Some of us may still fall victim to the belief system that “true love happens naturally” and the implication that “work need not apply” to loving relationships. If you are guilty of this type of thinking, you may be in trouble. The reality is, real love takes real work and effort, long after the move-in date or the exchanging of vows. But knowing how to build it is another subject entirely.
Let this article prepare you to get started with some marriage intimacy exercises frequently recommended in couples’ therapy. These intimacy activities for couples will work wonders for your married life!
1. Extra long cuddle
Let’s kick things off with an easy one. Choose the time, whether at night or in the morning, and spend that precious time just snuggling for 30 minutes at least. If you normally snuggle for this length of time, increase it to an hour.
Why it works?
Physical closeness is one of the hallmarks of bonding. The pheromones, kinetic energy, and chemical reactions that happen just by snuggling with your loved one create the sense of connectedness necessary in healthy relationships.
2. Breathing connection exercise
Like many intimacy exercises, this one may seem silly at first, but open your mind to trying it and you may just love it. You and your partner will face one another seated, and lightly touch your foreheads together, eyes closed. You will begin to breathe, deep, intentional breaths in tandem. The recommended number of breaths in tandem starts at 7; but you and your partner can participate for as many breaths as you like.
Why it works?
The touch, and the experience of the touch, aligned with the breathing, brings about natural feelings of connectedness through the shared energy exchanged via the brow or “third eye” chakra. This may tap into some of our most primal resources in our ability to engage in spirituality and to exchange energetic forces through organic means.
3. Soul gaze
In this exercise, you are merely sitting faced to one another and will stare into one another’s eyes, imagining that the eyes are a “window into the soul”. As many of these types of exercises may seem corny at first, this one is a classic. Though you may indeed feel awkward in the beginning, as you get used to sitting and gazing into one another’s eyes the exercise becomes relaxing and meditative. Try putting it to music so that you have 4-5 minutes of timed focus.
Why it works?
This type of exercise tends to slow things down. It should be done several times per week for maximum benefit. In today’s busy world, focusing for 4-5 minutes just gazing into one another’s eyes helps the couple to relax and regroup. Yes, it is okay to blink during the exercise, but try and avoid talking. Some couples use a 4 or 5 minute song to set the background and time.
4. Three things
You and your partner can play this one however you like. One of you may state your things all in one go, or you may alternate. Think of the questions you want to ask; write them down if it helps.
The questions will be phrased as such:
What 3 things will you want to eat for dessert this month?
What 3 things will you be sure to take with you on an adventure to a tropical island?
What 3 things do you hope to do together that we haven’t tried?
These are merely examples; you get the idea.
Why it works?
This is a communication exercise. It enhances the bond between you by increasing communication skills, and provides knowledge of one another’s thoughts, feelings, and interests. It is also helpful as interests can change over time. The answers will also yield information that will most likely prove useful in the future.
5. Two ears, one mouth
In this active listening exercise, one partner talks or “vents” on a topic of their choosing, while the other partner must sit facing them, merely listening and not speaking. The both of you may be amazed at how unnatural it can feel to actually just listen without speaking. After the five minute, three minute, or eight minute rant is over, the listener then is free to express feedback.
Why it works?
Active listening practice is another communication exercise that enhances our ability to truly listen and take in another’s stream of consciousness. Focusing on them intently without distractions, gives them the sense of our undivided attention; something of vital importance but of which is rare in today’s busy world. Intentional listening also reminds us to stay focused on the other person without asserting our opinions prematurely. At the end of this exercise, you will exchange places as speaker/listener.
Additional bedtime couples exercises and tips for better intimacy
Here are some amazing bedtime routines to incorporate in your daily lives for better intimacy:
- Keep your phones away: Not only is keeping the phone away great for your relationship, but having zero electronic light is also beneficial for sleep hygiene as well. It will really work wonders for the quality of sleep that you’ll be able to get.
Prioritize your connection with your partner for some time before you doze off – talk about the day, your feelings or anything else that’s on your mind. Make sure to switch off the phones or light a few fragrant candles or two to bond better.
- Sleep naked: Taking all your clothes off before you sleep has proven health benefits (it regulates cortisol, is great for genital health, and improves skin quality too). Additionally, it also allows you and your partner to have more skin on skin contact which results in the release of oxytocin. Plus, it makes having sex in the morning so much more easier!
- Massage each other: Massaging each other is a great routine to keep! Imagine you’ve had a tough day and are being pampered by your partner with a loving massage. Whatever your reason, massage is a great tool for enhanced relaxation before bedtime and couples connection.
- Show gratitude: Do you know what sucks at the end of the day? Criticism. Now replace that with gratitude and you’ll see what a difference it makes to your life. Say thanks at the end of the day to your spouse and you’ll notice how rewarding life becomes.
- Have sex: The best way to reconnect at night as a couple is to have sex! Of course, you cannot do it every single day. But, do engage with each other intimately/sexually and explore new and limitless options every single night.
Dedicate at least 30-60 minutes of your day to the health of your relationship with your spouse and witness the upward spiral effect of it in all areas of your lives.
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.
More by Kelli H