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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion

How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion

When two people get married, they never seem to anticipate the struggles that frequently arise as time goes on. In the beginning, it’s easy to have passion and intimacy for each other. But for many couples, this passion and intimacy in marriage tend to wane the longer they are together.

But it doesn’t have to. You can have a healthy, loving marriage that is full of intimacy. It’s not always easy, but it can be done if you both commit to making it happen.

But what is intimacy? How do we define it? Most people probably think of sexuality when they hear the word “intimacy.” But it is so much more than that. So, first, let’s take a look at the different kinds of intimacy.

Types of Intimacy

Believe it or not, the best kinds of marriages have strong connections in all of these areas of intimacy. So, pay special attention to them so you can learn how to foster these types in your marriage.

Physical

Physical intimacy isn’t necessarily about sex. Instead, it’s about holding hands, hugging, snuggling, and spooning in bed at night. Touch creates and maintains emotional bonds outside of the bedroom.

Hugs and holding each other close facilitates your brains into releasing bonding chemicals called Oxytocin.[1] The more you nurture your physical intimacy, the closer you will feel.

Sexual

This type of intimacy is obvious—having a good, healthy sex life. Now, everyone has their own individual sex drives. So, this is something that should be negotiated in terms of frequency and type of sexual interaction you both prefer. Regardless, the chemicals that are released during sexual acts do bond a couple together.

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Emotional

Feeling close to your spouse on an emotional level is also vital to a happy marriage. Saying “I love you” or doing nice things for them is what keeps you both emotionally bonded. If you don’t have that, then you will tend to drift apart.

There are many ways you can pay attention to your partner’s emotional needs. For reference, you can read about Dr. Gary Chapman’s work on love languages. He suggests there are five different ways that people express love: giving gifts, spending time together, physical touch, words of affirmation, and acts of service.[2] Discovering each other’s love language will keep you emotionally intimate.

Intellectual

Most people probably don’t think of intellect as something you would put in the same category as “intimacy.” However, it’s very much a part of the whole package.

Do you both like to engage in intellectual conversations? Because if one of you only wants to talk about the weather and the other wants to explore the possibilities of quantum physics, then it is very difficult to be intellectually intimate.

Spiritual

Not everyone is religious or spiritual. Some people are even atheists. But having a similar spiritual outlook on life definitely bonds two people. For example, someone who is a deeply devout Catholic would probably have a hard time being spiritually intimate with an atheist.

It’s important to talk about your spiritual beliefs and be accepting of each other, even if you are different. The belief in a higher power is something that can bond any couple.

Why Is Intimacy Important in Marriage?

Many people think that when you get married, that’s when you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. But many times, that’s when the real effort needs to begin. And while it would be great if intimacy always stayed natural and easy, for many couples, it isn’t the case.

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Let’s face it—most of us were not taught how to nurture intimacy in our relationships. If we got lucky, we saw our parents do it. But for many people, that wasn’t the case.

Intimacy keeps couples bonded. It’s the glue that holds people together. That’s why it’s crucial that you don’t ever lose sight of constantly enriching the intimacy in your marriage.

So, let’s talk about the reasons why you should continually work to strengthen your intimacy in marriage.

1. It Improves Communication

When you feel distant and disconnected from your spouse, it’s difficult for people to talk and share their feelings. But the problem is that it becomes a snowball effect—the less intimate you are, the less you communicate. And the less you communicate, the less intimate you become.

2. It Builds Trust

When you are not physically or emotionally intimate, it can lead to you wondering what they are doing “behind your back.” Not that they are necessarily cheating, but the feelings of uncertainty can lead to mistrust. That’s why it’s important to stay intimate, so you can keep trusting each other.

3. It Allows You to Open Up More Emotionally

It’s not easy for everyone to share their feelings. Doing so makes people feel vulnerable, and that can be a scary or uncomfortable place for many people. But when you’re feeling intimate with your spouse, it’s easier to open up about how you really feel.

4. It Promotes Teamwork

Marriage is teamwork, but if you are not intimate, then sometimes each spouse eventually “does their own thing.” When this happens, you will inevitably drift apart and become nothing but roommates. But being intimate will reinforce our feelings of being a part of a team together.

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How to Rekindle the Passion and Intimacy With Your Spouse

If you find that you and your spouse are struggling with intimacy issues, don’t give up! Nothing is ever lost that can’t be found and re-created. It just takes some effort, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.

1. Have Sex (or Have Sex More Often)

As I mentioned earlier, sexual contact is not only fun, but it also releases chemicals in your brains that literally bond you together. So, even if your life is busy, make sure that you find the time to have sex—or just do it more often if you already have an active sex life.

2. Touch Each Other Non-Sexually

Granted, not everyone is a touchy-feely kind of person. However, just as sex bonds you, so does non-sexual touch. So, don’t forget to hold each other’s hands or cuddle up on the couch while you’re watching a movie together.

3. Do Things Together

It might sound obvious, but you need to spend time together if you want to rekindle passion and intimacy in marriage! If you’ve been together for a long time, it’s easy to just get into a rut and not do anything fun together. Whether it’s going on a hike or cooking dinner at home together, doing activities together strengthens your bond.

4. Have Deep Conversations

Many couples that don’t spend a lot of time together also don’t do much talking—and I don’t mean the mundane kind of talking like “what did the kids do today” or “what’s for dinner tonight?” It’s important to engage in some meaningful, deeper conversations about life.

5. Step Out of Your Routines

Some people are creatures of habit—in fact, many are. While it’s normal to get up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, watch TV, and then go to bed, that routine doesn’t foster a lot of intimacy. So, make it an intention to try new things and get out of your everyday habits.

6. Have Regular Date Nights

You can spend time together like I just mentioned above, but not all activities you do together will be romantic. So, make sure you have regular date nights. Buy her some flowers, and do something romantic for him. It’s important to keep the romance alive, and regular date nights will definitely help you do just that.

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7. Put Away Your Phones

While technology can be very useful in our everyday lives, it can also get in the way of a couple’s intimacy. Think about it—if you are always on your phone or anticipating when someone will text you or what the latest happenings are on social media, you will be ignoring your partner. So, keep technology use to a minimum when you two are together.

8. Write Each Other Love Letters

At the beginning of relationships, it’s easy to express why you love your partner. But sometimes, as the years roll by, people forget to do the “little things.” You could write a love letter or leave post-it notes around your house with special messages to each other. That way, you will be constantly reminded of your love for one another.

Can a Marriage Survive Without Intimacy?

Many people ponder this question. If you have been in a marriage for a long time but you don’t have a lot of intimacy, can it last? Well, the answer is different for every couple. However, the general answer is this: yes and no.

Sure, you can stay together forever, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be happy if there’s no intimacy. I guess it just depends on what your tolerance level of non-intimacy is. But the happiest couples are definitely the ones who have a deep sense of intimacy with each other, so that’s why it’s worth the effort to re-create and maintain it—so you can truly ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.

More Tips on Strengthening a Marriage

Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

Reference

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on April 14, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

Reference

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