Intimacy is an all-encompassing word, with sex merely being one aspect of it. Intimacy in your marriage takes more than just spicing up your sex life.
Intimacy is a vital substance in the healthiest of relationships, and its existence allows partners to share their physical and emotional selves with each other, openly and safely.
If you can find it in yourself to be more emotionally intimate in your relationship, both you and your loved one will definitely reap the rewards in the bedroom!
Stay close in and out of the bedroom
Here are the top ten ways to increase and maintain intimacy in your marriage:
- Compromise when in disagreement. When you and your partner aren’t seeing things eye-to-eye, take it upon yourselves to reach a happy medium that you can both agree on. Ask each other, “What would make us both happy?”
- Do the 30 minute focus. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes per day with your full attention focused on your partner. This could take place at the dinner table, in the family area/living room with the TV off, cuddled together in bed, etc. Eliminate interruptions, such as roommates, friends, and even children, so you can take the undivided time you need to discuss each other’s day and other personal, intimate topics.
- Plan a “date night.” Date nights help kindle romance and intimacy. Plan the evening together or surprise each other, get dressed up for one another, spend time focusing on each other, and laugh together.
- Empathize and validate. Everyone disagrees once in a while, but make sure when you are in disagreement, you show empathy, monitor your tone of voice, and validate your partner by letting them know you don’t think they are “crazy” for how they feel.
- Take mutual interest in one another. Showing interest and curiosity in their day or things that they like not only helps your partner feel important and special, but also motivates them to do the same with you! Imagine how great it feels when they listen intently to what you have to say. Make sure you do the same for them.
- Spend your free time doing things together. Surprise your partner with an activity that the two of you can enjoy together. Try hiking, picnics, board/card games, etc.
- Leave them love notes. Write things you admire about your partner on sticky notes and hide them in places where you know he or she will find them throughout the day.
- Focus on the positive. If you acknowledge and reinforce the things you appreciate about your partner instead of focusing on the negative, you’ll find they will eagerly repeat the desired behavior, instead of feeling dejected from belittlement.
- Show respect. By listening, avoiding critical language and minimizing your anger (intonation and context), you will show your partner that you have the utmost respect for their thoughts and feelings.
- Stop critical language. “You should …” “You must …” “You are too …” “You never …” “You always …” — each of these are examples of how we point our fingers at our partners while telling them they are not right. Give them a chance and let them carry things out the way they’d like to.
Changing the way you interact with your partner outside of the bedroom can make all the difference for how things go inside the bedroom.
By taking time to validate and appreciate your partner, treating them with respect, and spending quality time together, you are increasing the chances that you’ll feel close and connected. A couple that is emotionally connected will have an easier time feeling physically connected. Intimacy in your marriage is an on-going process, never ignore it!
To learn more about the author, or to book an appointment with her, visit her website at estestherapy.com or call (619) 558-0001.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653