Several years ago, my kids participated in a program in their elementary school entitled, "Good Touch/Bad Touch." As you can tell from the title, it dealt with knowing the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. It was a great program, and I wish more school systems had the resources to educate their students through programs such as this.
While the content was great, the title "good touch/bad touch" has become a joke in our house, and whenever we are tickling and laughing and wrestling and my son is "losing" he will suddenly yell out, "bad touch!" and we'll all start laughing.
Less funny is that idea that neither good touch, nor bad touch, but absolutely "no touch" is happening in so many marriages today. Dr. Stathas, a marriage and family therapist near Lake Oconee, Georgia, and founder of the Stathas Life Development Center, writes that so many of the couples he counsels mention that being touched by their spouse is what is missing in their relationships.
I can relate. So many people I've spoken to also talk about having no touch in their marriage. In fact, I frequently hear, "I feel as if I am married to my best friend," but I disagree. I know many best friends who still hug and kiss whenever they see each other. The people I talk to are saying that absolutely no touch is occurring within their marriages.
In this case, these couples mean that they have absolutely no physical touch left in their relationships. According to Dr. Stathas, "to be touched is to put your arm around him or her, hold hands, give a gentle caress or pat on the fanny, give a massage, give a gentle or passionate kiss, or make love." He continues to say, "these are basic human needs -- all part of a special connection you have with your partner. Giving this type of attention serves to enrich and deepen the relationship."
If this basic need isn't being met, then the impoverished spouse may enter into some type of self-defense mode and either dry up and withdraw, become angry and hurtful via words or actions, or go elsewhere to have those basic needs met.
How sad that so many couples lose that aspect of physical touch in their relationships. I know I did. And now that I have found it again, I can't imagine how I survived without it. "Good touch" is amazing. It connects couples. You can't start to build grudges or be angry or drift apart when you have incredible physical touch drawing you back together. It brings people together. It creates a chemistry. It builds bonds.
I hate to think that so many couples who need or want that physical touch within their own marriage are afraid to reintroduce it. They feel it would be awkward or difficult, and rather than face those challenges together as a couple who once knew what it felt like to have great touch with one another, one spouse instead chooses to have his or her physical touch needs satisfied by someone outside of marriage. Don't we see this repeatedly within our social groups, the media, and our sports heroes?
I'm not sure what the solution is. Perhaps it's not ever letting that physical touch disappear to begin with. Perhaps it's making more of a concerted effort to regain that physical touch within marriage before straying outside of marriage.
What do you think? Does this apply to you and your relationship? What can you do today ... right now ... to rebuild some of that "good touch" into your marriage or current relationship?