A touch says, “I’m right here with you.”
There is nothing that so soundlessly conveys affection as touching. Touch is a powerful means of communication. As an infant, it was the first language we learned and the first sense we developed. As adults, touch evokes those feelings of comfort and warmth we experienced in our infancy.
In our thirty-five years together, my husband and I have never stopped touching. It has nurtured our marriage and our personal well-being.
While we touch because it comes naturally and we enjoy it, there are quantifiable benefits to be had through touch. Medical studies assert partners who touch have been shown to have lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, and a better-functioning immune system.
Touch is an attentiveness that requires so little effort yet yields such amazing positivity. Touch impacts our physical and emotional health. My husband and I have enjoyed remarkably good health over the years. We maintain a desirable weight and optimal blood pressure. Neither of us has experienced any serious health issues such as cancer, heart disease or depression. We rarely get colds and have suffered from the flu only a few times over the years. We’ve never contracted Covid.
Before you attribute our good health to diet and exercise, you should know that we enjoy our wine and desserts. And while we are both physically active, we don’t exercise with intensity or purpose — it’s more of an acknowledgment that we need to keep moving so we don’t decline beyond what natural aging intends.
For us, touching has built and maintained trust and confidence. Because trust exists, we are able to communicate honestly, without fear or hesitation. Additionally, frequent touching has kept us emotionally connected as well as keeping our attraction to each other high.
In the first decade of our marriage, we couldn’t pass each other in the house without a touch, a kiss, a hug. That tapered off in frequency, but even now, we often reach out and touch the other’s arm or back. We stop for a little kiss. Sometimes it’s a big kiss. Hugs are still very much in play. All are forms of touch that reassure the other of our love.
Over the years, our affection has spilled over in public, causing strangers to ask, as recently as last Valentine’s Day, if we are newlyweds.
On our twelfth anniversary trip, a flight attendant observed us holding hands and canoodling as we awaited takeoff, and she asked if we were on our honeymoon.
When we were in Las Vegas for our 27th anniversary, we wandered into a lounge in the Wynn Hotel after seeing a show in the amphitheater. We sat across from each other at a small table, holding hands and enjoying a martini. The lounge singer came to our table to ask our names, if we were married, for how long, and what our wedding song was. We just thought he was being gracious and working the crowd.
So, gah, we were shocked when his act started again, and he “introduced” us to the crowd as the couple that still holds hands after 27 years of marriage. He invited us to dance to a song he was about to sing in our honor. You can read more about that wild time in Vegas on my HuffPost blog.
From the points of view of the flight attendant and the lounge singer, our affectionate handholding seemed to be out of the ordinary.
We’re aware that what we have is unique, but for every couple who wants to experience a closeness that elevates their attraction, there is no better way to do that than by “staying in touch.” When my husband takes my hand and brings it to his mouth for a kiss, I still swoon.
Oh, there have been times when we were arguing, and I was in a lather and didn’t welcome my husband’s touch. That’s normal on occasion; but neither of us have allowed a temporary withdrawal from touching to become a permanent omission in our marriage.
Moreover, throughout the years couples have told us that our affection for each other inspired them to be more affectionate. It wasn’t that they didn’t feel affection for each other, but they had gotten away from conveying those caring feelings through something as simple as taking the other’s hand or gently leaning into the other so that their shoulders touched.
Anger, pride and pent-up hostilities are impediments to touching. But reaching out and laying a gentle, affectionate hand on the person you loved to touch at some point in your courtship and marriage can reignite the feeling of connectedness.
You may have to work at this touching thing, but it’s worth it. If you are in that stage of marriage where you still enjoy touching, remind yourself regularly that touch is what can keep your relationship healthy. There is no substitute for the power of touch in building (or rebuilding) marital bonds and engendering trust.
After these many years of marriage, we find that touch is still one of the most intimate ways we can let the other know, I’m right here with you, and this is exactly where I want to be.