Shelia had the worst day at work. She woke up late, her heel broke as she was running in from the parking lot, her boss yelled at her, she spilled coffee down the front of her blouse – and that was all before 8:30am. It was the kind of day that made her want to pack her car, move back home, and return to a life of curfews and high school dances.
This adult gig is hard! How am I going to do this for the next fifty years?!
Mid-way through the day, she texted her boyfriend James an incoherent stream of word vomit. She was clearly upset. He was not exactly sure what to do, but he knew he needed to do something. His lady was on the brink of a breakdown!
She is stressed. I know what I can do! I can take her car in for an inspection and oil change. She mentioned she needed to do that this week. I will do that right now while she is working and surprise her!
As Shelia stumbles out the door from work, she sees James in the distance. He is like an oasis in the hottest of deserts. Her eyes fill with tears.
I just need a hug and I know everything will be okay!
She approaches James with her arms outstretched, but he does not notice her exhausted body reaching out for physical contact. He sees her coming and cannot wait to show her what he did for her. When she is a few steps away, he opens her car door and says, “Guess what!? You do not have to get your car inspected!” A little dazed, she continues to wait for a hug and does not respond to his strange greeting. “Did you hear me? I got your car inspected today!” Her heart drops. “I heard you. Can I please get a hug?!”
We can only hope Shelia and James’ night improved, but we can assume they “enjoyed” a little spat before moving on with their lives. James wanted to bless his sweetheart by taking a burden off of her exhausted shoulders. He is a sweet guy and loves Shelia. He is probably an acts of service man who shows his love by fixing leaks, running errands, and making sure Shelia’s life runs safely and smoothly. What a great fellow he is!
Shelia knows he is a great guy – and, though she deeply appreciates all he does to help her, sometimes, like today, she desperately needs a long, cleansing hug. After all, she rubs James’ back while he talks about his tough days. She makes sure to touch his arm and smile when she passes him in the hall, and she never fails to hug him hello and goodbye. How could he not know when she needs a hug? Shelia is a physical touch girl. She feels most loved when James stops what he is doing and embraces her, kisses the top of her head, and whispers, “It is going to be okay.”
No doubt James was let down and perhaps a little angry by Shelia’s response to his thoughtfulness. She did not mean to appear unappreciative. In that moment, she needed affection and she felt unloved when he ignored her advances and kept talking about her car. In much the same way, James occasionally feels unloved when Shelia rubs his back and sits next to him after he has endured a tough day.
She knows how tired I am. Can she fix me a snack or bring me a drink or something besides sitting here?!
It is all too easy to miss what our sweethearts are trying to tell us when we do not speak the same love language. At the beginning of relationships, couples should discover each other’s love languages and become experts in speaking them!
Blessing Your Sweetheart with Your Gentle Touch
Fulfilling your sweetie’s need for physical touch can be tricky if you are saving your sexual relationship for marriage. Though physical touch and sexual touch are completely different, it is easy for a simple, wholesome caress to quickly turn into something more.
Once a couple is married and sexually free, physical touch will not necessarily spark sexual desires like it does in the dating and engaged stages. In the meantime, here are seven ways you can fulfill your significant other’s need for touch without compromising your convictions!
- Simple hand holding – This is something couples can do from early in the relationship to the very end of their lives. It is one of love’s little pleasures. The sweet reassurance of your partner’s devotion. It is not offensive or awkward to others (in most cases, anyway) and is a gentle way to fill your loved one’s love tank.
- Sit close – When possible, sit close to your boyfriend or girlfriend. It may be insignificant to you, but chances are your physical touch sweetheart is energized and gleeful by having you so close. And, it will give him or her access to your shoulder!
- Go dancing! This is hard for me to write because my man is a physical touch person and I am not a dancer. ~smile~ Still, dancing provides closeness while still remaining in public. Just to note, I am not suggesting provocative dancing. Ballroom, swing, or other classy dances can offer a great workout, some “cuddle” time, and a lot of laughs (at least that would be the case with me!).
- Touch during discussions. This is as natural as breathing to some; yet, for others, it takes a conscious effort to remember to rub someone’s back or touch his or her arm during conversations. This is a sweet way to show your love and concern for your honey, and you can do it in small increments if it truly challenges you. Eric could have his back rubbed for hours and never get tired of it. My arms feel like they are going to fall off long before he is satiated, but I can rest my arms and give him mini-back rubs throughout the day. As always, use wisdom with how much touch you give when you are alone. It does not take many sparks to ignite a dry forest!
- Always greet each other with physical touch. Even if hugs do not come naturally to you, get into the habit of giving your special someone a gentle hug each time you meet and whenever you part ways. It opens and closes your time together on a loving note. There are all manner of hugs, so agree on how long and lingering your pre-marital hugs should be. ~smile~ Some couples choose to hug in specific ways that keep them from being tempted to accelerate their physical contact (side hugs, etc.).
- Practice giving small but meaningful touches throughout your time together. High fives, pats on the back, kissing hands, head on shoulders – these all pack a greater emotional punch than you may realize. Each sincere show of affection is another drop into his or her love tank.
- Send virtual hugs. This is not the same as physical touch – not by far. However, it does show your desire to embrace your sweetie. Long distance couples, or those who have crazy work hours, can send GIFs, clipart, or pictures of a time you were together to help your significant other feel loved and excited for your next visit or date.
Does your partner speak physical touch? If so, is it a natural language for you, or does it require a good bit of practice to speak fluently? Either way, do not be discouraged. With effort, you can learn to show your partner love in ways that cut straight to his or her heart. Study your loved one and listen for subtle and obvious clues. Typically, the kind of love he or she pours out on you is the kind of love he or she prefers to receive – not always, but in many cases.
Happy hugs and high fives!
Does your sweetie thrive when given gentle, meaningful, loving touch?