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Love and Marriage Article

The Valentine's Day Touch

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Give a Valentine’s Day present of touch to the one you love.  What could be better or more meaningful?  Here’s why it could just be the best Valentine’s Day present ever.

We have been married for 42 years and simply can’t keep our hands off of each other!  For many years, we thought we were unique.  Then we started our research for our book, and did we get a big surprise -- virtually every happily married coupled we interviewed reported the same condition!  Over time we have come to call it the “tactile response.”  Literally translated, it means, “I touch you here, I touch you there, I touch you everywhere!” 

During our interviews with married couples we pay a lot of attention to their tactile interactions.  More often than not, they sit on the couch during the interview and hold hands or place some part of their body on their mate’s body.  It is their way of saying “I love you so much I simply must touch you.”  So why all of this touching?

As part of our interviews we asked the couples to tell us what they believe to be the most endearing and important characteristics of their spouse.  We continued with the following questions:  “How would you describe your spouse?  What adjectives would you use?”  Here are the words we most often heard: encouraging, positive, loving, honest, has integrity, beautiful (or handsome), understanding, wonderful, patient, loves life, loves me, unselfish, giving, caring, trusting, generous, helpful, conscientious, and humorous.  Words to live by in a marriage wouldn’t you say?  And they said these things unabashedly, without apologies.
Successful couples know nearly everything about each other.  They have studied in infinite detail how their spouse looks, feels and acts.  They know what makes the one they love tick and can recite in scripture and verse their best qualities.  They brag about each other all the time. They love each other for a whole bunch of reasons and don’t mind telling you what they are.

What do their words about each other have to do with touching?  Here’s what we observed during our many interviews—when couples told us something special about their spouse in response to our questions, they would touch each other as if to emphasize the importance of the words.  Touching was like an exclamation mark!  Over time, we believe that these couples, like the two of us, say these words with a touch without always saying the words out loud.  Touching becomes kind of a Morse Code—a substitute for language and the expression of feeling.  Successfully married couples have mastered the Morse Code of marriage – it’s called touching.

A wise person once said that if you pass your spouse 100 times a day, you should touch them 100 times a day.  When you touch someone, you are acknowledging his or her presence and expressing your love.  In effect you are saying, “I love you so much I simply must touch you.”  What could be a better Valentine’s Day gift than the gift of touch.  Brail the one you love for Valentine’s Day. Start your own Morse Code this Valentine’s Day with the perfect exclamation mark of love – a simple touch.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Love Well!

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