This is the last but by no means the least of the Five Love Languages – Physical Touch. This is the one at the top of my list. Nothing speaks love to me more than physical contact from Shawna. This is quite a complex love language too because there are so many simple AND significant ways to speak it – depending on what dialect is more important to you. I’ll try to keep my notes short, but in my copy of the book this chapter is almost entirely highlighted…
So how important is physical touch – really?? Numerous studies show that babies emotional health is greatly affected by how much positive physical touching they receive early in life. This isn’t a new idea. It wasn’t by coincidence that Jesus himself insisted that the disciples allow parents to bring their children to be touched by him.
Physical touch is just as powerful in marriage – especially for the individual whose primary love language is physical touch. There are so many ways or dialects for communicating love through physical touch. It can be holding hands, kissing, embracing, sexual intercourse, or just coming in contact with any of the sensitive receptors throughout the body. What is liked or disliked needs to be communicated between spouses and both need to be respectful of what the other doesn’t like and don’t do it.
Love touches can be demanding of your full attention, such as a back rub or sexual foreplay, or they can be simple and only require a moment of our attention, such as putting a hand on the shoulder or rubbing together as you pass in the hallway. The point is we should be aware and take advantage of every opportunity we get to communicate love in this way – both the simple and demanding physical contact. You are only limited by your imagination. Try doing “under the table” touching or kissing as soon as you get in the car. I personally love it when Shawna kisses me as I open the car door for her. It satisfies my need for physical touch and it kinda expresses gratitude (words of affirmation) for me opening the door for her. I’ve told her I like that so she does it often.
I’m not sure why the author of the book had to talk about “open marriage” and how couples who do that eventually fail in marriage based on either moral or emotional grounds. My opinion is that people who do the “open marriage” or even “open relationship” nonsense have some other deeper more critical mental and emotional damage. They need serious help.
The discussion of that topic leads in to the damage done by a spouse who is unfaithful. To someone with physical touch as the primary love language the damage done by an unfaithful spouse is compounded. The love they long for so deeply through their spouse’s physical touch is being given to someone else. Talk about messing up somebody’s emotions. I’m just not even going to say what I might do. God is protecting my marriage from that and Shawna and I are very cautious to avoid circumstances that lead to failure. I’ll talk about that another day. My church did an awesome service on the subject…
Moving on… One of the most important times to love through physical touch is during a time of crisis. During a crisis the love we show through holding one another and sharing tender touches may be more important than any words we speak.
For some people it is difficult to recognize that their primary love language really is physical touch. For some people it is just difficult to learn the true importance of that love language to their spouse because it isn’t their own primary love language.
Before the first time Shawna and I read this book I remember going through periods of time where we weren’t filling each others’ “love tanks” because we didn’t really know about love languages. I would withdraw from her physically because of her lack of touch. It was easier to withdraw than experience the pain of feeling rejected or unwanted if I pursued physical touch. Her love tank was empty too though, so there was really a cycle of both of us not feeling loved by each other and thus not being sensitive to the others needs. It took reading Five Love Languages and a lot of time working with each other to discover what our primary love languages are, and it is a never ending adventure finding new ways to make each other feel loved.
Now that all the love languages have been described the next thing to do is discover just what your primary love language is – there’s more to come from The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman…