The Snuggle Is Real


Take it from me: There isn’t a man or woman on the planet Earth who doesn’t love snuggling. Oh sure, some, men in particular, will scoff at that suggestion. In fact, I can picture them now – rolling their eyes, flashing their Man Card and wondering when, where, and why I misplaced mine.

I know, because for the better part of the past 5 decades, I was one of the “some” – but, not by choice. No, my skepticism, indeed my ignorance about the soothing, transformative power of snuggling and the soul-replenishing intimacy it engenders was borne of fear.

Fear that if I allowed someone to get that close to me for more than 5 minutes, they would surely discover what the little boy in me believed to be true about himself from a very early age: that he was unlovable or, worse yet, unworthy of love – and then they’d leave.

That’s one of the things that happens when your childhood takes a back seat to a bottle of scotch, when empathy is replaced with anger, when a mother’s vision is too blurred to safely navigate her way home, let alone notice the needs of the small, sensitive hearts she’s responsible for waiting inside.

And so the walls go up. Not just any walls. Walls constructed of titanium. Impenetrable walls. Walls designed to keep love at arm’s length, to protect the remnants of the innocent, child-like heart they encase, and give the bruises time to heal. It’s a matter of self-defense, of emotional self-preservation.

It’s not a choice. There’s nothing conscious about it. And yet, the funny thing is if you live locked away in that castle on the hill long enough, you actually manage to convince yourself that it’s where you want to live, that it’s more desirable than what you imagine awaits on the other side of the shark-infested moat.

But then, one day, you decide to confront your fear. You lower the drawbridge and crack the front door to your longing-for-a-lifetime heart ever so slightly and you steel yourself. You let him or her (and their love) in and everything starts to change. Not all at once. Not in a flurry of fireworks.

It changes one gentle touch at a time. A touch finally, fully felt. A caress. A butterfly kiss. A noticing of the way things “fit” – how her head rests perfectly in the nap of your neck, how your hands intertwine as if they were created to be together, how bended legs tuck seamlessly one pair into the other.  Her softness.

And, if you will allow, if you will trust it, slowly the walls you once thought would never come down will start to melt away and be replaced by an unquenchable desire for more of it – more warmth, more vulnerability, more closeness, deeper connection, true intimacy.

It’s called snuggling, but it should be called love fertilizer. It’s quiet and peaceful, restorative and invigorating. It supplies the strength needed to face a new day and the comfort required at the end of a long one. For those of faith, it’s an Earthly reminder of a Heavenly Father’s presence.

Oh, and guys, here’s the most amazing thing about snuggling: It does all of this and it doesn’t require you to say a single word. “All” it requires is your presence, a heart open and willing to be filled up, a laying down hug (see photo!), and a desire to hold that hug a little (okay, a lot!) longer than usual.

Believe me: the last part will be easy!

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