In our fast-paced and competitive modern lives, we often have trouble being close to others.
We frequently move forward relentlessly and rarely pause to question whether we are authentic before ourselves, as well as in our interaction with those who are closest to us. Unfortunately, many of us are often rather distant from our spouses. The reason is that what we all want the most, to belong and to feel complete with another person, we fear the most. Being intimate means shedding the persona that we put on to protect us from being fully visible to others. To be intimate with someone means that we relinquish our defences and expose our inner self to the possibility that we might get hurt. And this is a scary thing. Yet, spending life with someone doesn’t have much meaning if we won’t be able to be who we really are. So, here are four important things that you need to know about marital intimacy, how to achieve, rediscover, and foster it:
1. Disclosure is an essential aspect of marital intimacy
This might seem obvious, but many married couples consciously or unconsciously base their relationship on a conviction that not everything should be disclosed. Even if we started our marriage with the intention to always be honest, with time we often succumb to the temptation not to reveal it all. Whether it is because we don’t want to bother our other half with the trifles of our daily lives, or we have a secret that might hurt them – in either case, not sharing our thoughts and experiences inevitably puts up a wall between us and our life partner. The next time you speak with your spouse, have this in mind, and try to open up to them – you might be surprised with the instant sense of closeness that will fill the room.
2. Intimacy is in the routine
Many dread the routine and the very sound of the word makes them feel as if their life is over. Yet, this might be a consequence of the modern values and the acquired need for constant stimulation. Marital routine presents a potential pool of many shared experiences and shared feelings, a safe space for us to discard our defences and to be intimate with our loved one. If you have developed some rituals with your husband or wife over time, they might be just the right thing for the two of you to connect.
3. Intimacy might be outside of the routine
Yes, a routine has a potential of bringing us closer together, but sometimes we also need to shake things up. The key is in the balance. Research shows that trying new things and breaking the routine helps couples maintain or even rebuild their marital intimacy when it was lost after years spent together. By engaging in new activities, we both get a chance to discover and rediscover our partner in a new setting, something that we might not have experienced ever since our dating days. What is more, we also get to reconnect with our own authentic selves through stepping out of our everyday chores and obligations. This doesn’t have to be something incredibly adventurous – sometimes just going to that new restaurant instead of staying at home and watching TV on Saturday might do the trick. And another rule – not just the venue, but the topics of the conversation should also be genuine and original. Forget about the gutters that need to be cleaned – try speaking from your deepest self, and the intimacy will be restored in a single night.
4. Unresolved conflicts are a significant intimacy-killer
By leaving a problem unsolved, you allow for an invisible but powerful divider to flourish. And such unsettled disagreements have a habit of growing bigger and bigger and expanding over more and more areas of your life. Married life is inevitably full of frictions and disputes, but it is the way in which these are resolved that makes the difference between truly close and intimate spouses and those whose marriage is bound to fail. So, never leave a problem unresolved and then ruminate over it. If you feel that your needs weren’t satisfied, speak to your spouse in an assertive and loving way – but do resolve the issue. It is the only way to enjoy marital intimacy.
We all need to feel intimate with our spouses in order for our marriage feel meaningful. By allowing for the intimacy to fade away from your life, you are robbing yourself and your life partner of the opportunity to thrive and be all that you can possibly be. So, don’t let the inertia take it away from you, and renew the intimacy in your marriage!
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.