When you first buy a new car, you take very good care of it. You make sure to clean the inside and outside regularly so that it maintains the look and feel it had when you drove it off the lot. After a few months, though, you begin to ease up on your diligent care of your new vehicle. Bottles and cans tend to make their way to the floorboard, dirt and grime tends to settle on the doors and windows; the honeymoon is officially over.
The same can be said for the heat and intimacy within your marriage. When you and your spouse first meet and begin to fall in love, you can’t keep your hands off of each other. You’re crazy about one another and aren’t afraid to show it.
You remember that era of the relationship, right? You’d stay up until the dawn, sometimes talking, sometimes not at all. The connection between the two of you was magnetic back then. But over time, the flame has lessened, and you’d much rather be in bed by 9:30 so you can watch your favorite show.
What happened? Well, just as your fancy new car became old news quickly, you’ve gotten so used to your spouse that you’ve neglected to maintain the qualities that made you fall in love in the first place. The intimate flame within a marriage unfortunately doesn’t burn eternal naturally, it takes hard work to keep the love alive. Follow the tips below and you’ll rediscover that spark that you’ve been missing.
In some ways, non-sexual touch is more important to your relationship than sexual, passionate touch. Since the majority of your time spent together will be outside your bedroom, it’s imperative that you work in some physical touch within little moments of your day. A little grab in the hallway as you pass each other or a gentle shoulder rub in the kitchen while one of you is cooking can go a long way. Find opportunities outside of the bedroom to give each other a hug or kiss. This will also make your sexual contact less awkward because with increased non-sexual touch during your typical day, touching each other behind closed doors feels more natural.
Date your spouse
This bit of advice may seem overused, but it’s super important. Going on dates without the distraction of parenthood or the stresses of work weighing down on you can allow you to reconnect in a way that not many tactics will allow. It will also remind you of a simpler time in life when it was just the two of you. It’s fun to reminisce and re-experience those feelings with a weekly or biweekly date night that you’ve implanted in your schedule. If you can make time for all of the other things you need to get done, you can definitely make time for some quiet time with your spouse.
Compliment each other…and mean it
Sometimes calling your wife beautiful or your husband handsome can become as habitual as kissing each other goodnight as the sun goes down. There’s no emotion to it, it’s just a pattern of behavior that you’ve become accustomed to. Although the sentiment behind the words are strong, it’s important that you make more conscious compliments of your spouse.
Be specific and intentional with each compliment you serve up and make sure they can feel how genuine you’re being. Make note of your wife’s new earrings and tell her you like them. Let your man know that his new slacks are looking great as you walk hand in hand on your way to your favorite dinner spot.
Be genuine, be specific, and let them know that you appreciate what they’re bringing to the table.
Know each other’s love languages
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your interactions with your spouse. You need to know how they appreciate the delivery of your love. In his brilliant book (a must read if you’re married!) The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman defines 5 different areas that men and women prefer to receive love that is given to them:
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
To improve the intimacy within your relationship, you need to have a full understanding of what turns your partner on. If you’re performing acts of service all day long, waiting for your spouse to show appreciation and love for your deeds, but they don’t value that love language, then you’re wasting your time AND probably getting frustrated in the process.
It’s not that you need to love your wife or husband harder, you need to love them smarter. Figure out what revs their engine and then put most of your energy to showing in that specific way. They will feel more connected to your intimacy attempts and it will bring the two of you closer. By being transparent with each other about what it is that you appreciate most, you can save each other time, energy, and frustration, allowing the intimacy in your relationship to flourish.
Keeping the intimacy alive in your marriage is as important as being faithful to each other. Yeah, I said it. Intimacy isn’t just about sex, it’s about connectedness and feeling close to each other. If you’re going to spend the entirety of your life with another person, don’t you want to cultivate that warm sensation of love within your relationship? Without intimacy you create distance and disconnect between you and your partner. To be happy, healthy, and crazy about each other when you’re well past your prime starts with these subtle intimacy tips. Use them wisely!
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.