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7 Ways to Enhance Intimacy in Marriage

7 Ways to Enhance Intimacy in Marriage

Successful marriages last a long time. While working at the same place for twenty or thirty years can be monotonous, being married for the same amount of time should be anything but. In fact, successful marriages are so long-lasting simply because both parties actively keep things fresh. The love stories you hear about a couple on their 25th, 30th, or even 50th wedding anniversary all have one thing in common: they’ve done everything they can to keep the passion and intimacy in their marriage alive and growing.

They do so by:

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1. Not taking life too seriously.

Life certainly won’t be all fun and games, but that doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. Never lose the flirtatious personalities you had when  you started falling in love. Joke around with each other, play pranks on each other, even tease each other (nicely, of course). Be the one who can pull the other out of the dumps when they’re feeling low, and remind them how much there is to enjoy about life.

2. Follow passions together.

Find things you both like to do, and experience them together as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to try new things, either. I know I would never go to an art fair by myself, but I love exploring the different crafts and gadgets being presented while strolling through an exhibition with my wife. And she would never go to a Yankee game if it wasn’t for me, but we have dozens of inside jokes and memories that stem from sporting events in which we both ended up having the time of our lives. Always be open to an experience you know your spouse will enjoy.

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3. Be physically present and loving.

Being physical in a marriage doesn’t necessarily have to do with sex. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Remember when you were younger and used to hold hands all the time, or kiss each other goodbye or goodnight? Never stop doing that. Always show love and affection for your spouse, no matter how “used to it” you feel you are. You should never be used to hugging your husband or wife, simply for the fact that one day you might not be able to do so.

4. Write out your feelings.

Don’t just tell your spouse you love them; show them in words. Write them little love notes or poems, and send them letters (even though you live in the same house!). Putting your feelings into written words will not only mean much more to them, but doing so will also refresh in your own mind the reasons you love and care for them so much. If you feel like your relationship has hit a snag or has become somewhat stagnant, get out some fancy paper and write to your loved one exactly what you’d say if they were sitting right next to you.

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5. Give thanks and pray together.

Even if you’re not the religious type, recognize the spirituality and sanctity of your marriage. Look deep within your heart and soul, and within your spouse’s heart and soul, and truly get to the essence of what it means to be bound in holy matrimony. Recognize how incredible your life is having someone with you throughout the good and bad times, and give thanks to them, as well as to whatever higher being brought you together for the rest of your life. No matter what you believe in, true love is proof that there are mysterious powers beyond our control that guide us in our daily lives.

5. Spend quiet time together.

Take time to visit a place that is special to your marriage, and simply enjoy that time with no interruptions or outside thoughts. Take in the scenery together, holding hands while making a short, fleeting moment last forever. Let every other care and worry you have slip away, and know that in that moment, the only thing that matters is your relationship.

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6. Talk things out.

Like I said, not every moment in your marriage will be perfect. Rough times are unavoidable. But they’re unavoidable for a reason. Instead of trying to skirt the issue, or pretend everything is fine, don’t be afraid to talk about what’s bothering you. There’s nothing worse for a marriage than bottled up feelings that will one day explode in fits of anger or rage. If you feel like your marriage has hit a snag, don’t go to your friends for advice; they’re not experts in your relationship. Go straight to the source. Talk to your spouse about the problem you’re both facing. It will be much easier to work through whatever’s irking you than avoiding the issue altogether.

7. Give thanks and pray together.

Even if you’re not the religious type, recognize the spirituality and sanctity of your marriage. Look deep within your heart and soul, and within your spouse’s heart and soul, and truly get to the essence of what it means to be bound in holy matrimony. Recognize how incredible your life is having someone with you throughout the good and bad times, and give thanks to them, as well as to whatever higher being brought you together for the rest of your life. No matter what you believe in, true love is proof that there are mysterious powers beyond our control that guide us in our daily life.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm1.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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