Love Languages Part 6: Physical Touch

Love Languages Book CoverThis is the language I’ve been looking forward to most: Physical Touch.

This is my primary love language! Before I read the book I had listened to my friends discussing it and identified my language right off the bat. My lady, Theresa, gave me a copy of the book as a present and once I started reading it I was taken with it and was driven to continue. It all made sense, but it was when I got to “my” chapter that the light shone through. The memories of my life started racing through my head and the missing puzzle pieces that explained the dysfunction in so many of my relationships fell into place. I finally understood. This is why I’ve been so moved by this book that I’ve been writing about it in such detail. Even if you didn’t know anything about me and you looked at my copy of 5LL you would know that I speak with Touch because my highlighter went crazy in this chapter. I picked out something in almost every paragraph that was incredibly important to me. The importance of touch can be seen widely in society. When people meet they will generally shake hands. If one person refuses to shake hands (and deny the touch) it is usually a sign that there is something seriously wrong between the two people.

Babies who are held, hugged, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact. pg 115

There have no doubt been times in the past when you have talked to me about some bad news in your life and my response was a hug. A lot of interaction with me happens in text over the Internet, but I bet the same thing applies and my response has been “*hug*” because even though words are still very powerful for me (my secondary Love Language) I generally reach for my primary. Even if I can’t physically touch you, I’ve probably tried to convey the idea of physical touch to you as a method of support.

Holding hands, kissing, embracing, and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s spouse. pg 115

It is important to take a moment though and clarify the point about sex. Guys are physiologically driven to have sex. This is why it is important to be careful when identifying your language as Physical Touch. Sex is AWESOME (when done right) and releases endorphins so it’s easy to claim this as a language. 🙂 All of that being said, sex is an important dialect of the language of Physical Touch. If your partner’s language is Touch, a healthy sex life is most likely just as important as those little incidental touches you get throughout the day.

Of the five senses, touching, unlike the other four, is not limited to one localized area of the body. pg 117

My sweetie and I could be at a party in a crowded room full of people. When she walks by on her way to get a drink and puts her hand on my shoulder for just a moment I know that she loves me. We don’t even have to be looking at one another. I could be engrossed in conversation with one of my homies and as she walks by she could trail her hand along my back and my love tank fills right up.

To withdraw from my body is to distance yourself from me emotionally. pg 119

There have been times in the past when I would move to hug a friend or a partner and they would recoil (for whatever reason). For me, and others who speak with Touch, this can cut right to the bone. You haven’t rejected my hug, you have rejected me. You have rejected my love. It’s devastating. Likewise, if your partner speaks with Touch and you don’t initiate touching they will feel unloved. In my past there have been times when I would stop initiating touch because I wanted to see if we were only touching because of me. I wanted to know if they loved me, because before I understood that people speak differently I assumed that if they loved me they would touch me. One of Chapman’s example husbands had exactly the same experience.

Then I decided I would not take the initiative because I didn’t want to be rejected. So I waited to see how long it would be before she’d initiate a kiss or a touch or sexual intercourse. Once I waited for six weeks before she touched me at all. I found it unbearable. pg 127

On the subject of kissing… Chapman doesn’t talk about this, but I have found this to be true in my life. It is a prevalent idea in our society that the romance fades over time. Exceptional are the couples who have been together 20 years and still show that spark of romantic vitality.

I think the key to this is kissing. Not just a little peck, I mean real kissing. When those longer, lingering kisses fade then everything else starts to fade. Don’t get me wrong, I love those little pecks as well, but if the fire is starting to fade I think you would be surprised how quickly that can change with a kiss. Sitting on the couch while watching TV is an everyday thing. A peck on the cheek or lips will elicit a smile and then you can watch The Daily Show. However, if you replace that peck with a long kiss you just might have to watch tomorrow’s rerun instead! I watched a TV show a couple of years ago that addressed this idea. The show’s therapist prescribed long-kissing. At least once a day the couple was supposed to have a 60 second long kiss. It’s a much longer amount of time than you really think, but they would set a little timer to make sure they lasted for at least 60 seconds without having to divert attention to look at a clock. If you find some of the heat missing from your relationship, maybe this simple exercise will help!

Perhaps your family wasn’t the touchy-feely type but your partner speaks with Touch. Chapman offers some practical and simple ways you can get more comfortable with it (which is one of the reasons I like this book so much).

Do you speak with Touch? Did your sweetie give you an incidental touch recently that really made you smile?

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