Our last love language is physical touch.
Whatever there is of you resides in your body. To touch your body is to touch you.
I love that quote and description. It really puts a different perspective on touch and why its so important. To touch your body is to in essence affect who you are and make contact with your soul. We need to protect our bodies as much as we protect our minds and hearts.
In the book, Chapman identifies four different kinds of touch: appropriate and inappropriate, implicit and explicit. The first pair don’t need definiting. Implicit touches are subtle, fleeting or even accidental. It can be a quick touch to the hand or shoulder. It can imply understanding, emphasis and is okay with people we hardly know.
Explicit touch demands full attention, takes more time, and requires knowledge of and a relationship with the other person. It’s the different between a two pat hug and “leaning.” (Points to those who recognize that reference from “While You Were Sleeping.) It can be sexual, a massage, a good hug, a kiss or even the annoying pinch on the cheek from an aunt.
“Physical touch is a powerful communicator of love. In a time of crisis, more than anything we need to feel loved. We cannot always change events, but we can survive if we feel loved.”
It’s amazing how in moment of pain all we need is a hug. Just somone who is willing to reach into the emotion and let us know that we are not alone. When you think about singles and physical touch its alarming how long some go without being touched in a meaningful manner.
In my small group we always hug one another when showing up and leaving. At first it was a little awkward. I didn’t know them very well and it seemed odd. But now I look forward to it. It has become love to me over time. It is more than just custom or what we do. I like it.
This chapter can’t exclude sexual touch from the conversation. Chapman provides an overview of the sexual revolution and how it has damaged our use of sex. Sex isn’t about satisfying an animal instinct. It shouldn’t be used just to feel better because in the end it errodes our view of love and connection. Our sexuality isn’t limited to our bodies but is an expression of our wholeness through commitment to one person. When we reduce it to just a carnal act we effectively remove the divine from it.
A chapter on physical touch must also include its shadow side – abuse. Physical touch can be perverted causing physical harm to another. This inappropriate touch is destructive and debilitating. In a dating relationship this can be excused as love and ignored but it will get worse if left unchecked.
Real love doesn’t take advantage or use force. It is gentle, appropriate, and it waits for the right time and place to be expressed.
The second kind of love language we studied are gifts.
Chapman believes that giving gifts is one of the fundamental universal languages of love, in any culture. When done in its purest, unselfish, no strings attached way it is a “visual symbol of love.”
Now to the person whose primary love language is gifts it doesn’t matter if the gift is found, made, bought, small, big, expensive, or cheap. It is about the symbolic act of giving something to them in a loving way.
However, just like everything else it too can be perverted. The wrong kind of gift giving is when you expect something in return, are using it as leverage, it cannot be a payment for anything, or used as an apology and mean the same thing.
Chapman also says this is the easiest language to learn. If we’re paying attention we will pick up on the clues others give to us about what they like, what they need, what they’re hoping for and what their interests are. If we’re good listeners we will be able to buy, make, and recognize appropriate gifts for those that are important to us.
In our small group we all drew names and made something this week. It was great to see all of the different ideas that abounded and reflected how well we know each other. It was a fun exercise.
I think for me that the great thing about gifts is that it shows how well you know someone or how well they know you. Gifts can be a disaster if you’re not paying attention. I’ve received gifts that have nothing to do with me and is more about what the other person likes or wants, that isn’t love.
I’ve also received gifts that were the longing of my soul and many times those gifts cost little or nothing. It isn’t about how much money you spend. I don’t think many guys get that in a dating relationship. Free tip for ya – we just want to know you’re paying attention. That’s all. We really aren’t that difficult, we just require a little work.
While I appreciate gifts I know it isn’t my primary love language.