean the most to me.  It is part of the comfort of being in a relationship.  Knowing that I can come home after a long day and have my husband wrap me in his arms makes me feel loved and safe.  I still find it incredibly romantic when we hold hands in the car or walking down the street.  Simply sitting next to each other so that our bodies are touching while we watch TV or a movie is strangely intimate.  I also love it when he runs his hands through my hair or rubs his nose against mine (an act we call “snuzzling”).

I think that a lot of couples forget the simple pleasure of kissing and “making out” away from the context of sex.  Our lips are one of the most sensitive areas on our bodies.  There is a good reason that we feel a rush the first time we kiss someone.  Physical touch increases the hormone oxytocin and makes couples feel closer.  Kisses can also convey many different emotions, so you can truly understand what the other person is thinking.  There is the sweet and sensitive kiss, the affectionate peck, the kiss hello and goodbye, and those oh-so-passionate, I-want-you-NOW kisses.

Small touches and kisses can definitely turn into something much more.  Touching can help you find that little flicker.  Then you can increase that little flicker until it becomes a burning flame.  My skin still tingles when my husband runs his fingers down my arm.  And don’t get me started on his massages!  Not only does a good foot massage melt away the stress of the day, it also makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  Those tingles I was talking about earlier?  They migrate to all the right places.  It reminds me of the song Bubbly by Colbie Caillat.

I firmly believe that connecting physically allows couples to reconnect emotionally, too.  It is easy to get distracted by all of the craziness in the world – by your job, responsibilities, bills, kids (for those that have them), and all of the mundane tasks of the day (dishes, laundry, paperwork, grocery shopping, and the list goes on…).  Touching helps you remember what attracted you to your partner in the first place.  It can bring back those butterflies in your stomach even years into a relationship.  For all of those reasons, I am going to make physical touch more of a priority every day.


15 Responses to “Physical Touch”

  1. emotional tornado July 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    For someone whose love language is touch, being separated is hard. I am the one who snuggles no matter how hot it is in bed and is always leaning on him or touching feet when watching tv. I am completely starved.

  2. kickasswife May 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Hey thanks for the link back. Great post as well! Physical touch is my primary love language, and it is so vital and meaningful to all relationships!

    • beautifulmess7 May 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      It really is! I was a little surprised at first, but once I really started thinking about it I realized that physical touch means so much more than just sex. It is tied to almost every emotion.

  3. A Dog With Fleas May 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more about this. To me, physical touching can be even more intimate then sex because it still shows a very strong connection you have to your partner.

    I agree that there is nothing better than just holding hands watching television or some other kind of physical touching throughout the day.
    Every couple should read this post since it is the little things like this that I believe can sustain a relationship. Kudos to you!!

    • beautifulmess7 May 11, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      I agree with you completely on the intimacy thing. It can be much more intimate to just touch your mate and show affection outside of sex. I’m glad that you liked my perspective. 🙂

  4. ifhappyeverafterdidexist May 10, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    HA HA, that went under my other user name. I’m thinking of transferring my blog over to wordpress.

    • beautifulmess7 May 10, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks for the info! And I am a big fan of WordPress. I am lucky that I started here first. It is really because I have a friend who uses WordPress and I really liked his blog. He inspired me to start writing. Once I checked out this site I was really impressed.

  5. ifhappyeverafterdidexist May 10, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Marriage Builders is the website, but the books are:

    His Needs, Her Needs
    Fall in Love, Stay in Love
    Love Busters

    All by Willard Harley, Jr. and ALL are excellent for marriage recovery.

    I also read How to Survive and Affair right after DDay.

  6. Samantha Baker May 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    I have this book, but I haven’t read it yet. I think, probably because we started off with Marriage Builders and we read His Needs, Her Needs, which is similar but different. It talks about emotional needs (10) but ranking your top 5. We did the worksheets for HNHN as well. My husband lists affection (physical touch) as his top need.

    I read the post about kissing, and we actually discussed this the other night (you and I really need to get out of each others heads you know). I brought it up to him, because we really lost kissing for awhile. More on my part than his. He even mentioned it to me, on several occassions. He thought I didn’t want to kiss him because I didn’t love him anymore, or I was digusted by him, or, well I’m not sure of all the reasons that he though. The reality though, was that we had lost our emotional connection, but I didn’t know how to put that into words. And for me, I need emotional intimacy to kiss. And now that we’ve gotten that back, the kissing has come back naturally. So when I said this to him the other night, he was able to understand my meaning behind it. He got the connection, completely. I don’t even have to try or remind myself to kiss him, it’s just there. I want it. I need it again. Before, when that connection was gone, the kissing just died with it.

    He’s very touchy feely. Loves to hold hands (even when just watching TV). Even in his sleep, he has to touch me, with just maybe a foot (I like my space when I sleep). It’s been somewhat of a struggle at times for me to allow myself to get close to him again, but I try to remember, this is a need for him, this is his way of feeling love.

    And I hear you on the foot massage!!!

    • beautifulmess7 May 10, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      We really do need to get out of each other’s heads! 🙂 It is funny how similar people can be who have never met.

      I think before we talked about it in therapy our affection had died down, too. I definitely can remember when we first started dating how hard it was to keep our hands off of each other. I know that kind of lust dies down in a long-term relationship, but not to the extent it did for us. All of the revelations and lies really did take their toll on how emotionally close I felt to him. And that definitely carried over into how much we kissed and touched. It’s hard to be vulnerable, intimate, and loving to someone who you feel you can’t fully trust.

      As far as how close he likes to be – what you described is my husband to a T. He even does the foot touching my leg at night thing. I’m more like you, though – when I sleep I like my space. Being alone in a king-sized bed with room to stretch out sounds like heaven to me. Now that I understand that is his way of expressing and feeling love it makes it easier for me to fill that need. Especially since I am getting my needs met for emotional connection, quality time, and real conversation.

      We have not read Marriage Builders or His Needs, Her Needs. I will have to look into them. I like knowledge, and it definitely helps a marriage when you know yourself and your spouse better.

  7. Ben May 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Kudos to you for recognizing that touch is the number 1 language of love for your husband, and making it more of a priority! And thanks to the link back to my own post about affectionate touching and contact, it is definitely something important to me… in fact, I was recently talking with someone about how important it is to me to raise both my kids to be extremely affectionate people, both my daughter and son, so that they will hopefully grow up to find affectionate mates. No matter the circumstances, how the day’s gone, how stressful or crowded or how little time there is, there’s always the time and place for a touch that says “I love you.”

    • beautifulmess7 May 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      As I was writing this that post of yours came to my mind. I remember thinking then that you are so right – showing affection is very important. I have always been a fan of PDAs myself. Not the gross kind, but the little ways of showing the world that you are “taken,” in love, and enjoying life.

      Hearing that touch is important for my husband brought back my own feelings about the importance of being affectionate. It really is the little things that add up to big things over time.


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