The need for affection is a craving for the expression of care in words, hugs, kisses, cards, gifts, and courtesies.
Affection symbolizes security, protection, comfort, and approval – vitally important ingredients in any relationship. Affectionate acts communicate “I’ll care for you and protect you”; “You’re valuable to me”; “I’m concerned about the problems you face”; and “I will help you overcome those problems.”
A simple hug can say those things. When we hug our friends and relatives, we are expressing our care for them. And there are other ways to show our affection. A greeting card, an “I love you” note, a bouquet of flowers, holding hands, walks together after dinner, back rubs, phone calls, and conversations with thoughtful and loving expressions can all communicate affection.
Affection is, for many, the essential cement of a relationship. Without it, many people feel totally alienated. With it, they become emotionally bonded to the one showing the affection. If you feel terrific when you receive affection and feel frustrated when you don’t, you have the emotional need for affection, and it should be on your list of most important emotional needs.
Anyone can learn to be affectionate. It’s a matter of learning new habits that will make you an affectionate spouse. Here are some habits one wife suggested for her husband:
- Hug and kiss me every morning while we’re still in bed.
- Tell me that you love me while we’re having breakfast.
- Kiss me before you leave for work.
- Call me during the day to see how I’m doing.
- Bring me flowers once in a while as a surprise.
- Call me after work so I know when to expect you.
- Help with the dishes after dinner.
- Put your arm around me or hold my hand when we’re sitting together.
- Hug and kiss me every night before going to sleep.
Article by Williard F. Harley, Jr. author of “I Promise You: Preparing for a Marriage that Will Last a Lifetime”. Used with permission by Marriage Magazine, Winter 2012.