Touch for Better Marital Health

Touch for Better Marital Health

Sam Roberts, counsellor at Olive Branch Counselling and Therapy

Sam Roberts, counsellor at Olive Branch Counselling and Therapy

It’s often hard for men to express themselves, leave alone show affection to their loved ones. We speak with counsellor Sam Roberts from Olive Branch Counselling and Therapy Haven on how touch can help increase affection between spouses.

(Q) How important is touch in a healthy relationship?

(A) Touch is one of the ways of expressing love in a relationship. It is however not everyone’s dominant expression of love and hence it has to be expressed appropriately and at the right time. If expressed rightly, it can and will help enhance a healthy relationship.

(Q) What constitutes touch? Does a pat on the back or a hand on the shoulder count or does it have to be a full-on hug?

(A) Touch can be in different forms. A quick touch can keep one connected, a soft touch can calm nerves, holding of hands can give some a great sense of assurance while a warm embrace or hug can comfort your partner in crisis and sometimes a kiss on the cheek or forehead can be a simple expression of love.

(Q) Are Singaporean or Asian men in general less tactile with their partners than men of some other cultures?

(A) In the West, non-verbal communication such as touch is encouraged in social settings where it is considered as a friendly or affectionate gesture, but not Asia, hence men are generally less tactile in Asia. However, Singapore being a dynamic multicultural and multiracial society is seeing a shift in how families are beginning to express love more physically and I do see a rise in men being more tactile with their partners.

(Q) Does modern technology like smart phones play a part in reducing contact between couples?

(A) Although modern technology has improved quality of life in many ways with also positive impacts on social interactions, technology like smartphones can very much reduce physical and face-to-face contact between couples. I have come across couples who take out their frustrations or differences on issues over text messages because they don’t want to face each other. Such communication has not helped but has further damaged their relationships.

(Q) What can women with partners who are less tactile than they would like, do to encourage them to be cuddlier? 

(A) This is a hard question to answer. Well, it is evident to me that sometimes women are unable or fail to express their feelings to men and men cannot understand what women feel. Hence, if couples can work on their communications to be able to freely express and understand each other’s needs and expectations it would be a good place to start.

(Q) Are there any methods you can recommend for men to increase the amount of physical contact they have with their partners or make them more mindful of the importance of touch?

(A) It would be difficult to recommend any specific methods to increase physical contact as this is subject to what can be happening in an individual’s personal environment like work, family, etc., that could emotionally affect him.

It is therefore important to first understand what is happening in your partner’s life and establish good communications. Do not hesitate to express your expectations of receiving touch that makes you feel loved. Understand your partner’s dominant love language and do what best you can to express your love to enhance the relationship.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Profile photo of Sam Roberts courtesy of Olive Branch Counselling and Therapy Haven

 

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