Holding Time – Avoiders and Pleasers

Why Holding is Difficult for Each Love Style

This month we are talking about holding time.

People with different love styles approach holding from very different perspectives.

This week we will look at how Avoiders and Pleasers approach and react to holding time.


Avoiders are willing to give to a certain extent and holding time can be viewed as a task to be completed.

One avoider husband I know held his wife as she shared some painful memories.

She cried a lot and all those emotions were a bit overwhelming for him, but he is trying to grow and he did a good job.

When she later asked to hold him he said, he saw no reason to dwell on pain.

Now being an avoider myself, I understand this thinking.

We worked hard to not feel pain, so why dig it up?

There are three compelling reasons.

The first reason is – if we are going to be transformed into the image of Christ, he needs to be able to feel.  (See last week’s newsletter).

Second, holding gives an opportunity to receive what was missed as a kid.



Being heard.

Being known.

Avoiders have no idea these things can relieve stress.

They have to experience it to understand it.

Third, avoiders end up resentful because they are always being asked to give something, but need little to nothing in return.

I cannot tell you how often I hear from the spouses of Avoiders,

“He or she does not need me.”

Avoiders need to learn to receive.

There is no better way than to allow your spouse to hold you.


Pleasers are givers not receivers.

Of all the types they have to give to soothe their own anxiety about others being unhappy or distressed.

They are hyper attuned to the needs of others which is a skill they learned in childhood.

By the time marriage occurs, they have had years of practice in the giving, caretaking role.

As a result, they never ask for much and are absolutely terrible receivers.

They are so unaware of their own feelings and needs that it does not occur to them to ask for a holding time

Now most of you know that Milan is a pleaser and I am an Avoider.

So, how easy do you think it was for us to learn to do holding times?

The answer should be obvious.

It was difficult.

Neither of us wanted to be vulnerable, but we knew it was an important skill we were missing in our marriage.

So, we kept at it.

Over time it got easier, safer and we felt more competent.

I wish we could describe the results and the blessings of giving one another comfort.

It has been more than worth every awkward moment.

Next week we will look at Vacillators and Chaotic love styles and holding time.

So, how’s it going for you?

Have you tried it?

Blessings, Kay