A few years ago Josh and I were strolling thru the mall hand-in-hand when a little elderly man shuffled towards us, cane in hand. I was concerned for a moment that he didn’t see us and began to ease out of his way, until he reached out a hand and warm smile to stop us, “Excuse me there, young man!”
We slowed. “Yes, sir?” my good mannered, southern boy responded.
“You two married?” The bluntness of his question shocked us both momentarily. I got the distinct impression we had a “talkin’ to” coming our way. I glanced around nervously, racking my brain. What in the world did we DO?
“Um…yes, sir?” Josh offered, more a question than an answer.
The old man stared silently for a moment at our still intertwined hands, then smiled up at us, eyes twinkling, “My wife, she was my best friend in the whole world. I loved her all my life. Gracious, I still love her.” He chuckled quietly to himself.
He had our attention, but neither of knew where he was going or whether to respond.
“She was beautiful, really, my best friend. I miss her every day.” He paused, staring at the floor.
I resisted reaching for him, this complete stranger, wrapping him in my arms like a beloved grandfather I’d known all my life.
He looked up suddenly serious, shuffling closer, pointing emphatically as he spoke, “Now you listen to me, you hear. Do you know, I held my wife’s hand every day. That’s what you do, you hold hands. You have to touch. That’s how you love. If you want to be in love all your life, don’t ever stop holdin’ hands.” He slouched back slightly, eyes twinkling, beaming as if he’d just entrusted us with the secret to life.
I grinned slowly ear to ear. I had just fallen in love with the old man. I was tempted to drag him to the nearest bench begging to hear his life story.
“Thank you,” I whispered with absolute sincerity, awestruck by his simple, violent wisdom.
With a knowing smile, he patted Josh firmly on the shoulder and shuffled away.
We turned to watch him. “Wow,” Josh breathed, breaking his silence.
“Yeah,” I responded, shaking my head in disbelief, “what a treasure.”
“What?” he asked. “The old man or what he said?”
I turned to him, squeezing his hand, “Both. Absolutely both.”
Holding hands may seem an insignificant ‘secret’, but don’t underestimate the power of such a simple, profoundly intimate act. When you take your spouses’ hand you’re communicating, “I’m with you. We’re in this together. I want to be here.”
It’s a simple practice in safeguarding your marriage as well, as you’re communicating to the rest of the world, “I’m with him.” (Don’t even try, suckers!)
And if you’ve read The Sexually Confident Wife you’re also familiar with the power of oxytocin in regard to touch, so don’t be surprised if a little hand holding turns in to a whole lot more!
Do you and your husband or wife hold hands frequently? If not, would you consider a 7-day hand holding challenge?