Continuation of the series, today I want to focus on the most commonly given advice by professionals in regards to both emotional and physical intimacy for married couples. I do not pretend to be an expert at all, I'm merely passing along some really great advice so that your marriage might also be super fantastic! It may be that your own marriage is great in most areas but in need of a little help in one or more of the others mentioned here. It may be that you're in need of more in-depth support and counsel and if that is the case I cannot recommend more strongly, that you get whatever help and support you need right away to turn your marriage around.
If you're just reading for the first time, the introduction to this series is here and part 1 on spiritual intimacy is here.
For many married couples the passion and the tingly excitement of being snuggly close to their spouse tends to fade away after a time. This is quite normal
and happens in almost every marriage. Between work, kids, pregnancies, school-related schedules, the home, outside commitments such as church ministry,
sports, hobbies or community involvement and wide variety of other factors, many married couples tend to fall into a routine that leaves very little
snuggly time for each other. Time together often means discussing bills, kids, home repairs, or other important things that do need to be discussed, but
once those things are addressed both spouses tend to go their seperate ways and back to their routines. It's nothing that either spouse plans, it just
becomes a habit if you're not mindful of it, and after a while you'll actually begin to grow apart instead of growing closer. This is dangerous ground
friends, and this is where potential temptations, bitterness, resentment, despair, lonliness and more may come along into your relationship and you may
find your marriage in a great deal of distress so please take this to heart.
There are numerous articles online and many books out there that address this very subject and truth be told they all pretty much say the same thing. Many
of these are written by doctors, therapists, counsellers and pastors who have had years and years of first hand experience helping married couples find
their way back to a genuinely fabulous marriage when something, somewhere went wrong. All these books and articles say generally the same thing because
there really is "recipe" for a fabulous marriage if both husband and wife are willing and desire it. I wont list all the suggestions but I will mention
many of them. If they seem obvious, please remember that no matter how obvious they seem, most of these are things married couples tend not to do, after
their routines begin pulling them apart. These are helpful things to begin drawing you back together, where you should be.
Spouse Time Take 15 minutes (or more) each and every day to sit together and talk. Turn off the tv, stereo, radio, laptop, cell phone or anything else
that can distract you and sit together on the couch or go for a walk together. This is not errand time or walk the dog time or take out the trash time,
this is 15 minutes of Spouse Time. Ask how his day was or what her plans are that day and really listen to what the other says without interupting them to
unload about your day, before it's your turn. Both husbands and wives need to know the other actually hears them, supports them and cares about what
troubles them or what made them smile that day. It may seem like a very simple thing but what this does is re-builds that critical, wonderful, emotional
intimacy with each other that may have fallen by the wayside. Once you begin doing this you'll both look forward to that time each day when you know you'll
have each other's undivided attention to share whatever it is you want to share about your day. Depending on your routines it may be best to do this in the
morning or in the evening after work. Pick whatever time works best for your personal situation and dedicate yourselves to a minimum of 15 minutes of
Spouse Time each day.
Face Time As silly or trivial as this might sound at first, you and your spouse dedicate yourselves to a minimum of 15 seconds each and every day of tender, passionate kisses without the expectation of anything else. It may sound silly to those couples who already do this but for many couples that kind of closeness was discontinued a long time ago. Like many other areas of marriage this kind of tender closeness just gets lost in the shuffle of life and ends up being replaced by a quick smooch on the way out the door. He misses it, she misses it but life is busy, the kids have soccer practice, he's exahusted from a hard day, she's running behind for this appointment or that and on and on it goes. Many married couples work really great together as a team to juggle the household but they often forget to spend that close face time with each other. It brings back a daily dose of a very special emotional and physical closeness that may be in a need of a great big refreshment. Make sure it's no less than 15 seconds when you begin, and even if one of you is giggling through it while the other is mentally counting away the seconds, you'll find before long no one's counting, no one's giggling and you're both looking forward to it every day.
Date Night Do you remember that excitement and anticipation you used to feel when you were first dating your spouse? Looking forward to seeing him or her that day or night, and the plans you had for dinner or a movie or an afternoon at the lake? If you and your spouse are like most couples, that's a fond and treasured memory tucked away safely someplace behind kids, work, car repairs, the dog pee on the carpet, errands, appointments and about a hundred other things. In all the reading I've done on this subject, Date Night is one of the most common perscriptions professionals hand out for rekindling that emotional intimacy in your marriage. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive but you should agree together on a night that works for both your schedules each week and make that night YOUR night for your date. As much as you are able, never let anything interfere with that and start making it a regular thing.
Private Time Private time is exactly what you might suspect it is and it's a most serious, private, critical element of a wonderful marriage. While physical intimacy with your spouse does not guarantee a fantastic marriage all by itself, if there is any kind of dysfunction in this area it almost certainly can be a destructive force in your relationship. Scripture is clear that when a man and woman join in marriage the two become one flesh and that is exactly what it means. A bond is formed in marriage of spiritual, emotional and physical closeness that should only grow deeper and stronger with time. Whatever you do, never let anything disrupt your physical intimacy time together and make sure it's a regular thing. It's very easy to let work schedules or other factors come between you and your spouse's time of physical closeness but it's a very dangerous habit to get into. Without this, relationships begin to take on the baggage with both spouses of lonliness, insecurity, doubts, bitterness, resentment, indifference and in no time at all it begins to eat away like an acid on the emotional and spiritual intimacy as well. Whatever you do, guard this area of your marriage closely. If your marriage is already on shaky ground in this area, experts and professionals suggest you begin scheduling times of physical intimacy. As robotic or clinical as that might sound, these same experts who have been counselling married couples report that when husbands and wives actually do this, it brings them closer together in every other area as well, and before long the "schedule" is out the window and they're doing just fine.
If such things as bitterness and resentment have already begun to build in this area, it's essential that you both take the time to sit together and in a non-threatening, non-condemning non-accusatory way, express your thoughts and feelings with one another with the goal of asking "how can we fix this?" and coming to an agreement to work on it, and begin loving each other the way you should.
I hope this has been some benefit today and I would welcome your thoughts and ideas if you'd care to leave a comment. Tomorrow I'm going to focus on a bulleted list of Honey-Dos and Honey-Don'ts for both husband and wife.