During our interviews with married couples in 47 countries of the world, we have paid a lot of attention to their body language and their tactile interactions. More often than not, they sit on the couch during our interview with them 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?
We have been married for 46 years ourselves and simply can’t keep our hands off of each other! For many years, we thought we were unique until we began our marriage research some 30+ years ago.
Wow, did we get a big surprise — virtually every happily married couple we interviewed reported the same condition! Over time we have come to call this the “tactile response.” Literally translated, it means, “I touch you here, I touch you there, I touch you everywhere!” Touching is the elixir of a successful marriage! Touching is key to a successful marriage.
Successfully married couples know virtually everything about each other. They have studied in infinite detail how their spouse looks, feels, and acts. They know what makes their love work, and can recite in scripture and verse the best qualities of each other. They express their admiration about each other. They love each other for a whole bunch of reasons, and they don’t mind telling you what they are.
What do their words about each other have to do with touching? Here’s what we have observed—when couples tell us something special about their spouse in response to our questions, they touch each other as if to emphasize the importance of their words. Touching is 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 a special kind of a Morse Code—a substitute for language and the expression of feeling. Happily married couples have mastered the Morse Code of marriage – it’s called touching.
One couple with an amazingly successful marriage explained that if they pass each other 100 times a day, they touch each other 100 times a day. This couple truly understands the concept of “I love you so much I simply must touch you.” When you touch someone, you are acknowledging their presence and expressing genuine love.
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
**For marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, read the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley). Available in print or electronic formats wherever books are sold. Learn more about America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.