Marital Neglect

Retail clerks who graze the hands of customers when exchanging money are rated higher in customer service than those who do not. That’s because physical contact affects how we feel about someone more than we realize. Touch creates more than just a physical connection.

Take note of how you feel next time someone gently puts their hand on your shoulder. Does it change the nature of the ensuing dialogue? Does it set the stage for a more pleasant discussion? How did their touch make you feel about them?

Many people complain that their spouse doesn’t pay enough attention to them–they complain about marital neglect. It could be that they need to talk more. But they also probably need to touch more.

Marital Neglect

It’s critical that you and your spouse touch each other regularly. Loving physical contact will create a connection between you. A gentle touch, a light stroke, or a warm kiss will connect your cores—it’s a touch charge.

I suggest at least one touch charge in the morning and at least one more in the evening. You should try not to let more than twelve hours go by without being physically attentive to each other.

Unlike the talk charge, the three touch charge per day minimum applies to each spouse, which means that your marriage will experience six touch charges per day. If your spouse strokes your cheek while you’re reading the newspaper and you respond by cuddling your spouse’s hand, that counts as one touch charge for each of you.

Not all touches count. If you’re taking the milk out of the refrigerator, and you accidentally bump into your spouse, it doesn’t count as a touch charge. Also, degrading pats on the buttocks or pinches of the tummy don’t count. A touch charge is not simply physical contact; it’s positive, loving, physical contact.

My wife and I sometimes go out of our way, interrupting whatever we are doing, in order to caress each other. Sometimes the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is roll over and kiss my wife. Touch charges keep us connected, physically and emotionally, and remind us that we are each other’s priority.

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