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julie portrait3BW[From Julie] I am a toucher.  A snuggler.  A hugger.  I’m not like this with everyone.  I don’t want to scare people so I refrain from hugging strangers :).  I snuggle with my boys and I love that they have always wanted to snuggle with me.  I love to snuggle up to Noel and feel his arms around me.  It makes me feel loved and safe and comfortable.  It’s the power of touch.

I see this power almost every day that I work.  I work in a Labour and Delivery and Women’s Health Unit.  I see many women in their most vulnerable state and the power of touch lets them know that they are not alone.  There is comfort and compassion in the midst of great pain.  I can smooth tense muscles and mop a sweaty brow all the while encouraging them with words.  If I simply spoke to them and never laid a hand on them except when absolutely necessary I know I wouldn’t be a very effective nurse.  Even women that wouldn’t describe themselves as touchers seem to get great comfort from it while they are in the throes of labour.  Women who have experienced surgery and are not used to feeling helpless learn that they are not alone when I touch their arm or adjust their pillows.  Words have possibly more power to affect but when you combine that with touch you have true capacity to change someone’s life.

When Noel is away I miss him.  I miss talking to him and just being with him and I also miss his touch.  My boys are very snugly perhaps more so when their dad is gone but I miss having Noel beside me in bed.  I miss the feel of his scruffy jaw.  I miss the feel of his hands.  When he came home last week from a canoe trip with our older two boys I couldn’t wait to hug him.  Even though he was smelly and dirty I wanted a big squeeze.  I think the absence of his touch is the first thing I miss when he is away.  Hats off to you couples who are separated for much of your married lives.  It must be very difficult.

Have you ever noticed that when you and your spouse argue that you stop touching?  There’s no hand holding, no physical affirmation.  Often you will step away from each other or turn your back or even leave the room.  The last thing you want is to touch or be touched by the person you are angry with.  What’s the first thing you do when you make up?  You reach out and touch each other.  Give each other a hug and become more gentle with your words.  I can’t be harsh with Noel while I’m wrapped in his arms.

The older I get the more aware I am of the effect of Noel’s touch.  I wouldn’t have said that touch was my love language when we first got married but now it is very important to me.  Noel is gracious and lets me snuggle with him regularly so it’s all good.  🙂  I think the need to be touched is something we are born with.  God gave us this desire as a means of connecting with each other.  Jesus demonstrated the power of touch many times while he walked this earth.  He healed the blind man with the touch of his hands (John 9), he wanted the children to be with him (Mark 10:13-16), he took the hand of the dead girl and raised her to life (Luke 8:51-55).  Jesus could have healed with a word, he could have lived a remote life without much interaction but he choose to become fully human.  He knew the effects that a physical touch has on a human being and he embraced it.  He touched lepers and outcasts because he knew the power of touch.

If you are not a touchy-feely person, that’s okay, but find out if your spouse is.  If they need your touch then you need to meet that need for them.  Follow Jesus’ lead and provide the touch that could make the difference in their day.  I know this is difficult for those of you with small children.  When they demand so much touch the last thing you want is someone else that needs touch too.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be that affectionate with anyone else.  Recognize that you have a gift that only you can share with your spouse.  Your hands held out in love can build a beautiful marriage.  That’s true power.