I saw something beautiful this morning at the Cracker Barrel. While I was standing in line waiting to be seated I observed the couple in front of me. This husband and wife were in their 80’s. The husband looked down at his wife, smiled at her, and the two of them embraced in the most beautiful public hug I have ever witnessed. They were clearly oblivious to anything else around them. I later learned that they are celebrating their 62-year wedding anniversary. I can’t help but believe that there is a connection between 62 years of marriage and this hug. No doubt there has been many hugs in their 62 years together. How about you and your spouse? Is hugging part of the rhythm of your relationship? If not, now is a great time to start. Research is conclusive. Hugging not only improves your marriage it also improves your health.
The health benefits are well documented. Hugging is effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. Hugs are proven to instantly boost oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger. Oxytocin has also been linked to anti-aging benefits that cause us to feel younger and healthier. Hugging also improves marriages. When you hug your spouse you are communicating some very powerful messages. Messages like, “You are the most important person in my life and I love you” and “I am here for you no matter what” and “You are attractive”. Sometimes the hug conveys “I am sorry I really messed up”. Hugging builds trust and intimacy into the marriage.
For many of the marriages that I work with, hugging has gone by the wayside. This creates a disconnect that will lead to a marriage crisis. The two enemies to hugging are business and apathy. Some couples get so busy that they don’t take the time to connect with a hug. Some couples just don’t think about it so it never happens. I have talked to some women who report that the reason they don’t hug, is that they are afraid that every time they hug their spouse it has to lead to sex.
Regardless of the reasons why hugging has maybe not been a part of your relationships DNA, make a commitment today. Make a commitment that you are going to work on hugging more. I recommend at least 5 hugs a day. One in the morning when you wake, one when you are leaving each other, one when you greet one another after you have been separated, one before bed and one other random hug throughout the day. I promise you this hugging regimen will strengthen your marriage, improve your health and it just might help you look and feel younger.