Embrace PDA - Literally
Our first marriage tip was chosen on purpose. There are many things we could have shared. Marriage tips are endless and there will be many more to come in the future, but the first one...Embrace PDA...Why is this SO important to us?
We're going to break this idea down from a wife and husband's perspective, but first let's define a few things.
PDA - Public Display of Affection. For us as married couples, we want to define it as "physically connecting with one another in an environment outside of just the two of us". Now, what does physically connecting mean, without going overboard? Physically connecting means, not walking around like you don't really know each other; like you're walking parallel lines, but no one would actually know you're married, because you look like you're walking around like acquaintances, rather than lovers. Don't look like robots. Holding hands, giving each other quick hugs, maybe some quick smooches, or kisses on the cheek. Fill it in with what you think is appropriate in your marriage. We would add, for the sake of children or eyes that shouldn't see "too much", please keep it PG. Everyone around you will thank you for that!
Ok, now that we understand our definition of PDA, let's answer some questions from a married couple's perspective.
~ What would stop me from showing affection to my spouse in public?
~ What if I am not a "physical touch" person?
~ Why do I feel weird showing affection in public?
~ What is the best approach to start embracing PDA if it is foreign to me?
Sidenote: Because our baby is happy right now and my husband is peacefully sleeping on the recliner, we're going to start with the wife's perspective.
My background when it comes to affection is this, I like feeling close to my husband. It is not out of my comfort zone to lean on his shoulder when we're sitting next to each other. I enjoy when he holds my hand or he wants me to rub his neck. However, I also know it doesn't come as natural to some as it does to others and I want to talk to those people as well. Let's talk about the questions to understand more.
What would stop a wife from showing affection to her husband in public? I think there's some easy and not-so-easy answers to this. One easy one is, your husband is frustrating you. You just had an argument and you don't feel like being affectionate toward him, let alone be in public with him at the moment. That's understandable. We will talk more about conflict resolution in another post, but for now I will mention this, physical affection and how we are "feeling" are two different things. Emotionally we will have days where we do not feel ourselves, however unless your husband has abused you in some way or you need to seek more professional help for your conflicts, he desires your touch. It can also be a way to ease into forgiveness if you are in a situation where you have not yet forgiven each other for whatever it was that made you frustrated.
Another reason that may stop women from showing affection in public is they are not a "physical touch" person. I have heard this excuse before and I am going to call it just that...an excuse. I am all for people figuring out their "love language", however, God created us to be physical beings. If you do not want to be touched, can I ask you an honest question? Why did you get married? Because considering what husbands and wives depend on each other to do physically, saying you are not a physical touch person is contradictory to that kind of relationship. I don't know what you have to do to get in the mindset that you were created to be physical, but I strongly encourage you to understand where the source of your discomfort comes from and work on resolving it. And, again, your husband wants to touch you, so in my kindest tone of voice please consider sucking it up and enjoying it. (Sorry...harsh, but true.)
But I feel weird showing affection in public, isn't that supposed to be done privately? I believe this has been implanted in our minds. People think it's gross seeing married couples embrace each other in public. I think that is sad. It's gross when two teenagers who think they are in love are very inappropriately groping each other, however a married couple who are truly "in love" are the furthest thing from that. It's showing the world you love the person you're with. That you are proud to show others your feelings for your husband and you don't care about any negative reactions you may get. So if it has been implanted in your brain that PDA is wrong, please take the steps to rewire your thinking and understanding. Again, God made husbands and wives to enjoy each other in this way, whether in public or in private. Of course, some things are definitely "private", but we don't think we have to define what those are. Cough. Cough...
Last question before my husband takes over...What is the best approach for a wife to become more affectionate with their husband in public? Well, I'd first ask yourself if it is a problem you would like to change. If you are both one-hundred percent fine with keeping the affection private, go for it. However, the only way to know whether your husband is on the same page as you when it comes to PDA, is to ask him. That's right, have a conversation about it! Maybe for years you have assumed it was a mutual thing. Or maybe your husband is respecting that you are not "that type" of person and he doesn't push it. Or maybe he has been denied too many times that he doesn't desire to make the effort any more. Whatever it is, and what you will find out about most of our posts, it all comes down to communicating your thoughts with one another in a way that is not degrading or defensive and is filled with grace and a desire to understand each other (again, another topic we will discuss in the future).
Now, let's check out a husband's perspective.
I have always been a physically connected person. Whether laying on top of my mother like an amoeba as a child to wrestling my dad as an adolescent, I've always been physical with those I love. My marriage with my wife continues the trend and ramps up the intensity because marriage intensifies everything. Even though I love physical touch, that does not mean I love YOU physically touching me. The exclusivity my wife has with PDA-ing me serves two purposes. The first is that we're in love, and the second is that I like her a lot more than you so she gets more privileges than you. Regardless of whether or not you're a physically affectionate person, if your partner is, you need to learn. Learning to speak your partner's love languages is part of the sacrificial love we all should be striving for. I say this as one who needs to be fluent in all of them as my wife scored equally in all five.
What would stop a husband from showing affection to his wife in public? This one was hard for me. Men are more physical beings and I've already told you I'm a physical person. I might get a lot of women that want to slap me for saying this, but the only thing I can think of is...the wife! As wifey mentioned earlier, we're not talking about the gross "get a room" PDA. Chances are you've already smooched once in front of lots of people at your wedding or thousands of times as your guests kept clanging their glasses with utensils at your reception. Was that hard? (I'm talking about the kissing, not the ringing in your ears making you feel like you needed to see a doctor for tinnitus.) Did you have to think about it or were you so engrossed in the moment and/or your partner? We think that feeling should continue! Obviously there should always be an open conversation when dealing with something that might be out of the comfort zone of your partner.
What if I am not a physical touch person? This is why that first question is so hard for me. Are there guys that are not physical touch people? I think the guys that may struggle with this probably have some extenuating circumstances and could use some healing. Either way, your marriage should be the safest space for you to express your physical emotion. No matter what, I believe PDA is a great way of saying, "She is mine. I am hers."
Why do I feel weird showing affection in public? Like wifey said, I think this is a learned behavior. As I mentioned earlier, how many times did you kiss your wife on your wedding day in front of tons of people? How many kissing pictures did you send out in your wedding album? Why does everyone clang their glasses at the reception TO SEE YOUR PDA? If they wanted to see it then, why do they not want to see it now? If you want to get a little primal, it's also about marking your territory. Before anyone gets upset, the "she is mine, I am hers" deal still applies. She is no more my territory than I am hers.
What is the best approach for a husband to become more affectionate with their wife in public? Dudes, do your research. Don't go groping and smooching your wife in public without discussing it first, otherwise you might get a Public Display of A....Butt-whooping. If you both decide you want to engage in some PDA start it simple. Hold hands, give a little peck, put your arm around her, or touch her back. Going back to your wedding. Did you hold hands during the ceremony? Kiss the bride? Go under her dress and grab her garter with your teeth? Ok yeah, that one was too much PDA, even for a wedding. Now all this talk has been about simple, harmless PDA that anyone should say, "That's cute. They're still in love." If it's been cleared by the powers that be, do a little special ops and maybe pinch a butt cheek every once in a while. This doesn't need to be witnessed by anyone but it can feel a little dangerous!
We hope this has challenged your thoughts about physical affection in public. Like we mentioned on the Facebook page, no one ever looks at a sweet older couple and says GROSS they're holding hands! We all think, "Awww, they've kept the spark alive all these years!"
Let that be an example to all of us!
Please share your thoughts, we have shared ours and maybe there are things we are missing or that you'd like to add to help encourage other married couples. We want this to be an open community! (You also have the option of staying anonymous if you comment directly on this post.) Stay tuned, tomorrow we are sharing the next marriage tip and it's a GOOD one!
Thanks for being here friends,
The NewlyUs Couple