Physical Touch

Physical touch is one of the five love languages. For some people, it is their primary love language. If you want them to feel loved, then give them a hug, or a pat on the back. This is true for children as well as adults. If a child’s love language is physical touch and you seldom hug the child, the child will grow up feeling unloved. I remember a prison inmate who told me that he grew up feeling unloved by his mother. When he read my book: The Five Love Languages, he discovered that his love language was physical touch. “But, my mother never hugged me,” he said. “The first time I remember her hugging me was the day I left for prison.” How tragic. Don’t let that happen to your child. Hug them every time they leave the house and when they return.

Touch is Fundamental

A while ago, I met an old friend whom I had not seen in a long time. Immediately, we hugged each other. Why? Because ‘touch’ is fundamental to who we are as humans. We speak of the ‘five senses’. One of the five is touch. It is one of the ways in which we experience life. What parent does not know that toddlers like to touch? We may say, “No, don’t touch that,” but touch is one way a child experiences life. The same is true with adults. All cultures have appropriate affirming touches when they greet each other. When you touch me in an appropriate way, you affirm my worth. When you touch me in a harsh way, you demean me as a person. Make sure that today, all of your touches are affirming touches.

Communicating Desires

We are creatures of desire. That is, we want certain things. Desires are usually expressed in terms of “I want…, I wish…I hope… or I would like… In an intimate marriage, couples can share their desires without making demands. If my wife tells me that she would like a new dress for the party, then perhaps I can make it happen. If she doesn’t tell me, I have no way of knowing her desire. I don’t mean that any of us can have everything we desire. But if we share, then we can discuss the possibilities – is it realistic or not? If so, then what steps need to be taken? Helping fulfill the desires of your spouse is one way of expressing your love. Love always wants what is best for the spouse.

Thoughts and Emotions

Intimacy comes from a Latin word meaning ‘inner’. It is two people sharing the ‘inner self’. Marriage is meant to be an intimate relationship. Two of the things we share are our ‘thoughts’ and ‘emotions’. Emotions can’t be seen, but they can be revealed. When I say to my wife, “I’m feeling disappointed,” I have shared an emotion. If I tell her why then I’m sharing my thoughts. We make it easier for our spouse to share thoughts and emotions if we don’t pounce on them with condemnation. If you say, “Well, that’s nothing to be disappointed about. You shouldn’t let that bother you,” you have become a preacher, not a loving spouse. When you say, “I can see how that would be disappointing, tell me more about it.” You are encouraging intimacy

Interpretation Differences

Ever notice how we interpret things differently?

A husband walks in and sees the sink filled with dirty dishes. He reads a note on the table: “Darling, I am attending a program at church. May be late. Love you.” He may say to himself “lazy woman, she’s taking advantage of me – expecting me to wash the dishes.” And he walks out of the room. Another husband might say, “She must have had a busy day. The least I can do is to wash the dishes.” And he rolls up his sleeves. The difference was interpretation. Love ‘thinks the best’ and always looks for an opportunity to serve.

The first husband was self-centered. The second was a lover. Lovers always have better marriages

Verbal Abuse Saddens God

Behind every verbally abusive tongue is a person of value. I know that’s hard to believe when you are hurt by exploding words, but it is true. Your spouse is an extremely valuable person, a person deeply loved by Christ. Of course, their verbally abusive behavior saddens the heart of God as it does your own. But their abusive behavior does not distract from their worth. If you can focus on their worth rather than their abuse, perhaps you can be God’s instrument for bringing help. The wife who says: “I’ve been thinking about us. I’ve been thinking about our dating days. I’ve been remembering the tender touch, the kind words, the smiling face, the fun we had in those days. I guess that’s why I believe in you so strongly. I know the good qualities that are there. Sometimes I lose that vision when I am hurt by your verbal attacks, but I know the kind of man you are and I believe in that man.” She is giving him what all of us need: someone who believes in us. This has powerful potential for motivating positive changes in his behavior.

Deep Need for Self-Worth

Most people who verbally abuse their spouse are saying more about their own needs that they are about their spouses character. The verbal abuser has a deep need for self-worth. They are unconsciously seeking to elevate themselves by putting down the spouse. Of course, this is not an acceptable way to build one’s self-esteem. The spouse who wants to have a positive influence will affirm the need, but reject the behavior. By saying something like: “I know that you must be terribly frustrated to speak to me in that manner. I wish I could hear you and help, but I am so pained by the words that I cannot listen. If you could write me a note telling me what you feel and how strongly you feel it, maybe I could be there for you and could be the spouse you need.” This statement acknowledges the inner struggles of the abuser, but refuses to accept the destructive behavior. This is a step in the right direction

Abusive Language is Poisonous

Verbal abuse is warfare. It employs the use of words as bombs and grenades designed to punish the other person, to place blame, or to justify one’s own actions or decisions. Abusive language is filled with poisonous put-downs which seek to make the other person feel badly, appear wrong, or look inadequate. Most people who practice verbal abuse are suffering from low self-esteem. Anything which threatens their worth will stimulate a flow of angry words. The slightest criticism can ignite the flame. Understanding this, may change your attitude toward your verbally abusing spouse. Seeing them as a needy person, rather than an abusive person, may help you take a more constructive approach

Being a Loving Leader

Being a loving leader requires that we put our wives at the top of our priority list. Christ is our example. He loved the church and gave himself for it. The church is his priority. He shed his blood for the church. And now, as our ascended Savior, he prays for us. What a model! So, the husband who takes the bible seriously will make his wife his number one priority. Throughout the day he will ask himself the question: What can I do for her that will enhance her life? He will pray for her daily. He will encourage her worthy pursuits. He will commend her for her accomplishments. As Christ showers us with daily blessings, so the husband as loving leader will shower his wife with actions and words which say, “I love you”. And she? She will follow his leadership.

Leadership Implies Communications

Leadership implies communication. The husband is to love and provide for his wife as Christ loves and cares for the church. But how can the husband do that if he doesn’t know her needs. Peter instructs, that we are to deal with our wives according to knowledge. This means we must take the initiative in asking questions and listening in order to “know” our wives and thus be able to meet their needs. Does not God invite us to come to Him with our needs, and make our requests known. Why should not the husband do the same? Application? Go home tonight and say to your wife “Tell me about your day, darling.” Then look into her eyes and listen. Then ask: ‘What could I do tonight that would make your life easier?” Then after you have picked her up off the floor, listen and do what she requests. You are being a loving leader.