9 Ways to Love Through Physical Touch

When we think of physical touch as a love language, most likely, we automatically think of physical intimacy, or sex. And although we value the importance of the sexual relationship in the context of marriage, do you know that there are more ways to express love through physical touch than just having sex?

Many of the couples we speak with can be a bit embarrassed to admit that the level of physical intimacy they have is one of the areas of contention. But when we recognize that, according to Gary Chapman, physical touch is one of the five main love languages, we may be able to find a way to meet our spouse’s needs.

If your spouse has physical touch as a top love language, he or she will most likely feel most loved when you give him or her a hug, a kiss, or even a pat on the back. The problem comes when you are not too used to expressing physical affection! In this post, we hope to give you practical ideas on how to use touch as a way to make your partner feel loved. Understanding your spouse’s need will also help you make choices about pursuing a regular time of physical intimacy.

Understanding your spouse’s need for physical touch will help you make choices about pursuing a regular time of physical intimacy.   
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9 Ways to Express Love Through Physical Touch

Here are some ways to help you meet your spouse’s need to feel loved through physical touch:

1. Offer to give him or her a massage.

People who have physical touch as their top love language usually enjoy a massage. (Of course, that’s not a stereotype, so make sure your spouse enjoys it, too!) But don’t think that it has to be a full-blown one hour thing! It can be a back rub for a few minutes, or a foot massage, or a full-body massage, depending on your time and energy. One couple I know enjoys their bonding time of talking before bedtime while the wife massages her husband’s back.

Invest in nice-scented oils to make it an enjoyable experience for both of you. Some couples even add aromatherapy candles to set the spa-like mood, but it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Our take is that the simpler it is to do, the more sustainable it becomes.

2. Hold hands or put an arm around the shoulder.

Holding hands is a simple gesture, but some people do it more automatically than others. If you are not used to physical affection, start with holding hands, perhaps while going on a walk, or when going on a drive. Or, you can put your arm around your wife’s shoulder as you go shopping. Squeeze hands once in a while, too, just to let each other know that you are present, or as a sign of affection.

3. Give a pat on the back.

If your spouse has physical touch as a top love language, you can add a pat on the back for times when you would like to affirm or comfort them. That way, not only are you verbally appreciating them, they will also receive the message from the physical affection you’re adding to the experience.

4. Offer to give a back scrub or back scratch!

A backsrub during a bath or shower time is another way to be physically in touch with your spouse. You can consider scheduling this in once a week, and it can help you make sure you keep your partner’s love tank filled. In our case, Joy would regularly ask me to scratch her back. Back scratching is considered to give us low grade pain, and research shows that we as human beings tend to find low-grade pain very comforting!

5. Add a regular couch/cuddling time.

When couples become parents, a lot of us lose that time of just “the two of us.” Some experts recommend having a regular “couch time” that the kids know are off-limits for them; some couples do it every night, others a few times a week. The sooner they learn to respect that boundary, the better for mom and dad!

If you haven’t started couch time yet, we recommend you to set a time at least once a week. During this time, you get to cuddle while you sip coffee or watch a favorite movie or TV show. Or, if your TV is in your bedroom, this can equal snuggling up in bed to watch a show together. For us, we love watching Netflix together: Joy enjoys cooking shows and Korean drama, or sometimes we would watch TedTalks together.

6. Learn to dance together.

Dancing is an activity that involves a high level of touching. If your spouse’s love language is physical touch, try to see if you can dance once in a while, even just in your own living room, or perhaps by taking lessons together.

7. Run your hands through his or her hair.

When you were dating, doing things like running your fingers through your partner’s hair may have been second nature. But now that you are married, sometimes it’s not as natural to do. Try to do it during couch time or just before going to sleep.

For example, when Joy and I were dating, she would ask me to comb her hair. Now, once in a while she would still ask me to do that.

8. Hug and kiss regularly.

It can be as simple as a hug when your spouse gets home from work, or a kiss whenever you separate. Adding it to the daily routine means that your partner gets regular doses to fill up his or her touch-o-meter.

We have friends who recommended us to do the 20-second hug; they would do it every time they leave for work, and we also started doing it ourselves. Try it, too!

9. Initiate sex.

If your spouse’s top love language is physical touch, it will mean loads to him or her when you initiate to have sex. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but when you understand how much it means to your partner, you can choose to schedule it in.

You may say, sex needs to be spontaneous, we don’t “schedule” it. But hear us out. Why is this important? If you’re the spouse that doesn’t always like to have sex, a lot of the time, it may have to do with being too physically exhausted or mentally drained. When it’s on your schedule, you can have an action plan to keep from using up all your energy during the day, or to make sure you get to reenergize so that you have something left to give to your partner by nighttime. Alternatively, who says you need to wait for nighttime to have sex?

Practicing Physical Affection

Being physically affectionate can be a natural personality, or it can be something you develop, especially if your partner thrives from this way of feeling loved. The important thing to remember about the love languages is that it’s a way for us to find ways to make sure our spouse knows we love them because we are speaking in a way that they can receive the message. The more we fill up their love tanks, the more we are investing in the strength of our relationship.

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