How Often Do You Touch Your Spouse?
Non-sexual touch is the gateway to meaningful sexual intimacy.
Yes/No: Outside of sex, we touch each other every day to communicate our love.
Why Does This Issue Matter?
Intimacy is far more than just sex. An often unseen problem in marriages is that as intimacy begins to erode, it doesn't necessarily first happen in the bedroom. It's the subtle connections throughout the day which begin to dwindle. As this happens over time, the effect is eventually seen in the bedroom. Non-sexual touch is a key element of a healthy relationship. This doesn't have to be taught to a young couple newly in love, but it is something that can easily disappear over time. We must maintain this vital element both through intention (touch on purpose) and by having a naturally close bond (which causes us to touch without thinking). When intimacy becomes solely about sex, we miss the fullness of everything our relationship could be.
What If You Said Yes (4 or 5 on the assessment)?
If touch is a common element of your relationship, maintain that approach. Ensure that each partner is getting the physical reassurance he or she needs. Ask your partner what type of touch they like or want more of. Make sure that the touch which defines this season of your marriage, defines the seasons that lie ahead.
What If You Said No (0 through 3 on the assessment)?
If you ranked your score low on physical touch it's important to determine why. Have you simply drifted toward a touchless marriage? If so, be intentional about touching again. It might be a little awkward at first, but make the first move toward holding hands while walking, putting your arm around one another while sitting, or simply having some aspect of physical touch as you fall asleep. Intentionally brush one another as you pass by each other and find other ways to touch throughout the day.
In most cases, a lack of touch is more than just a lack of intention. We naturally distance ourselves from others whenever we feel tension. It may not be noticeable, but unhappy couples often stand or sit at a greater distance from one another than healthy couples. Start paying attention to how close you stand or sit next to your spouse in consideration of the level of tension in the relationship. In many cases an absence of physical touch is a sign that something else in the relationship needs to be improved--generally, trust and/or respect. If these are missing in your relationship, touching more might cause more problems. Rather than focusing on touching more, fixate on building trust and respect. Then, once those are present, you can reintroduce meaningful touch.
Article: A Touchy Subject in Marriage
Book: Friends, Partners & Lovers by Kevin A. Thompson