As a couples counselor, I find myself talking frequently about the importance of maintaining intimacy in a marriage. It is definitely something that you have to work to maintain. Like cultivating a garden you can leave it alone for a little while and work on it in bursts, but neglect it for too long and it dies. Simply growing apart due to unintentional neglect can be a big factor that leads to marital dissatisfaction or divorce. It usually happens slowly over time. Some couples do not realize that they have neglected their relationship until it is too late.
In our busy, modern world with work, kids, and social media pulling us in so many directions, couples often struggle with how to do this consistently. First, keep in mind there are many different types of intimacy. Check out my previous post titled Cultivating Marital Intimacy: Types of intimacy. Also, one or two the easy tips below might help you figure out ways to work on maintaining intimacy consistently as a part of a busy lifestyle.
- Text a joke – Humor is a type of intimacy. If you come across a joke that you know you spouse would particularly appreciate or think of them because of an inside joke the two you share, send a text or email before you forget.
- Set a date to “stay in” – This one works well in two ways. Get child care outside the house, if needed, and stay at home together for several hours on a weekend. Or set a time for a “stay in” date on a week night for 15 to 30 minutes. Do anything that doesn’t involve screens. Play a card game, cook/bake something, or sit on the porch with a glass of tea or wine, hold hands, and look at the stars.
- Find a shared hobby – Shared hobbies can be a big help because they not only give you something in common but they often involve seasonal or regularly scheduled activities that you do together and you both look forward to. If you both love biking and you have been neglecting the relationship a little over the winter, when the spring hits your likely to automatically pull back in as you both get together to plan for the season.
- Try new things together – There is just something about experiencing new things together that creates a bond. Get out, explore, and try anything that you have not done before. Maybe you will find something great that you can do together again. Maybe you’ll find something you never want to experience ever again. Either way if you do it together it will help build intimacy.
- Phone reminders – Set a reminder on your phone to help you remember to do something extra once a month such as pick up your spouse’s favorite for dinner, send a email love letter, do a chore or task that your spouse usually handles to give them a break. When your spouse knows you thought about them in a way that shows you know them deeply or understand what they are going through, it goes a long way.
Photo credit: TheeErin