Leading Your Marriage Affectionately


Communi­cate your desires with your spouse and listen attentively to his or hers. You'll discover more of God's blessing—and an affectionate marriage relationship.

I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me. Song of Solomon 7:10, NASB

Touch is one of the most powerful of our five senses, but too often couples deprive themselves of this pathway to closeness. Teresa and I often suggest to couples that they take turns leading one another in nonsexual touching. We suggest that both husbands and wives initiate times when they express their love through the sense of touch. It's also important that both spouses sense the security of shared closeness that doesn't always end with sexual intercourse. Each person must feel secure that when his or her spouse initiates physical touch, he or she is leading toward closeness and intimacy—not necessarily sex. We recommended three "touch exercises" to increase closeness through nonsexual touching.

First, a hand massage. With palms up, begin tracing lightly your spouse's palm. Trace each finger all the way to the tip, touching each fin­gerprint in a light circular motion. Trace the inside of each finger, pausing to move back and forth where two fingers join at the palm.

Second, a foot bath. Take turns washing and bathing each other's feet. Don't talk; just relax. The purpose isn't the washing but relaxing and enjoy­ment. Use your hands or try a sponge as well. Go slowly and don't rush.

Finally, we suggest synchronous breathing. Lie facing each other and look into each other's eyes. Lie close enough to feel your spouse's breathing rhythm. Soon you will find a common rise and fall in your inhalation-exhalation. Alter this pattern by fitting like spoons as you hold one another. Place her back against his abdomen. After breathing is synchronized, close your eyes and just relax, feeling the sensations.

Try some of these exercises or discuss your own. Above all, communi­cate your desires with your spouse and listen attentively to his or hers. You'll discover more of God's blessing—an affectionate marriage relationship.

Which of the nonsexual touching exercises will you initiate with your spouse?

Father, lead us into the intimacy You desire.


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