Affection in Your Relationship

In the next three weeks I will be writing about one of the most important ingredients I believe you can have in a successful relationship and that is what I call A.W.E. (Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) This week is focused on affection.

Affection in Your Relationship

The basic need of all people is to love and be loved. One of the basic ingredients for a marriage to thrive is affection. If you are in a marriage with very little non-sexual and sexual affection, you most likely are in a disconnected phase of your relationship. Some studies report that it takes 8 to 10 meaningful touches a day for a person to thrive. You can often create an atmosphere of intimacy and closeness through affection. If you are not naturally affectionate, then don’t fake being overly mushy, but work on it. If your family background or ethnicity didn’t offer much affection to you when you were growing up, then you’ll need to take extra effort to work on it, but don’t hold back or use it as an excuse for a lack of connection in your marriage. Couples who hold hands, kiss passionately, bring gifts like flowers and chocolate to each other are couples who have a much better chance of a healthy relationship. Back rubs work, saying I love you in 100 different ways works, tenderness and honoring your spouse works for your relationship. Paul’s advice to the Roman church was, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10) You may not feel like showering your spouse with affection. No matter how you feel, choose to intentionally focus on bringing affection to your relationship. In most relationships, you will see immediate results.

Showering your spouse with affection means placing major deposits in their emotional bank accounts. It is amazing how an empathetic hug can make all the difference in turning your relationship from negative to a positive. Nagging, shaming, rudeness, irritability, and guilt won’t bring connection to your relationship. Those are all withdrawals to your spouse’s emotional bank account. Keep the emotional account full of affection and when you take a withdrawal (and you will definitely need to at times), the account won’t move to empty.

Personally, I am amazed at how often Cathy has changed my mood and the atmosphere of our home with a simple gesture of affection. One day I came home frustrated at an employee. After sharing my irritation with Cathy, instead of trying to fix it, she just gave me an extra-long hug and a kiss and simply said, “I can see why that would bug you.” Her show of affection was basically saying, “I understand, and I feel your pain, but now you are home and it is going to be okay.”

How’s  your affection level in your marriage and what can you do to improve it?

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

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    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

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