Marriage life thrives from Touch. By David Reid Otey

Touching, hugging, making love: for most people these are the elixir of life second only to breathing. These three acts reflect the most important part of existence: to feel, to belong physically to another person, to have daily sensuous contact, body to body on any level. It can be as slight as holding hands and light massages. But among adults it should include all three actions at least within every three days.  Loving Touch soothes, heals, bonds, excites and balances emotions.

Some of us miss being touched with passion, with desire, with the plan to make it go from light to heavy and then to the dance of love.  Touch is life. The right touch makes the best feelings: hugs, fondling, caressing, joy, deep breathing. Touch is the way God made to let us know the meaning of that phrase, “and let there be light”.  A passionate hug pulls away stress, softens the harshest times, gives relief, offers hope, fills with strength needed to go the next step, the next mile.

It is  dangerous and unwise  for a spouse or partner to change the relationship with their spouse from often sensually physically intimate to mildly or hardly physically intimate. It cracks the emotional and spiritual bond, wrinkles the confidence and could open the door for infidelity.  To withhold the intimately passionate physical expression of love  could be called a type of infidelity, because the main partner has closed off and shut down one of the main promises to each other in being together in marriage; to give to each other’s needs desireably, willingly and affectionately from the heart. This promise of physical expression was never and  should never be based upon obligation nor by force, nor by ownership, for those are not a foundation of love toward each other.

Withholding  the sensuous bonding act is to tear apart the bond of loyalty and devotion, creating a possible domino effect upon the other levels of sharing. Withholding creates a change in perspective, from loving another for what YOU can give them to make their life happier, to loving them for what THEY can give you to make your life happier regardless of what they need. That is a formula for producing emotional pain that borders on subtle cruelty. One sided giving gets lopsided quickly and forces devotion and loyalty in an unbalanced and unnatural form.

In one case, a man visualizes having an affair with someone else–a friend–for the purpose of playing it through in his mind. He knows the joy would be great because he knows the feelings would be mutual and honest. But he also foresees that this situation would be desired again, and that it would be against his nature to use another woman for intimacy. He would be truly loving with his giving and he would receive honest joy and equal affection as well.  Then he thinks about his kids and grandkids, what they’d think, how disappointed they would be, how it would affect their confidence in their own abilities to be faithful for decades without ‘falling’, how they’d look at him as weak and as not being the same man anymore and, to some degree, maybe create an emotional distance between them . He can foresee  the awkwardness of holidays and family nights. No, it is safer to take care of his needs in a solitary manner. One depending more upon imagination than reality, upon fantasy.

I, for one, need touch to feel like life is great.  Empathy, compassion, sensuality and sexuality are the strongest passions we have.  They are the most common traits of human desire that businesses use for  themes in advertising their products.  Touch is the prime reward for performing the other common traits of human desire. We live for give and take. If that circular balance is disrupted between two people, other parts of a relationship soon deteriorate. Anger, arguments, insults, derogatory remarks of contempt: these can be temporary and logical reasons for withholding, since they interrupt the necessary feelings of desiring each other.  These can and should be remedied as soon as possible.

Otherwise, another possibility is ”falling out of love” with someone. No longer feeling desire to touch them, to want them physically, to feel their touch in return. What reason is there for that ?  Has each stopped seeking to do the ”little” things that make emotional and physical foreplay ?  Has one of them changed into a person now repulsive, now unattractive in any or every sense ?

Has one partner’s body and mind simply aged to the point of shutting down any relationship to the more intense passion of love’s expressions ?  Do they only want for themselves the simpler expressions of holding hands, sitting close, being present together and nothing more ?  How do two life partners balance this troubling situation ?  Perhaps one partner’s body has become weakened or deadened to the strong desire of intimate physical passion because of poor health, whatever the cause. Does that mean they do not realize the loss ? Does it mean they avoid talking about it, hoping the other partner will leave them alone and figure out their own remedies ?

These variations create an unwanted maze to stumble through. The success or failure of coming out of this maze with the same life partner and with the same desired loyalty and devotion that began  the relationship depends upon the thoughts of self-worth, of reasonable expectations with respect to changing physical conditions and of quality of life for oneself. And all of these reflect a system of belief that must be evaluated again for deciding what changes to make and how. Who should matter more ? God, culture, family, self ?

Life is not an easy road,  simply because of changes that alter physical and mental abilities, hopes and dreams, and conditions that affect self-respect and confidence.  We all walk the same road yet in our own paths that sometimes join together either for a lifetime or for a number of seasons. Some of the potholes we can handle easily together, one pulling the other out to safety. Sometimes one gets left in a pothole too deep to be helped. But those times, when such separation is so distant as to be out of reach, happen because someone let go of the other’s hand to see something else apart from each other or to not be slowed down. There is no easy answer. Each one of us will study as long as we are willing, as long as we are able to understand, and finally choose an answer, an action that is either acceptable or justifiable.                    The End.