Holding hands. Such a simple act. You see it done every where you go, so much so that like so many other relational things, it has lost its value. It is taken for granted.
To me, holding hands is more intimate than kissing. If you think about it, you pretty much kiss all kinds of people… friends, family, pets, that aunt with the three hairs coming out of her chin... You kiss on a first date because you almost feel obligated... Some cultures even replace shaking hands with kissing each cheek... You kiss babies whether they belong to you or not... (Kissing has a whole other "article" full of oxytocin releasing benefits, but that is not our focus today.)
But holding hands… that is reserved for our children and grandchildren and the one we are in a relationship with. That’s pretty much it. This simple, gentle act shows security, trust, acceptance and intimacy.
Holding hands reduces stress.
Yes, sometimes we hold a friend’s hand, but think about when that happens. You reach out to a friend when you or they are in need. You need more support, you need strength, you need a boost in courage. There is usually some stress involved. Hand holding has actually been scientifically proven to help reduce stress. It can work with anyone holding your hand during stressful times, but is more effective when it is someone you are connected with.
Holding hands is a method for coping.
My best friend’s brother died. I had my hand in hers whenever I was close enough to grasp it. It gave her peace, to know I was there for her. It gave her courage to face the details that had to be taken care of, and the millions of faces she had to smile for and it gave her a release from pain when she squeezed as she cried..
It was my hand that she held at the birth of each of her sons. And all for the same reasons. Her husband was there as well, but sometimes you just need that extra link of encouragement from someone you trust implicitly.
One was intense pain, the other incredible pleasure (albeit through pain) and yet holding a hand fed her soul in all the ways she needed it.
Holding hands creates a connection.
You sometimes hold hands in prayer, and that is to bind your hearts one to another. You hold hands when you have a common bond. You feel connected to others and seek out the intimate display of affection more in times of fear, doubt, praise, and peace.
Children seek out security through holding hands. When a child reaches out and randomly grabs my hand, my heart sours because that tells me that they are comfortable with me and trust me to submit to such a vulnerable action. I always try to respond to such a request!
Holding hands speaks volumes.
It makes a statement of who you are in my life. When someone reaches to hold my hand, that means they are a part of my inner circle. They are privy to a private piece of me. They have access to my heart. It is reserved for a select few. If I hold hands with you in public, romantically, it shows that I am in a committed relationship. I hold the hands of those I love as often as they will allow me.
Holding hands is such an easy thing to fall into when you are with someone you care about. It’s something that happens naturally when you have reached a comfortable level in a relationship. When your hands naturally fall to your sides, but seek that other companion hand, and it is always there, that is a feeling that is... better than most.