5 Love Languages: Physical Touch

I’m currently reading the 5 Love Languages for Men by Dr. Gary Chapman. Click here if you want to purchase the book for yourself.

Dr. Gary Chapman’s famous approach is that we all speak different love languages, and he categorizes them as:

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

Today is about Physical Touch

This is certainly a Biblical concept, to show affection by physical touch.

  • An intimate embrace between a husband and wife (Song of Solomon 2:6; 8:3; Genesis 16:5).
  • A husband showing affection to his wife, like Isaac did to Rebekah (Genesis 26:8).
  • According to Solomon, there is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3:5). This tells us that physical touch is important, but it also shows us that we must have wisdom and prudence in when to use it.
  • A mother embracing a son (2 Kings 4:17).
  • A holy kiss as a greeting (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20).
  • Think of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13), and consider how Mary washed Jesus’ feet (John 12).
  • Jesus, as a loving shepherd, holds us in His arms (Isaiah 40:11).

Dr. Gary Chapman once again gives some practical ways to show affection to our wives by physical touch. One important point, before we list some of those practical tips is to remember that not all physical touch is something to lead to the bedroom. If your wife thinks that the only reason you are hugging her is because you want something “more,” she most likely will resent that.

Here are some ways Dr. Chapman suggests that we can communicate affection to our wives through physical touch:

  • Give a hug
  • Hold her hand
  • Put your arm around her
  • Give her a high-five
  • Rubbing her shoulder
  • Playfully wrestling with her
  • Stroking her hair
  • Caress her back
  • Scoot in closer when sitting in a booth at a restaurant.

Again, I encourage you to purchase this book and read it. It is a very helpful guide to encourage us as men to carry out the Lord’s instruction to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5).

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
(Eph 5:25-31)


Showing Endearment

Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife (Genesis 26:8).

Isaac went into Philistine territory, and was afraid that the men there would steal his wife and kill him, so he lied about being married to Rebekah. However, in time, he could not hide his affection for his wife, and he was “caught” showing affection to Rebekah. Other versions say Isaac was “laughing” with Rebekah (ESV), or he was “caressing” her (NASB). Young’s Literal Translation says he was “playing” with Rebekah.

I love the next verse where Abimelech king of the Philistines said, “Quite obviously she is your wife” (Genesis 26:9). Quite obviously. Something to think about men, isn’t it?

In years past, I’ve heard preachers ask the question, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Great question, but I want to take that concept and apply it to our marriages. Would you have been “caught” showing endearment to your wife? I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about intimacy, affection and tenderness. Two people who truly love to be around each other. A man who is madly in love with his wife, and he can’t help showing it to her.

Showing Endearment

Is your wife your sweetheart? Rebekah was Isaac’s sweetheart, and that fact could not be hidden, to Rebekah nor to others observing. Do we play with our wives? Are we daily showing endearment to our wives?

A man told me one time that he could go into a restaurant and tell you which couples were dating and which couples were already married. His observation (right or wrong, it was his observation) was that the couples who were dating were looking deeply into each other’s eyes and talking and laughing. The married couples were just looking down and eating, with the occasional word to each other. Now I know that is not true for all couples, but there is some general truth in this observation.

Men, in most marriages, for many different reasons the intimacy and tenderness may have been lost, but it can be rebuilt. Fight hard for this in your marriages, men, make your wife your sweetheart again. Don’t forget to notice her perfume. Compliment her genuinely. Come up behind her and just hold her. Touch her lovingly and tenderly. Find ways to “play” with her; just have some fun together. Be creative. Keep your eyes on her, and only on her.

Rebekah was “quite obviously” Isaac’s wife.