Forgive the very cheesy title, please read on and you can judge the book by its contents once done. One thing we have asked God is that He keeps ignorance far from us. God has been lenient with us and He has started to answer our prayers. One of the things that I, (Ben) have been ignorant of, is the topic in discussion today. A little 3 letter word known as a ‘HUG’. Incidentally, the people who know me believe that I quite the ‘hugger’, but Gathoni knows better. I freely dish out warm hugs for everyone else other than my wife. I cannot, for the life of me, remember when last I did hug her. Most probably I was from a long trip and we hugged just as a formality, the same way I hug everyone else.
During our youthful years, hugging was a very controversial issue. We spent our days in youth ministry and we had loads of fun. In our youth group, hugging was the order of the day…people hugged everywhere for every reason, and the parents hated it. They were convinced that all this hugging would lead us into sin as they kept reminding us that we had ‘hot’ blood rushing through our veins. I never thought much of it then, it was simply a form of greeting. Besides I hugged both sexes the same, it was not something I reserved strictly for the other gender. During our (Gathoni & I) dating, our hugs were phenomenal, most of them went well over 5 minutes 🏃♂️🏃♀️. .We basked in each other’s loving embrace and found solace from the war that raged on the outside world. Our hugs were a means to escape, a safe haven in a maddening world.
When we all got married, there was this grand debate amongst my male peers on hugging the opposite sex. Some were of the idea that a married man is never supposed to hug other females, the hugging was only to be reserved for his queen. The basis was that, when you vow to forsake all others, you actually have to forsake ALL others. They argue that, hugging involves body contact and this should not just be dished to all and sundry, it should be reserved for the one you made the vow to. Some of us (me included) saw no harm in hugging, to us, it was just a form of greeting, just like the shaking of hands. Both schools of thought never saw eye to eye on the matter, and we agreed to peacefully disagree. We each decided that it was a personal/family decision, every family would do as it found fit.
Gathoni & I discussed this at length during our honeymoon in Naivasha, and we decided that hugging of the opposite sex was ok, as long as we kept it strictly formal. As the years wore on though, a sharp disagreement began to rise between the two of us. Gathoni felt that I hugged other females and hardly hugged her. I, on the other hand, felt differently. Hugging was just a form of greeting and nothing more. How weird would it be to keep shaking the hand of someone you live with 24-7! That was my belief and I stood by it.
One of the most difficult struggles we have faced in our marriage is the difference in opinion. We see everything from a different perspective. It does not mean that any one of us is wrong, it just means that from where one is standing, that is their view.
When we got to realize this truth, it helped us to fight fair. We realized that where one stood, determined what one saw, even if you are looking at the same object. Think about it this way. You are in an art class, sketching a human figurine. Those looking at it from the front will draw the face, but those looking at its back will draw its back. When the students compare their sketches, they will start arguing about whose sketch is the correct one. Unless they get to understand each other’s perspective (point of view) then they will argue till Kingdom come. Gathoni & I were seeing a figurine ‘hugging’ but were looking at it from different perspectives. So, none of us were wrong, we were just seeing it differently.
I hugged both guys and girls alike. It was just a way I displayed my care to my friends. There were no strings attached and no hidden motives. On the other hand, when in close contact with Gathoni, my mind went straight to sex. Hugging & touching simply served as a cue to show it was time to ‘get down’ 🔥📛👨🚒🚒🧯🔥
Gathoni desired to be hugged. Many a time she shared this sentiment with me but I never really understood why. For her, hugging was one of her core needs, she felt loved when she was hugged. Interestingly, hugs to her did not fulfill a sexual need, instead, they filled her need to feel loved/cared for.
We realized that none of us were wrong, we were just viewing the situation from the lenses of our needs. My need was for sex and I sexualized the hug, while hers was for intimacy & love (Non-sexual). I never really understood her point of view until one day the Lord woke me up with this realization. There was much much more to hugs than meets the eye. Hugs were not just physical, as I thought them to be, but hugs were the solution to broken & loveless marriage and also to raising up well-rounded & mannered children. Let me explain this revelation in detail
Effect of Hugs on Children & Parents
A lot of studies have been done on the effect of frequently hugging your children and the results are astounding. Children who are hugged frequently grow up to be kind & responsible adults. They are well-grounded emotionally and have a lot of love and affection to give. They are not easily angered or lured into vices such as drugs & crime. Hugging has so many amazing effects on a child that there is no space to list them all. Basically, a 30sec hug every day will make a huge difference in your child in the long run.
We realized this early enough and started hugging and cuddling our children from when they were very young. We really thought that we were saving them, but the inverse was also true. Those tiny, warm hugs saved us too. Now, Gathoni & I look forward to these little hugs, they mean so much to us that we cannot imagine how life was before them. The truth about hugs is that the benefit is never one way. Both the ‘hugger’ & ‘hugged’ experience the awesome benefits of hugging. Also, it has drawn us closer together, making us happier & closer as a family, definitely a must recommendation for any family.
Effect of Hugs on a Married Couple
There are not many studies in regards to this, but it has raised a lot of interest and a lot of personal examples from its beneficiaries. The sad thing is that very few married couples actually hug on a regular basis. I cannot, for the life of me, remember lastly when Gathoni & I hugged for more than 30 seconds. Most of our hugs were very awkward thus hurried. We avoided each other’s eyes and were done with the ‘ordeal’ even before it started. This is the area where the devil is really winning amongst the married folk. God showed us that one of the main intimacy killers in marriage was the lack of hugging. WHAT!!!!
This revelation really shocked me in particular. I never ever had a second thought about hugs. Hugs to me were purely physical and that was it! Scientists discovered that hugging in humans led to the release of the Oxytocin hormone, which is a very interesting hormone. It is also called the ‘love’ or ‘bonding’ hormone, which when released creates a love bond between the two parties (Mother/child or husband/wife). Let us go into some of the advantages of hugging for the married couple:
- The fastest way to rekindle the fire/intimacy/closeness and love. Scientist blame this on oxytocin
- Makes one happier & reduces stress levels
- One of the fastest ways to get turned on for sex esp. for the ladies
- Improves communication between the couple
- Reduces susceptibility to illness esp heart illness
There are many, many benefits of hugging. All of us need to be hugged irrespective of your age or gender!
So How Many Hugs Does One Need?
Let’s start off with the length. It is recommended a minimum of 30 seconds, but the ideal is 1minute +. Anything less than than 30 seconds will not release the required hormones.
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”Virginia Satir
So, if you want to thrive, hug/get hugged as many times as you can. When you bump into each other on the corridor hug, when you seat on the same couch, cuddle together, ensure that you have as much body contact as possible.
God showed us that one of the most effective ways to affair-proof your marriage is by frequent hugging. The more you hug, the closer & more intimate you will grow as a couple. At a minimum, every couple should have a 1-minute hug every day. It may feel awkward at first but keep at it and you will reap the rewards in due season.
Gathoni & I started this 30dayhugchallenge two days ago, and we would want to invite all married couples to join us. The brief is just to do at least one 1 minute+ hug a day for 30 days and then see if your relationship will get better. If nothing improves then we can happily ditch all this ‘hugging‘ hullabaloo and go back to normal programming 😂😂😂😂!
Who is up for it? Let us know in the comments below! Also for married couples, what is your experience with hugging? We would love to hear your perspective…share it below kindly.
We love you and we are praying for y’all to win in your relationships!
TO GOD BE ALL GLORY!
I am a disciple of Christ, passionate about serving God’s purpose to my generation. I am a husband to Gathoni Kiruthi and together God has blessed us with 3 amazing children