Hand-in-Hand.

Nothing melts the heart quite like watching an elderly couple walking along hand-in-hand together.

I saw an octogenarian couple crossing Swanston Street the other day. They didn’t even look as though they could negotiate the street without one another. The husband had a walking stick, the wife a hunched back. They were clinging to each other’s hands in support and care. And perhaps even from years of habit.

What is it about watching a little old couple show such affection for each other that tugs at our heartstrings? Picture the same old couple knocking socks in bed together and most people would cringe.

Our modern society places so much importance on the aesthetics of life – attractiveness, wealth and social status all rank highly on our radars. But the chances are, that by the time you’ve hit 80, not a lot of these things are on your side anymore.

Which is probably why it’s incredibly moving to see two people that have lost so much of their youth, yet still have so much in each other.

Does it represent what we all really want when we’re old? Do we recognise on some level how lucky those two people are to have each other, after everything?

While it’s impossible to really quantify, some social researchers think that we don’t hold hands as much as we used to – people on the street seem more likely to have a mobile phone in tow rather than a beloved.

It seems a shame, as it is proven that holding hands connects you to your partner, gives you intimacy, reassurance and silent support.

It’s true that for younger generations, the act of holding hands is more intimate than a kiss – a young couple is most likely going to have a quick pash in a dark club long before they progress to holding hands.

I still remember the first time Den held my hand. We had been a casual affair for about 9 months – we weren’t dating, we weren’t exclusive, we literally were good friends with benefits and not much else.

One night, we took a stroll and Den was (unbeknownst to me) trying to summon the courage to ask if we could make it serious. He grabbed my hand as we walked – shocking me in the process.

After months of us sleeping together, it was the hand-holding that seemed overly intimate. What makes me think there’s something wrong with that sentiment?

Back to our little old couple, as I watched them I was struck by how it’s becoming rare to see couples even make it to their golden age of marriage. Maybe it’s the couples that do hold each other’s hands that make it there more easily.