3 Reasons Why Tender Touch Cultivates Deeper Intimacy

By August 30, 2017February 20th, 2018Communication

When our oldest son was born, we learned more about the unbelievable power of human touch than we ever thought possible. He was born 3 months premature and weighed one pound–and our touch was life-sustaining to him.

Over the months we spent with him in the hospital, we began to talk more about what tender touch does for us in our marriage–not the kind of touch that leads to something more in the bedroom, but the kind of touch that connects and reassures.

Not only does touch cultivate deeper intimacy; it helps us communicate with each other on another level. It sustains and strengthens our connection. And it’s an essential part of a healthy, happy marriage.

1. Touch Helps Us Feel Secure, Known, and Loved

Tender touch conveys our love for one another, and creates a level of emotional safety that opens the door for deeper intimacy. It’s this deep kind of emotional security that leads to more physical desire for one another in the long run. Although we all want to experience a healthy sex life with our spouse, it’s critical to build that foundation.

When we feel valued, we’re more likely to show vulnerability to one another. Affectionate touch doesn’t shut us down; instead, it opens us to that intimacy we’re craving from one another–on multiple levels.

To feel seen, heard, and truly known by your spouse is a powerful component in the health of your marriage. Little daily moments and habits that are meaningful build upon each other and lead to something amazing in our marriages. Use touch to show your spouse that you’re watching, listening to, and valuing him or her.

Like our tiny infant son, touch is essential to our well-being in our marriages; without that daily contact, we can’t thrive.

2. Touch Keeps Us Connected

Tender touch awakens us and reminds us of why we fell in love in the first place. It’s a way to tell one another, “I’m for you.” It’s a reminder that we’re not enemies–we’re on the same team.

Some ways you can stay connected with tender touch are:

  • A massage after a long day at work
  • Comforting hugs when your spouse is down
  • Touching your spouse when you’re talking or laughing
  • Holding hands in town
  • Putting an arm around your spouse during worship

Tender touch is particularly important when you’re going through a difficult time in your life or marriage. If you’ve been experiencing a lot of conflict, problems with your children or extended family, health issues, etc., stay connected by making physical contact daily–two to three minutes total, at minimum. You’ll be surprised how much you accomplish emotionally by intentionally touching one another every day.

3. Touch Communicates Affection Without Agenda

Tender touch isn’t meant to lead directly to the bedroom; instead, it’s meant to convey affection without an agenda attached. It’s meant to be a selfless, supportive act instead of a means to an end.

We touch our spouses because we love them and cherish them; if we only touch them when we have an agenda, they might start to feel resentful of the fact that you only make physical contact when you want something.

Practice tender touch without expecting sex in return. Be playful and affectionate. Passion is an important component of marriage, but it’s not the only form of physical affection you and your spouse need to share.

(As an added bonus, the more physical affection you share without an agenda attached, the more you and your spouse will desire one another in that passionate way! And you’ll find that you inevitably build anticipation for those private moments while you’re showing one another affection.)

Do you and your spouse share tender touch every day? How has it impacted your marriage? Share your experiences in the comments section!


  • Michele Kniffin (Paulson) says:

    We don’t share this everyday. Its hard to incorporate physical touch when arguing. How do you foresee that happening

    • Alma Karen says:

      I usually just keep it small. For example, when we finish fighting (even if nothing got resolved) I might put a hand on his shoulder or back for a few seconds while I make eye contact. Then make a facial expression that still lines up with how i’m feeling but just says “hey. I’m mad at you right now but I still love you.” It gets easier with time

  • Michele Kniffin says:

    We don’t share this everyday. Its hard to incorporate physical touch when arguing. How do you foresee that happening

    • Jane says:

      One technique is to hold each other’s hand while having a disagreement. It keeps the connection and reminds you both that you are on the same team.

    • Glenda Willis says:

      You quit arguing. It takes two to argue. So? Do you want to be right? Prove your point? or have a healthy marriage?
      So, stop. Say, I love you. Then go give it to God in prayer.
      The only person you can change is yourself. God tells us in scripture to not sin in our anger.
      You give it to God, let Him change you and your husband.
      My husband and I are seperated right now. I was too busy trying to prove my point and get him to understand and pushed him away.
      The Lord has changed me so much in this last year and a half.
      What my husband did was wrong, very wrong, but how I reacted to what he did was wrong also.
      So now I wait and pray, and let the Lord deal with both of us.
      I miss my husband so much, not the chaos and contention, but him. I would give anything to have him home.
      It takes two to fix a marriage, you and God.
      Be blessed

      • Lynn says:

        Glenda … I’ve never met you but I just prayed for your marriage. Your advice is dead on. I find myself repeating these words to myself a lot, “Mine to love. God’s to change” and “Shut up and pray.”

        • Andrea says:

          Glenda, I just prayed for your marriage too – thank you for sharing your heart! And Lynn, your ten words are priceless. Good words for us all.

          • Kirsten Smith says:

            Glenda, I am right there with you. My husband did somethings that hurt so badly, and I reacted in such a negative way. He was ready for divorce, didn’t even want seperation. I had to give my while life to God. I realize how much I pushed and pushed. How I wanted him to pay. How I argued about so many stupid things just so I could feel some control when everything was out of control. I am grateful to our marriage counsoler that told him if he left now, there would be no marriage to slavage. She explained a lot, and got him to see things from God’s view. Both our personally counsolers were suggesting seperation. I figure since our marriage counsoler is the one in the middle and talks to our individual counsolers and has seen us the longest, that she knows what she is talking about. I am so glad my husband didn’t leave. And I have done so much soul searching and praying. I will pray for you, Glenda.

      • Tsakani khosa says:

        Woooow, this is true may the Lord answer your prayers to have your husband come back to you

    • Durward Blanks says:

      Pause the argument. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think of the times you were affectionate. Pray for your husband. Not for him to see your point, just pray for him, his health, his heart for God and the family. Allow God to soften your heart towards him.
      Reach out and ask if you can just hold his and. If you can, ask him to pray with you. Even if you sit in silence for a few minutes God is in control. Let Holy Spirit flow.

      The other comments are also excellent suggestions.

  • Shelley says:

    I love this reminder of the simple beauty and power of touch. Thanks for sharing.

  • Linda Erickson says:

    Good words, everyone! Another good blog, Les & Leslie!

  • R Laughlin says:

    Thank you for such wise counsel.

  • Ako says:

    may i ask…is this also applicable with friends?

  • Gene says:

    I don’t feel any of that when being touched. Other than a athletic type massage, I’m not into touching. Is there a problem?

    • Alma Karen says:

      Nope! I don’t know if you’re familiar with The 5 Love Language or not but basically the idea is that there are 5 different ways that people communicate and recievw love:

      1. Quality Time
      2. Physical Touch
      3. Acts of Service
      4. Words of Affirmation
      5. Gifts

      Everyone has some combination of these tendencies but usually people have a primary love Language. For example, my primary love langiage is quality time and I care the least about gift giving.

      My husband’s primary love languag is touch by a huge margin, so non sexual touch is really important in our relationship. But if I were in a relationship with someone like me, touch probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I hope this helps

  • Elsa says:

    Gene, there is nothing wrong with you. God created us all differently. Have you taken the Love Language test (www.5lovelanguages.com)? If not, this is a fun test you and your spouse can take. Take the time for you and your spouse to take the test and then compare the results. My spouse and I are complete opposites. It helps us understand the needs of the other person and why certain things are more important. My top love language is Acts of Service and my lowest is Physical touch. My spouses top is Physical Touch. We are complete opposites, yet we compliment each other. Until we took the test I didn’t understand my spouses’ needs.
    I just finished saying a prayer for you and asking God to help you feel confident in who you are and how He made you. You are perfectly and wonderfully made! NEVER FORGET THAT!!!!!!

  • Velo says:

    We don’t fight and very rarely have a disagreement. She grew up with parents that fought and never displayed affection for each other. so I believe she has never seen love thru touch and affection with out a sexual agenda. I was married and had affection and love from a wonderful women. She passed away at 28 and I was 31. I raised our children on my own and have not remarried. I have spoke to my partner about this and she says I’m not a touchy feely person. I can see this also when she reacts to her children. I try to rub her back and rub her feet as they are always sore and she pushes me away. She is not into hugs or tender kisses on her neck when washing dishes or other times. We have invested 8 years together and my clock is running out. she is not interested in her partners needs. I belive this was also the demise of her marriage. I do love her but I can’t belive I can stay any longer. It is tough to throw out 8 years when you are into your mid 60’s and you both share a lot of the same interests.

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