Failure to Thrive

What do The Beatles, Diana Ross, The Doors, Mariah Carey and Rod Stewart all have in common?  All of them had songs that made it to the top charts about today’s topic.  (I will share the titles at the end of the post).   Many relationships are suffering from the medical condition known as “Failure to Thrive”.   In the early 1900’s, Dr. Luther Emmet Holt was known as one of America’s first and finest pediatricians. Dr. Holt came to the conclusion that parents were spoiling their children by cuddling and holding them too much. Good parents took notice and immediately followed his order, beginning a trend of “hands-off” parenting.

Within just a few years, doctors across the nation started to notice a dramatic increase in infant deaths-particularly in seemingly healthy babies. It soon became apparent that these infants experienced “Failure to Thrive” simply because they were not getting enough human contact through touch. There are a host of studies of babies in orphanages concluding that those infants who suffered from touch deprivation achieved only half of the height normal for their age. This condition has come to be known in the medical field as “failure to thrive”.

Working with couples for the past two decades, I have learned that many relationships also suffer from “failure to thrive” because of the lack of touch in the relationship. Many couples have a “hands-off” relational style that is negatively impacting their relationship. Touch is critical to a phenomenal marriage. In fact, one of the ways to begin to transition a roommate marriage to a soul mate marriage it to begin to insert touch into your relationship on a daily basis. When you are standing in line at the grocery store, put your hand on your spouse’s shoulder. Make the decision that when you are walking, hold hands. Gentle caresses, cuddling, sitting close to one another both privately and in public, holding one another, and simply reaching out to touch are great disciplines that create great marriages. Touch creates a love connection. Many relationships start out with a great deal of touch but begin to neglect it later in the relationship. It requires being intentional. I have found that even when one spouse is obstinate and checking out of the relationship, touch is an incredible tool to begin to recreate a connection.

I share with my clients that as they are touching their spouse, think to themselves, this touch means that I still believe in you, I still believe in us, and I am not giving up on this marriage. Every time I touch my wife I think, you are the only person in the world that I touch like this, and I touch you because I adore you and I am so glad that you are my wife. If your relationship is suffering from “failure to thrive”, there is hope. The remedy for this disorder is loving touch. Start today! You will be glad that you did and your relationship will improve.  Please share this post with anyone who may benefit.  The five songs that I referenced at the beginning of this post were I want to hold your hands, Touch me in the morning, Touch me, Touch my body and Love Touch.