Matt.Woodrum@wwfatherhood.com

Love Language #5 – Physical Touch

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Love Language #5 – Physical Touch

Physical Touch

Physical Touch can be both the easiest and the hardest of the love languages to navigate.  Usually, when we think of physical touch as a love language, we tend to turn this touch sexual.  However, physical touch can mean so much more.  For major example of the power within physical touch is right after a baby is born.  Most women would like to have skin to skin contact because this type of physical touch improves child development and the bond between mother and child.  According to Focus on the Family, “Numerous research projects in the area of child development have made that conclusion: Babies who are held, stroked and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact.”  This means that physical touch is very important, but what about physical touch between a husband and a wife, or parents and their children??  Just how important is physical touch within a relationship?

Physical Touch Research

Holding hands, kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse are all different ways of communicating to someone’s emotional love language.  According to I heart Intellenge, there are four reasons we need to become more touchy-feely.  These reasons include:

  1. Frequent physical touch increases a person’s physical well-being. Regular hugs can lower a person’s heart rate.  Lower blood pressure.  Strengthen the immune system, decrease stress, and cut anxiety which helps the body become healthier long-term.
  2. Physical contact strengthens team dynamics by building non-sexual intimacy. When we touch someone, we are using our non-verbal’s to tell someone that we care about that person.  These non-verbal’s can be done through a handshake, a high-five, or a pat on the back, which tell people that you care for them and their goals.
  3. Physical touch promotes trust and security. “Ray Williams explored this in his article: Why Have We Lost The Need For Physical Touch?. As he explains, “Neuroscientist Edmund Ross [found] that physical touch activates the brain’s orbitfrontal cortex, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion. [Daniel] Keltner contends that ‘studies show that touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassion response and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin, aka ‘the love hormone” according to I heart Intellenge.
  4. People who experience lots of physical contact are less violent. “Neuropsychologist James W. Prescott determined that violence in society often correlates with a lack of cultural emphasis on maternal bonding. When a child experiences loving touch, they learn to attach to others in a healthy way. As they grow, they are less likely to use touch in a hurtful or aggressive way. This early touch paves the way for emotional stability. The results are not only personal, but societal.[3]

Marriage and Children

As we can see, physical touch means much more to us than what most of us realized.  When we look those four key factors in physical touch, we can see the importance.  My question, if physical touch is so important, then how important is physical touch for our wives and our children?  We should be going out of our way to give pats on the back and hold hands with our spouse.  These touches can be important for their physical health!!  Non-sexual touches help to build that bond between you and your spouse along with your children.  This touch, especially if there love language is physical touch can be life changing.

           Physical Importance

We spend so much time worrying about the stuff we need to get done but forget about showing the people closest to us how much we love them.  Physical touch also promotes trust and security which improves relationships.  If physical touch is your son or daughters love language, this is very important.  Your touch, as a dad, can help your children to be secure them in who they are, and will should them that they were created for a purpose.  They have a reason to push forward with their goals and dreams.   This touch helps with trust for your loved ones and shows them how much you care.  Along with showing people how much you care, people who experience lots of physical contact are less violent.  This shows your children that they do not need to get your attention by acting out, but instead, you show them how much you really care about them.  Imagine if the world today completely understood how much their spouse and/or parents really loved them.  This idea would be world-changing.  The effects would be felt in mothers, fathers, children, leaders and everyone in between.

Ways to show love with Physical Touch

Sometimes, physical touch can be the most difficult love language to respect because people usually associate physical touch with sexual touching.  This however is not the case.  When people have the physical touch as a love language, they need to feel loved and this is done by touch.  Please note that some of these would be great with family and friend while others would be great with your spouse!  Here are some of the best ways to show your loved ones love with physical touch is important:

  1. Hug them hello and goodbye. Giving your spouse or your children and hug in the morning and evening can start their day off with love and end the day on a great note.  This tells the people closest to you that they matter.  Science has even shown that hugs can help people to distress and help people start and end the day on a good note.  This will mentally put someone in a better place, helping them to be more productive.
  2. Give them a neck rub or back scratch. How often do you need someone to give you a neck rib or a back scratch? This is an easy way for you to show your loved ones how important they are.  If someone has an inch or a neck rub, then how great would it be for you to be able to meet that need.  This is another great way to show someone how much you love them.
  3. Celebrate with a high-five or fist bump. Helping people celebrate with a high-five or a fist bump is a great way to show someone how much you love them because you are showing them that you are standing behind them.  These types of physical touch show people that they are not alone and that they are special.
  4. Hold them when they’re sad. One of the best ways to show your spouse and your children love (using physical touch) is just by holding them when they have a bad day and they are sad. People go through all types of different stressors that make people emotional.  During these times, nothing tells someone how much you care more than just holding someone in your arms.
  5. Respect physical boundaries. Sometimes the way to show someone love is by understanding someone’s physical boundaries.  Everyone has that little bubble that they would like people to stay out of, and sometimes that may their spouse or children to respect those boundaries.  Sometimes, they may need some space to sort things out.

The Physical touch love language can be one of the most interesting love languages to navigate through.  This love language, just like the other four, take commitment and communication to make your marriage and relationship with your children work.

 

Challenge Question:  What are the best non-sexual ways to support someone whose love language is physical touch?

 

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