Mark: It was quite a few years ago when I first heard the phrase, “nonsexual touch.” I thought, “You’re kidding me. Those two words don’t even belong in the same sentence!”
Jill: I remember Mark’s reaction to it. I craved non-sexual touch, but it seemed that Mark only touched me with sexual expectations.
Mark: What’s wrong with that? Ok…all joking aside. I now know how much hurt I caused by this. I didn’t believe I was guilty of any wrong doing. I wanted to be touched as much as Jill did. I just didn’t understand that healthy touch was also non-sexual.
Jill: Equally, I didn’t realize how important sexual touch was either. I didn’t understand that in the same way I craved nonsexual touch, Mark craved sexual touch….but that’s a topic for another day.
Mark: Looking back, I realize I didn’t grow up in a culture of healthy touch. I now understand that healthy touch is vital. I wish, however, I didn’t have to learn so many important lessons in the second half of my life. Knowing so many of these things earlier would have made marriage so much easier.
Jill: That’s why Mark and I are so committed to sharing what we’ve learned. If we can save other couples some of the pain we’ve walked through, it will have not been for nothing. Physical touch is one of my top love languages, but when it felt like every single touch has a sexual connotation to it, I shut down my desire for touch.
Mark: Non-sexual touch is vital for all of us. It’s an essential part of connecting with another human being. As much of a culture of freedom we seem to live in, we, too, are a culture of fear. We’re afraid of healthy touch, fearing it might send a wrong message. Men are afraid to hug other men in brotherly love. Dad’s resist hugging their children fearing it will grow something unhealthy inside of them. We stop hugging our older children thinking they are not kids anymore and don’t need hugs. To turn this around I believe we need to become a culture that will be intentional about “reaching out and touching someone.”
Jill: Years ago, a single friend of mine shared with me that if I didn’t give her a hug every Sunday morning, no one would touch her for months. That’s so sad, honestly! But we digress. We’re talking today about nonsexual touch in marriage today.
Mark: Nonsexual touch is about connecting emotionally in marriage. Sexual touch is about connecting sexually in marriage. Both are needed! However, we have to resist the urge to mix them together.
Jill: Let’s be intentional about increasing our nonsexual touch this week. Need some practical ideas of how to make that happen? Here are a few:
- Hug your spouse for one full minute every day. Just hold him or her closely, resisting the lie that “you have things to do and this is a waste of time.”
- Reach over and hold your spouse’s hand when you’re close to each other.
- Snuggle on the couch.
- If tears are flowing, just hold your loved one.
- Put your arm around her.
- Tuck your arm under his arm as you’re walking.
- Increase your eye contact—while it’s not actually touch, it accomplishes the same thing.
Mark: More than anything, resist the urge to have any ulterior motive for your touch other than connecting with your mate.
What about you? What do you need to do to increase nonsexual touch? Which practical idea listed above do you need to make happen today? Do you have any practical ideas to add to this list?
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