Saturday, September 9, 2017

On 2:54 PM by Unknown in , ,    No comments

When people think of the word “intimacy”, their mind typically tracks towards sex. While sexual intimacy is vital to relationships, maintaining a strong emotional bond during a marriage is as challenging as it is important ensuring your relationship remains healthy and continues to grow. Taking the steps to develop, strengthen and sustain intimacy demonstrates your commitment to a loving, lasting, happy marriage. Additionally, you’ll be a better man, husband, friend, and partner.

In seeking to make intimacy more a part of your relationship, it is important to recognize that intimacy is relational. Intimacy is not something you can do on your own, the degrees of intimacy possible in a relationship is dependent on there being a shared commitment and interest. Negotiating and building intimacy in relationships is, therefore, dependent on a clear knowledge of your own and a partner’s preferences and a will to put time and energy into the relationship.

As with any aspect of a relationship, intimacy must be nurtured and cared for continuously. Below is a list of tips to help improve the intimacy in your marriage:
  • Identify that intimacy is its strongest outside of the bedroom. It is extremely critical to clearly distinguish sexual intimacy from other forms of intimacy.
    • Emotional Intimacy – you are able to share a wide range of both positive and negative feelings without fear of judgment or rejection
    • Physical Intimacy – The delight in being sensual, playful, and sensitive in sexual intimacy that is joyful and fulfilling for both partners.
    • Intellectual Intimacy – Sharing ideas or talking about issues or even hotly debating opinions and still respect each other’s beliefs and views
    • Spiritual Intimacy – discussing how spirituality works in your lives, in such a way that you respect each other’s particular spiritual needs and beliefs
    • Conflict Intimacy – the ability to work through our differences in a fair way, and reach solutions that are broadly and mutually satisfactory, recognizing that perfect solutions are not part of human life.
    • Work Intimacy – You are able to agree on ways to share the common loads of tasks in maintaining your home, incomes, and pursuing other mutually agreed goals.
    • Parenting Intimacy – If you have children, you have developed shared ways of being supportive to each other while enabling your children to grow and develop as individuals.
    • Crisis Intimacy – You are able to stand together in times of crisis, both external and internal to your relationship and offer support and understanding.
    • Play Intimacy – Having fun together, through recreation, relaxation or humor.
  • Be a better listener: Intimacy is about understanding and appreciating your wife’s desires and interests. Being a better listener means more than not watching TV while she’s talking, it’s about caring enough to ask the questions that will further the conversation. 
  • Let her rest: If she’s had a long week of work, the kids are being more than a handful or life is weighing heavily on her shoulders, give her a chance to recharge her batteries. Often.
  • Put her goals first: Give her time to learn and grow herself. Invest in her goals and support her dreams. If your wife feels like she’s growing as a woman and person, she will be happier and healthier – so will your entire family.
  • Show her intimacy without expectation: Show her how much you love her without wanting anything in return. She will likely give you things you weren’t even asking for.
  • Make her feel noticed: Let her know she looks beautiful when she takes the time to look pretty. Attention is a human need, your wife isn’t any different, pay attention (even when she makes you late and compliment her as often as possible.
  • Write a mission statement: Take the time to write the expectations for your marriage. Sitting down and sharing goals is an extremely intimate experience. Deciding where to take your family together is the first step in getting where you’ve always wanted to go.
  • Put her first: Value your wife above everyone else and make sure she knows how you feel. Your friends will always be around, your parents are family, but your wife should feel like she’s the most important person in your life.
  • Court her: Remember how easy intimacy seemed before you said, “I do!” Intimacy doesn’t end after you get married, but it’s up to you to bring it back. You’ve caught her, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t ever want to be chased.
  • Spend quality time together: Invite her for some quality alone time. Mark it on the calendar and don’t let anything get in the way. She deserves the attention and will appreciate having it.
  • Silence the electronics – Stop the world. Put down the phones, tablets, turn off the TV and other devices to unplug from the distractions that keep you and your partner from connecting.
  • Be safe for your spouse - We need to be so careful to be safe for our spouses – to understand what might hurt them and to avoid that, and then to know what we can do to help our partners feel loved and valued and do that. 
  • Seek a balance between self and couple - The strongest marriage relationships have two interdependent partners and they invest together in the marriage relationship. Too much inseparability can be a bad thing if it deprives the relationship of the fruitfulness that interdependence brings. So make sure to engage in some good self-care as the husband and allow your wife to do the same in her personal life.
  • Consider marriage enrichment activities - Getting into an organized setting with other couples and a professional counselor can really help develop a deeper and stronger marriage. This kind of focused commitment to improving emotional intimacy is a big investment, but it brings big returns. Consider the Beyond the Broom Marriage Enrichment Series session on Developing True Intimacy. (Shameless plug)