By: Shannon Ralph
Reason #6: Little touches.
I am working from home today and Ruanita is getting a massage. Well, not really. She is being massaged without actually being touched. A friend of hers is studying “energy healing” and is using Ruanita as a practice guinea pig. Ruanita is sitting upright on our living room ottoman while her friend appears to be acting out a massage without actually touching her. Tweaking her chakras, I guess. Like charades. I am incredibly tempted to break the deafening silence by yelling, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!” I am trying my best to refrain.
In addition to now craving a rousing game of charades, Ruanita’s touchless massage has me thinking about all the ways that we incorporate touch into our marriage. Like all married couples, Ruanita and I touch one another. Often. I am not talking about sexual touching. I am not talking about bumping into one another in our too-small kitchen or during our nightly struggles to coerce three children to brush their teeth in one tiny bathroom. I am talking about the small ways we touch one another every day. On purpose. Like most married couples, our touching is done with little or no thought. It is instinctual.
When Ruanita and I watch television at night, I sit in my favorite chair and she reclines on the couch. She will be on her laptop. I will be on my Nook. We will not be talking. Or even looking at one another. But nine times out of ten our toes will be touching on our shared ottoman. My feet will rub hers under the blanket we are sharing. I don’t think about it. I just do it.
When we enter a room—a restaurant, a friend’s house, a movie theater—I will place my hand on Ruanita’s lower back. As if to guide her. As if to escort her safely through the doorway. As if she may just get lost without me. I do not know why I do this. It is a habit. An instinct.
When Ruanita is standing at the kitchen sink washing the dishes, I will rub her back as I walk past. When I am driving, Ruanita will reach out and grab my hand and hold it in her lap. I will put my hand on her shoulder when I reach across the table. She will stop to briefly wrap her arms around my waist as I am standing at the stove cooking dinner. We will sit side by side on a park bench with our knees touching as we watch our kids play at the park.
These are simple gestures, but telling ones. They tell a story of love. Of partnership. Of commitment. Of mutual respect. Of affection. They tell the story of a marriage.
These little touches are one more way that my marriage is just like your marriage.