When I first took Dr. Gary Chapman’s Love Languages test, my primary love language was words of affirmation followed by physical touch. That was about 7 years ago. At the time, the results didn’t surprise me because they were in direct correlation of what I’d been lacking in my marriage and previous relationships.
Fast forward to present day, I took the test the other day. My dominant love language now is quality time, with physical touch as the second most important. I think the questions, and the test as a whole, are structured in a way that subtly center the power of touch in relationships. We already know how important intimacy is to relationships. But I think we sometimes underestimate just how much we need it survive; both within relationships and as individuals.
Removing the relationship component for a moment – when was the last time that you as a man hugged another grown man who wasn’t your relative? Not one of those pathetic “bro” hugs, but a genuine “I love you, man” hug? We don’t do that. We’re not taught how to hug without feeling weird or apprehensive about it. Compound that with the ingrained homophobia that men pass down to their sons and physical touch becomes something that men are scared of unless it involves a woman.
Now here’s where it gets tricky. Men from an early age attach physical touch to sex. We grope, we grab, all for the purpose of acquiring sex. Physical touch takes on this unsavory connotation when it doesn’t have to be that way. Once you reach an age of maturity, physical touch is really about heightening the existing emotional connection. And when it comes to intimacy, so much of the unspoken can flow from the power of touch.
Physical Touch Can Be Assuring
Along with quality time, there’s nothing better than getting a hug after a long, trying day. In the times we’re living in, you can’t escape negativity and it’s hard to find joy in the normal. But knowing that you can go home to a warm embrace is invaluable.
Physical Touch Helps To Build Trust
One thing I’ve struggled with in the last few months is consistency. I’ve had way too much start and stop in my personal life. I realize the main reason for that is the lack of attention, or in other words, quality time. It’s difficult to trust someone who is inconsistent with the amount of time they give to you. If they’re stingy with their time, then the physical connection will soon dissipate as well. For me, I know that I’m craving physical touch more lately because I want to vulnerable. I want to trust someone. I want to be myself with someone. That total nakedness is helped through the ability to feel and see each other’s physical reactions.
Physical Touch Doesn’t Lie
The eyes may be the windows to a person’s soul, but a man’s physical touch is hard to deny. I’m a firm believer that men don’t kiss women that they don’t genuinely like. Men don’t cuddle with women they don’t genuinely like and respect. Cuddling is a level of intimacy that denotes a wall the man has let down. We live in a society where men are treated as hunters; we’re expected to view women as prey and thus always want to touch them as means to an end. Although, men can and do suffer from a lack of touch. Sometimes, we just want the safe and warmth of loving physical contact without the expectation of sex.
I didn’t believe so before but your love language can change over time. How you view relationships and love may change over time as well. But the value of physical touch and the other love languages seem to remain constant. Physical touch, in particular, becomes the standout love language because of its ability to heal and reaffirm all of the other love languages.
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