I’ve always enjoyed seeing couples holding hands, especially older couples with some “miles” on their marriage. They just look so sweet. I love that look so often seen on their faces: satisfied, happy, just enjoying life. It makes me think, I want us to be like that someday.
But that someday for them likely started as a habit years ago. As I’ve blogged about before, I believe there are benefits to simple habits in marriage, like walking together, continuing to date each other, and even making out.
I think this world would be a better place if more married couples would hold hands. It’s a simple sign of solidarity and a symptom of a good relationship. But it is also something that can help strengthen the marriage. If you spend more time holding hands, maybe you’ll see some of these benefits yourself:
1. Lower stress
Research at the University of Virginia several years ago shows that while holding a stranger’s hand in a stressful situation is calming, holding a spouse’s hand is significantly more helpful. Other research suggests that hand-holding does this by reducing stress-related activities in the brain itself. The lower cortisol level in your body, affected by this brain activity, also allows the immune system to be healthier.
2. Stronger emotional bonding
Studies show that the hormones released when we encounter human touch tend to increase a sense of trust and security, which are critical to emotional and physical intimacy in a healthy marriage.
3. Acceptance and love
There are times when a hold and squeeze in your spouse’s hand can tell each other “I love you and I accept you.” It’s a simple gesture, but the interlocking of the fingers is almost symbolic of the interlocking of the hearts and lives you’ve woven together. It’s a way to say a lot to each other even when you have no words to say out loud.
4. Showing solidarity
The world is watching marriages now more than ever. As millennials wait longer and wonder louder if it’s right for them, each marriage has something to say to the world. The simple act of holding hands has been viewed universally across cultures as a sign of solidarity. Holding your spouse’s hand says “we are in this together.” Marriage does matter!
Think back to when you were first dating. Early on, holding hands was exciting and it helped you gauge the condition and depth of your relationship. You might have wondered “Will she object if I touch her hand, or hold it?” Now, hand-holding might seem silly or passe because of the miles you have on your marriage. But turn that around, and think of hand holding as your way to show each other and the world your relationship is still fresh and more meaningful than ever.
What other benefits do you feel when you hold hands with your spouse? Please share your comments.