Abstinence and Physical Touch

This article is part of a series called Abstinence and the love languages.

The key to understanding Physical Touch as a love language is to realize it’s not about sex. If this is your spouse’s primary love language, physical proximity and interaction is key to making him or her feel seen and appreciated.

NOTE: Some who don’t naturally speak Physical Touch may be concerned that any physical contact will put them in a place that makes abstinence unreasonably challenging. While it’s up to you and your spouse to determine what signs of affection work best for your relationship given your individual idiosyncrasies, it must be said that someone who cannot hug their spouse without an uncontrollable urge to return to the bedroom does not have self-mastery. If your beloved speaks Physical Touch as a primary love language, you owe it to him or her (and yourself!) to learn to speak that language in a sacrificial way. Spend real time and effort developing the virtue of self-control and healing wounds that may make innocent physical contact difficult for you. Husbands and wives should not be afraid of each other.

Here are just a few practical ways to speak the language of Physical Touch:

  • Hug her around the waist from behind while she’s doing dishes
  • Hold his hand and gently rub your thumb over his
  • Ruffle his hair as you walk by his spot at the dinner table
  • It sounds cheesy, but footsies!
  • Find an excuse to give him a high-five
  • Peck her on the cheek for no reason at all
  • Make a point to sustain eye contact, especially if you’re already holding hands across a table or chatting with one another
  • Pull him close to you while you watch Netflix (this makes him feel needed!)
  • Pull her into your lap because you can
  • Place your hand on his arm at Mass
  • Cup her face in your hands while you tell her something sweet
  • Give him a shoulder massage
  • Rub her scalp and run your fingers through her hair
  • Tickle fight
  • Dance to music in the kitchen (it’s really healthy for children to see their parents exchanging sign of affection…kiss him during the family kitchen dance party!)
  • Let’s be real: for some of us, a playful smack on the rear can go a long way in feeling desired
  • Offer her your elbow when you’re walking to the car
  • Find an excuse to get close: teach him to play an instrument like the piano, or teach her to play the guitar
  • Foot massages, anyone?
  • Offer to put the clear topcoat on her nails, or to do her nails from start to finish if you’ve got a steady hand
  • Scratch his back
  • Hold hands while you pray together
  • Make a tradition to put your wedding bands on one another’s fingers every morning
  • Help her put on her coat, even though she can do it herself
  • Kiss his forehead
  • Kiss her hand
  • Whisper sweet nothings in his ear — it’s an excuse to get close
  • Sit back-to-back while you read a book or scroll through social media
  • Go on a date that involves physical cooperation: run a mud obstacle race, take a ballroom class, learn to ice skate

What about the other love languages? Click here.

— CCL Staff Member