Q: How can I express the love language of physical touch in a way that is appropriate before marriage?

Answer (Gary Chapman): I’m often asked the question about physical touch as a love language particularly for dating couples, because let’s face it, we are drawn to each other physically. One of the common pit falls in a dating relationship is that we get into heavy sexual relationships and don’t explore the other aspects—the intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual aspects—of the relationship and consequently, we are blinded to whether or not we have a foundation on which to build a marriage. So what I would say is: whether or not your primary love language is physical touch, you need to have definite boundaries on what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in terms of physical touch.

There always needs to be boundaries. If you don’t set boundaries, then you’re likely to go too far and later regret what you did. If you agree on and set clear boundaries, the two of you can share them and help each other live by them. If, on the other hand, you find someone who pushes the boundaries, that is not a sign of love, it’s a sign of self-centeredness. So I would say that key phrase there is setting boundaries.


Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the bestselling 5 Love Languages® series, which has sold more than 8 million worldwide and has been translated into over 40 languages. Dr. Chapman travels the world presenting seminars on marriage, family, and relationships, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Karolyn. For more information visit 5lovelanguages.com.

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