Extra Virgin :: The Importance of Non-Sexual Affection
I once heard a therapist talk about the importance of non-sexual affection. In fact, in certain dire situations he counsels couples to take a short break from sex and rely completely on non-sexual affection.
This was so fascinating because I hadn’t realized how often affection is sexual in the context of a marriage. It seems like we often think of affection only in terms of physical affection, which almost always has a sexual component for a married couple. But when this happens, it’s so easy to forget all of the different ways to show our love to our spouse!
In the most popular book about non-sexual affection, Dr. Gary Chapman lists five “love languages” that you can use to communicate or receive love ::
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
- Receiving Gifts
I like the idea of employing these different methods of affection, without wondering, “Will he want to have sex with me?” “Does this make me more desirable?”, etc. Love is so much more than sex, and just because we have the gift of sex doesn’t mean we should forget about all the other ways to communicate our affection!
Logan loves to buy me things to show his affection, anything from a Chick-fil-A lemonade to a dining room table. I love his gifts, not only because they’re fun to receive, but because I know it’s his way of saying, “I love you.” My instinct is to show my love with words of affirmation, so I’m often writing him notes or texts or sitting him down to tell him just how much he means to me. Sometimes I’ll find one of these notes tucked into the corner of his desk, years later. These forms of affection can be so meaningful, but it’s crazy how often I can forget to make the effort to communicate my love!
What about you? How do you communicate your affection to those you love? What form of affection is most likely to make you feel loved? Do you think non-sexual forms of affection are important in a marriage? Why or why not?
(Photo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward found here)