Haptics for a Happy Marriage
By Jim Mitchell
Ever heard of haptics? I hadn’t until a friend of mine (a tech geek) was explaining some features on my new smart phone and mentioned that the button wasn’t actually moving in response to me pressing it. “It’s using haptics,” he said.
I googled it, of course, and learned that it’s “the use of technology to reproduce sensations that would be felt by interacting directly with physical objects.”
Essentially, the phone is helping me feel its own internal non-physical activity. I still can’t explain it, but it does remind me of the little things my wife and I do to send signals to one another—our own personal haptics. Here are just a few:
Three taps=I love you. Four taps=I love you too. We do this at movies or in restaurants to sneak flirty moments into public settings. And no one else knows!
Foot wrestling. I’ll sometimes slide my foot underneath hers in bed at night (a perfect fit because my legs are longer) and our feet will gently press against each other. This creates a super cool tension between us where she can’t push my foot down, but I can’t push hers up either. No one “wins” the foot wrestle, and it makes us feel strong together.
We have many more, and apparently, it’s not just us.
In her book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, researcher Shaunti Feldhahn reveals that a stunning 70% of highly happy couples send these signals:
“We're like bumper cars around the house,” one couple describes. “I know―it's juvenile! But if he comes up and bumps against me at the kitchen sink and then a minute later I bump into him in the doorway to the study, I've just said I accept his apology.”
Haptics for a happy marriage. Simple, non-verbal, non-sexual cues of playfulness and togetherness and relational safety. Do you have any of those?
The good stuff: Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
Action points: How could you say to your spouse, “I feel great about us,” without words? How would you convey, “We’re gonna be okay,” without actually saying it? Try sending haptic signals today and see how you click.
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