Shel Silversteen penned a poem called “Hug-O-War.” You’d probably remember it if I started it off for you:

I will not play tug-o-war.mar15

I’d rather play hug-o-war.

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles

and rolls on the rug…

I don’t do hugs. They’re just not my thing.

dtv-tommyboyKids hug parents. Girls hug puppies. Heavy-set people give bear hugs. Women hug women. Tommy Boy hugs.

But I, Andrew, do not hug. I’ll shake your hand, or even better, I’ll high-five or fist-bump you. (“Knucks!”) But the best of all is a head nod. “Hey. What’s up?”

“Nothing. You?”

“Not much. See ya.”

“See ya.”

But there’s a problem with all of this. I don’t like hugs, but

I’m married.

And my spouse is a woman.

And women hug.

My wife likes hugs.

The first time Sarabeth and I hung out together as a couple, we could have hugged when I said good night.handshake

But we didn’t. I shook her hand. No joke.

But here’s the thing. Sarabeth knows me and my needs. She knows that I need affirmation and compliments. And she doesn’t give out compliments freely. But she gives them generously to me because she knows I need them.

So it’s only fair that I hug her more than once a week.

Because I love her.

What does your spouse love? What do they need every day?

My wife needs hugs.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

13 thoughts on “Hugs

  1. What a lovely poem. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love hugs. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if instead of fighting, people sorted out their differences with talking and hugging instead? Imagine! 🙂


  2. Laughter…my spouse needs laughter! I think it is great that even though you are not a hugger, you save your hugging for your spouse. Our whole family is full of huggers, but there are different types. You have your quick squeeze, the shoulder hug, the around the neck hug, and my favorite was my second oldest son’s cheek hugs. You like to hand hug!


  3. Reminds me of “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, a worthwhile read to help people realize what actions people need to know that they are loved. Even at my advanced age, it uncovered things I hadn’t thought about, and I now act somewhat differently having read it. The people we hang out with are huggers, and it’s what I expect and give. It’s a bit strange if you don’t know a person very well, but welcoming if you do. Hugs apparently can raise your serotonin levels, too. I love Shel Silverstein — he really seems to know kids and how they feel and act. It also draws children to poetry and the sound of words which is a bonus.


    1. Wow! It’s been a while since I thought about that book. My wife is often telling me about the serotonin level being raised by hugs and smiling.


  4. How sweet is that… at my place, we all like to hug, spouse, kids, all of us. And we like to hug our favourite things too! No seriously. But as you are not a hugs person, here a nod to you!


  5. I like hugs and my husband has no qualms about giving me as many in a day that we do. My sons were about 9-11 when they decided they were too old for hugs. I never knew there was a rule. Now that they’re grown and scattered, we get/give hugs coming and going.
    We do back scratches as well! If my husband didn’t like hugs, I’d have to come up with some way of physical affection. Hmm, something to think about.
    Hugs have a lot of health benefits. I’ll have to repost that blog on hugs I did a while back.


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