Our ability to become emotionally involved with others and to be vulnerable to them is directly related to our experiences of having been stroked, caressed, and cuddled as children. We learn affection from the tender models in our lives. We learn security from the warmth of being held close.
Before birth, a baby is enveloped in the soft, warm embrace of the womb. After birth, the child left untouched and uncuddled will form a bond with anything given it to touch, even a stuff toy. If all human tactile experience is denied, the baby will die.
Our need for touch continues throughout our lifetimes. In fact, our body chemistry changes when we are physically closet to another person. When a person is touched, the amount of hemoglobin in the blood – which carries oxygen and helps prevent disease and speed recovery from illness – increases significantly. In one animal study, rabbits that were held close and stroked often developed less hardening of the arteries than unstroked, unhugged rabbits!
If you are uncomfortable with intimacy or close contact, you can learn to become comfortable. It will require effort, but the results will be worth it!
*God’s Little Devotional Book for Couples
~ Psalm 119:76