God has designed us to be touched. In fact, of the five senses, touching is the one area that is not limited to any one area of our body. Small tactile receptors are located throughout our body--making touch literally a "full body experience". When these receptors are pressed,
the nerves carry the signal to the brain. The brain then interprets the signal as being warm or cold, soft or hard, pleasing, annoying or painful.
From our earliest days we are more relaxed and content when we are being held or stroked. Whether we are celebrating a victory or needing comfort after a defeat we seek out a loved one to hug. There were several research studies done in the mid-1990’s that found that babies who are born prematurely thrive when they are held by another human being for at least an extra hour each day they are in the NICU (Natal Intensive Care Unit). And, they continue to do better throughout their early years of life. Even at ten years old, they handle stress better than those who didn’t receive the “touch time”. The results were so conclusive that further studies were stopped because it would have been unethical to withhold touch
from any baby.
Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book “The Five Love Languages”, lists physical touch as one of the five potential ways that an individual recognizes that they are being loved. “In marriage, the touch of love may take many forms. Since touch receptors are located throughout the body, lovingly touching your spouse almost anywhere can be an expression of love. That does not mean that all touches are equal. Some will bring more pleasure to your spouse than others. Your best instructor is your spouse.” I will admit that Jan and I have found these “lessons” to be quite enjoyable!
Now, my question to you is this: can some extra “touch time” improve your marriage? Often, we seem to think that too much touching is a signal that we want to have sex. But for most of us, this isn’t what we want to communicate with our touch. Our touch can be used to show acceptance, to say “I’m thinking about you”, “I love you” or “you are awesome”.
Jan and I have found that our day goes much better when we spend the first couple of minutes that we are awake, just holding each other and telling each other how glad we are to be married to each other. We add some more touches (holding hands) as we eat breakfast together and then sit close to each other to read the bible and pray before heading off to work.
In the evenings, we often take a walk and hold hands (I think Jan does it to keep me from walking too fast) which communicates our acceptance of each other and desire to be connected to each other. It reassures us that everything is OK between us (if one of us were upset, we wouldn’t want to be holding the other's hand).
On the other hand, when you are having a high intensity discussion (arguing), holding hands is a good way to keep the energy at a manageable level. This connection reminds us that we are a team and that we love each other and that we should be trying to help and not hurt our partner.
Our touch can communicate many different feelings such as: love, joy, empathy, sorrow, anger, pleading. While a lack of touching can signal indifference, shame, embarrassment or hate. So, which is predominant in your home? Can adding some extra “touch” time to your routine increase your delight in