Why You Need To Touch Your Spouse More

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Manage episode 248322771 series 1315615
By Caleb & Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele and Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Physical touch is an important way to keep the emotions of love alive in your marriage. It is one of the first senses we develop as humans and is a primary component of intimacy in adult romance. Unfortunately, it’s something we can forget about, be turned off towards, or start to associate with difficult memories or experiences. Today, we want to look into the research on physical touch to see the benefits of it and learn how we can rekindle it in marriage. Touch Matters Social touch is essential for normal human development and for the development of attachment during intimacy. We talked about attachment in episodes 251 to 254: it’s the development of a loving, secure bond between two people. There is a large body of research literature on the beneficial effects of touch (typically mother-infant) for attachment and soothing during infancy and in that very important infant-caregiver relationship.[1] There’s also a lot of research on the benefits of physical touch in marriage, and we want to talk about touch in that context. We’re talking about the kind of affection that includes “any touch intended to arouse feelings of love in the giver and/or the recipient.”[2] And while we are using the word “arouse” in that definition, loving touch can be either non-sexual or sexual. Really, both are important. Another research article we looked at helpfully pointed out that, “Ideally, the touch is appropriate to the setting, does not interfere with goal-directed behavior, and is not oriented toward immediate sexual gratification.”[3] When is Touch Appropriate? Touch that is appropriate to the setting means that you are not touching your spouse sexually in a public place, in front of family, etc. That kind of touch can be loving, but is appropriate only in some contexts. Most couples will understand that intuitively. Physical touch should also not interfere with goal-directed behavior, meaning that it’s not intrusive. It should never involve holding or restraining your partner when they’re trying to do something else. Affectionate touch should not be controlling or interfering even if it is intended to be warm. Furthermore, it should not interfere with safety. For example, you shouldn’t attempt to hold your partner’s hand while they are driving during a snowstorm and need both hands on the steering wheel. Touch should always be respectful — this should not take away from spontaneity completely, but there are times that respect and safety should come before spontaneity. Finally, physical touch should not simply be “oriented toward immediate sexual gratification.” There is certainly a place and time for sexual touch in a healthy marriage, and there is a place for touching your spouse in a way that invites sexual initiation or invitation. At the same time, if every time you touch your spouse you are really just approaching your spouse sexually with little or no loving non-sexual touch, and this is a regular it is likely that you will leave your spouse feeling objectified like you are only touching them for sexual gratification. Something to be handled or groped. That’s not intimate, respectful or nurturing. Touch Is a Love Language Touch is one of the love languages articulated by Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages.[4] If you feel this is one of your love languages or your spouse’s, then tender touch is very important. For some husbands, when they heard the words “physical touch” they immediately think of sex. But think of sex as just one dialect of this love language: holding hands, brief kisses, hugging, back rubs, an arm around the shoulder… these are all ways of expressing love by non-sexual physical touch. Some forms of touch may be explicit and call for your full attention. For example, a back rub or foot massage from your spouse. Naturally, sexual foreplay calls for your full attention. But other kinds of touch may only require a moment and can be part of other activities,

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