Couples Therapy and The 5 Love Languages: Physical Touch
We have made it to the end of my blog series all about The 5 Love Languages written by Gary Chapman. First I discussed the importance of Quality Time in relationships. Acts of Service was next, and then I posted an entry about Gifts. Last week was about the use of Words of Affirmation, and I’m wrapping things up with this entry about Physical Touch.
I really do recommend taking a few minutes to take the online Love Languages Quiz in order to see which Love Languages work best for you in your relationships so you can know how you best give and receive love.
Alright, let’s jump on in and talk a bit about how Physical Touch plays an important role in relationships.
When the topic of Physical Touch comes up in my therapy office with couples seeking help, there is often an assumption that Physical Touch means sex. And, although it can definitely include sexual activity, there is so much more to it than that. I will be writing many future blogs on sex and relationships, so you’ll want to check back for future posts.
When thinking about incorporating the love language Physical Touch into your relationship, the non-sexual but intimate touching is where we want to start. As I have done with each of the love languages throughout this series, I have some examples of ways to incorporate Physical Touch in your relationship. Remember that communication is the key to being able to know what will work best in your situation. The goal is to show your love in the ways that your partner is needing to feel it and will best receive it.
One simple way to implement this love language is going back to the basics of just holding hands. This can be incorporated in a variety of ways. Maybe you’re sitting on the couch watching television and not really interacting a lot with each other. If your partner receives love through touch, reaching over and holding their hand while watching a show together can really go a long way to showing them you care. The same thing could be done while driving in the car together. You could reach over and grab their hand or just rest your hand on their thigh during the car ride. Studies have shown that just feeling the touch of your significant other lowers blood pressure and relieves some feelings of stress and anxiety while helping build the intimate connection.
Cuddling is another intimate way to incorporate Physical Touch into your relationship without feeling like things have to be overtly sexual. I’m definitely in support of the cuddling turning into something more sexual, but that shouldn’t be a requirement or expectation. When going to bed at night, imagine what it would be like to spend just a few minutes snuggled up next to each other. I hear from many couples that it is unrealistic to stay completely wrapped up in each other’s arms all night long, but even 5 or 10 minutes of cuddling before bed will help keep the intimacy alive in your relationship. Some couples even report falling asleep holding hands or overlapping a leg with each other to feel connected. There is no wrong way to cuddle!
Giving a massage to your partner can be a great way to show your love through Physical Touch. This could be something simple like a foot massage after they have had a long day at work. It will relieve some of their foot pain while also allowing them to feel your love through your touch. Going back to the hand holding idea, you could take it to the next level and give them a hand massage while watching TV together. A full body massage is definitely an option too, but I recommend having some good conversation with your partner to find out if they enjoy receiving massages and what they enjoy about them. Massage is a way to overlap the love languages, as this could also be considered an Act of Service, a Gift and a way to spend Quality Time together.
I hope I have given you a few ideas of how to incorporate Physical Touch into your relationship, but these are just a few ideas to get you started. Experiment with what works best in your unique situation, and be open to how things develop. The goal of Physical Touch is to send messages of love through touch without feeling pressured to be sexual. It is totally fine if the touching progresses into sex, but try to focus on giving without the expectation of sex as the outcome. I will have some future blog posts on this idea of non-demand touching, so stay tuned for those!
I do hope you have enjoyed reading this blog series on The 5 Love Languages as much as I have enjoyed writing them, and thank you so much for following along with each one. I’ll be starting on some new topics next week, so please keep following along to see what I talk about next. If you have topics you’d like to see me discuss in the future, I am always open to hearing your feedback or suggestions.
If you’re interested in setting up an appointment for couples therapy or marriage counseling, or if you would like more information about The 5 Love Languages and ways to implement them into your life and relationship, you can call my office directly at 314-485-9189 or feel free to send me a message. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more life and relationship tips!