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The Power of Giving Affection

Paige Smith

What a better time to delve into the power of giving affection than the week entering Valentines Day, the day of love.

Think back to grade school where you might have exchanged those cute hot pink valentines cards that came ready with a heart shaped lollipop and a simple yet touching message. It might have said “Be mine” or “Will you be my valentine?”

Or maybe you remember the sweet hearts, those chalky pastel candies with promises of love and admiration inscribed on them. I know I would look through them and give them out to friends discriminately deciding which message fit which person best. I felt like a princess passing out white lilies to the suitors and civilians in my kingdom.

One for you, one for you, and one for you.

As soon as the teacher gave us all the queue to pass out our valentines, I would go one by one to each desk and with such excitement and grandeur dole out my individually wrapped goodies.

Usually I had spent the night before up with my mom baking boxed brownies until the house filled with the smell of fresh baked goods. Other years a mixed bag of candy had to suffice. But no matter how makeshift or homemade my valentines were I was always thrilled to pass them out.

I knew the excitement each person would have as they received the gift I (or perhaps more accurately my mother) had so thoughtfully made and/or purchased for them.

I wasn’t the only one ready to pass out my bag of individual valentines. By the time I had completed my voyage around home room emptying my cargo of miniature treats and cards I returned to my own desk to a welcoming homecoming of stack of cards and goodies all specifically for me! I beamed as I read each note, and heartily ate each cookie and chocolate feeling as sweet as the treats I bit into.

Why was this moment so special for me and so many of my other grade school peers?

As inconsequential as passing out colorful notes and sugary treats may have seemed, we were operating in something many of us fail to do as adults: we were meeting the relational need of affection.

With each hug, loving message, and thoughtful gift we were showing each other affection, a deep need we never grow out of.

Affection is “a tender attachment, fondness” and can be expressed by words of tenderness or appropriate, loving physical touch (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Affection is a relational need, meaning that having it in our lives and relationships is just as vital to our health and well being as food or water.

Many times it’s easier to see our needs when we look at infants. After being around a baby for a little while it becomes clear babies do not only cry out when they need to be changed or are hungry, but often out of a basic need to be held. They need Affection.

Now scientists are discovering that children who lacked affection as a new borne are developing psychological deficiencies and “are at higher risk for behavioral, emotional, and social problems as they grow up” (“How Important is Physical Contact with your Children” Harmon).

It’s undeniable affection is essential to us and is needed in the midst of any healthy relationship, whether parent to child, friend to friend, sibling to sibling, spouse to spouse, etc.

Affection is so important because it communicates to the other person that you care about them. It expresses that you love them and there is a gentle, tender place for them in your heart.

Without the warmth of affection in a relationship the person will never be able to fully trust the relationship is a safe, welcoming place.

Affection helps bring love from head knowledge to the heart. When you begin giving affection to your loved ones you will see them begin to open up even more as your love for them begins to be a more felt truth than just a known one.

If you have never considered yourself an affectionate person don’t be discouraged. Love is something we all are perfected in and it’s okay to have an area of development. Below is a helpful list to begin practicing affection in our day to day relationships.

5 Practical ways to show affection are:

1. Using words of care such as “I love you”
2. Giving appropriate touch
(appropriate would be based on the mutual level of relationship and comfort of everyone involved) such as a hug, kiss, or holding hands
3. Telling someone “I care about you”
4. Gently rubbing a loved one on the back or arm
5. Giving a note that says how you feel about the person.

Ultimately the best way we can give is to first receive.

I encourage you to meditate on Jesus’ tender affections towards you this week. He calls you lovely, He says your voice is sweet to him, and He has as many good thoughts about you as grains of sand on the shore (Song of Solomon 2, Psalm 139).

As you receive your identity as the center of His affections, His beloved, you will find yourself giving affection to your loved ones who also need the warmth of your affection in their lives.

Feel free to share or comment if this article has changed your perspective towards the power of affection or helped you give it in a practical way. We love hearing from you!

Happy Valentines and God Bless!

“My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me” (Song of Solomon 2:10).

8 replies
  1. Tesia
    Tesia says:

    This post has really helped me realize how not receiving affection has really affected my heart and the way I interact with others. Also how much I myself need affection. Thank you for this post it has really been a blessing.

    Reply
    • Jade Lee
      Jade Lee says:

      Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability about your childhood Tesia. Im so sorry to hear you didn’t receive that and happy to know you are on your way to that need being met by those GOD places in your life!

      Reply
  2. Staciea Oged
    Staciea Oged says:

    When I saw the title of this article, I was drawn to it. I’ve always struggled with showing affection. It sometimes feel weird to me when I have the chance to show affection. I guess I thought that since I didn’t receive it much growing up, that it was okay and not necessary to show affection. But that mindset has changed. Thank you for this article.

    Reply
  3. Shea W.
    Shea W. says:

    As a mother of a little girl who always wants hugs and kisses you would think I know a little about affection. Well let me tell ya, OMG it’s the hardest thing in my life at this point. You would think it to be working the 9-5, but no it’s having the affection for my own daughter.

    Growing up we (my siblings and I) were drown with hugs, kiss and I love you’s. But as years passed so did those hugs and kiss. After being in relationships that went nowhere those affection too went out the door.

    This post (message) was really emotional for me. I’m happy to see ways to actually take part in bring affection back into my life and home. I do need to take time to RECEIVE affection from GOD in order for this to be truly reciprocated.

    Thank you Paige Smith for this beautiful article, it brought me back toy childhood…lol

    Reply
    • Jade Lee
      Jade Lee says:

      Shea,

      This is so great! We are elated to hear your story and excited about our GOD, who always brings back the needed areas of our childhood, even through our own children. He is so kind and thoughtful!

      Reply
  4. Mizer Edwards
    Mizer Edwards says:

    I love this article! It had me realize that I identify more with being verbally affectionate(sometimes lol ) but not physically affectionate (it feels weird to me lol) and that I have to grow in affection.

    Affection seems like a very selfless act. I would intentionally have to put myself out there to give more affection towards others which seems dreadful for me. However, I loved the reference scriptures given because I believe that the more I begin to meditate and bask on GOD’S outpouring of affection towards me, it will tenderize my heart and fuel me to generously give out that same affection to/towards others.

    Thank you for this post! It was a pleasant trip down memory lane with the Valentines Day story lol but it was also a love challenge of affection that I so joyfully accept! :)

    Blessings!

    Reply
    • Jade Lee
      Jade Lee says:

      Hi Mizer!

      I’m so glad this was a blessing to you and that you are joining us on the Love Challenge. I know you will have a greatly rewarding experience sharing affection with others and they will well up with your love as this need in met their lives. Hoping you had an amazing Valentine’s Day and many more!

      Reply

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