Improving Intimacy in Marriage - And Why
written by Nathan & Kelli
Recently we have been pondering the question, “Why is marriage important?” There are many reasons - companionship, stability, children, commitment, etc. As we were trying to list and rank them, one of the common themes seemed to be the idea of a “helpmeet” (ie. a helpful companion, particularly a spouse).
Marriage is important because both of us need a partner who is able to help us in all the ways we need. Our partner shares our burdens, pushes us when needed, calms us when we get upset or overwhelmed, listens when we need to talk, advises us when we are unsure, steadies us when we go astray, and loves us unconditionally.
This is a big job and it can only be done well by someone who is truly committed and desires to understand us. This ability to understand someone else requires significant effort. It requires paying attention. It requires communication. It requires a genuine interest in their concerns, their fears, their joy, and how they think. This ability to truly understand another person is true intimacy.
So how do we build this intimacy?
Make time, every day, to talk with each other. We have a scheduled time to talk, every day, right after supper. We also make time during the day as needed. Don’t let life get so busy that you don’t have time to really talk. Share each other's daily ups and downs. Create shared goals. Don’t let life crowd out spending time with each other.
Connect at the farewells and the reunions. We try to make every hello and goodbye special. A goodbye kiss before one of you heads off to work. A greeting at the door when someone comes home with groceries. A good night kiss before bed. An inquiry into how your partner slept when they wake up. Taking advantage of these opportunities can help both of you feel loved and cared for.
Share everything with your spouse first. In our relationship we have an agreement to share everything (concerns, information, cookies, etc) with each other first, no matter how big or small. This may seem almost silly, but who is the first person you share things with? Is it your parents, social media, a friend, your children, or your spouse? Obviously this isn’t easy, and we don’t always succeed, but it is a goal that connects us tightly together.
Pray and study together. Every morning and night we kneel together in prayer, and each day we take time to discuss what scriptures or book we are reading that day. This type of communication gives you a window into how your spouse thinks, what their worries are, and what is important to them.
Create shared goals. We regularly create goals together. For example we currently have goals for weight loss, monthly spending, and publishing a new article on this website every two weeks. As you create goals with your spouse(career, physical, spiritual, money, etc), it creates a shared purpose in your life. If you are willing to compromise and approach life united, there is little you won’t be able to achieve.
Cultivate common interests. The common interests we have found are writing these articles and spending time outdoors hiking and camping. Sometimes this will mean learning to enjoy what your spouse enjoys simply because it gives you time together. If every evening and weekend you are off doing your own things, it makes it difficult to feel connected. Find things you enjoy doing together and make plans to do them. A couple that plays together stays together.
Physical intimacy. This has been a challenging point in our marriage at times, but over the years we have learned sex is important to marriage. Sex, by itself, doesn’t create intimacy, it requires both of you to allow yourselves to be vulnerable. It requires both of you to pay attention to each other's needs and wants. This vulnerability, attentiveness, and enjoyment can be a capstone in the creation of genuine intimacy between you and your spouse. Sex should be a priority, don’t let other commitments get in the way. Have fun and enjoy this time together.
We both want to keep growing and become better people. We believe the best way to accomplish this goal is to have someone at our side who truly understands us, and can help and encourage us. Our goal is to be that person for each other.
Intimacy is key. In order to grow closer together we are focusing on our ability to communicate with, and better understand, each other. As we do this, our ability to be a helpmeet for each other improves as well.
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