If you’ve been married for any significant period of time, you’ll know that after a couple of years it takes work to keep the chemistry alive and thriving. Ups and downs are normal in any couple’s romantic and intimate life, but working around these problems and making your alone-time a priority is important. Some couples simply don’t know how to reintroduce spontaneity and sensuality into their intimate life, ending up bored, unfulfilled, and secretly resenting their partner for their woes. However much you might not want to hear it, all those people who told you that marriage is work were right – it takes effort, sacrifice, and dedication to make a marriage work. Here’s a guide for keeping that all-important spark alive when you’re feeling disconnected from your spouse.
Firstly, why do long-term couples struggle with intimacy?
It’s completely normal to go through periods in your marriage where you feel disconnected from your partner. The stresses of our jobs and childcare responsibilities sometimes simply collide with our marriage, and intimacy is often the first thing dropped from a hectic schedule. When I say intimacy, I’m not just talking about the time spent between a couple in private. Intimacy is the foundation of all solid marriages and all good relationships: intimacy is the shared complicity in the life you’re building together, but intimacy can also be as simple as buying your spouse their favorite chocolate when they’re feeling down. Intimacy is about the care given to one another as you share your life, and building this notion of ‘intimacy’ is key to a solid marriage.
How to Enhance Intimacy in Your Marriage
If you want to enhance your intimacy within your marriage or relationship, you should follow some of the tips laid out below. Start small – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your relationship. The combination of lots of small gestures will pay off, and you and your partner can regain your intimate connection, perhaps finding it to be even stronger than before.
Prioritize Your Time Together
When you’ve been married and have a family together, sometimes it’s easy to blur the lines between “family time” and “married life” – while the two work together, they’re two separate entities. Just as you cannot focus all your time on your marriage, you can’t focus all your time on family life without setting aside at least one night a week to reconnect and spend time with your significant other alone. If you have children and busy schedules, try to find a sitter or a family member to help you out with childcare, so that you can enjoy a fun night with your spouse.
Have Fun Date Nights
When it comes to your alone-time with your spouse, try to do something fun and different, rather than always doing the same dinner-and-a-movie routine. Dinner and a movie is a great classic date night, but why not go see a play together? Or take a trip to the theatre? Perhaps indulge in some nostalgic fun by going bowling and grabbing fast food? There are so many fun ways to spend your time together, sometimes it’s beneficial to think outside the box.
Learn To Talk About Your Relationship
Being able to have frank, honest, and open discussions about the state of your marriage (without a mediator) is important. If you can’t sit down and openly discuss problems without an argument ensuing, you might want to consider marriage counseling (which I’ll discuss further on.) But before leaping into a therapist’s office and paying money for counseling, try to discuss problems freely with your spouse. If talking leads to arguing, why not write things down and exchange? Learning to communicate will make saving a failing marriage 100 times easier.
Increase Your Intimate Time
The correlation between the satisfaction of a couple and the frequency of their physical intimacy is underrated. Often, marriage counselors will ask couples how often they are intimate together per week – not to be nosy, but because physical intimacy can be an effective metric for a relationship, especially long-term relationships and marriages.
If you’re finding that your physical intimacy has decreased, become boring, or doesn’t inspire you in the same way it used to, there are ways to change this. As I explained above, setting aside a date night for fun couples activities is a great way to add time into your schedule for some physical intimacy. While the idea of “scheduling” physical intimacy might sound awfully un-romantic, it’s better than not having it at all. Plus, you’re not “scheduling” physical intimacy, you’re scheduling a date night with your spouse – if physical intimacy follows, all the better.
Spice Up Your Intimate Time
If you’ve managed to maintain physical intimacy with your partner but things have become mundane, regular, or outright boring, there are plenty of ways to add a bit of spice to the bedroom. Why not talk about exploring one another’s fantasies, or add a dimension to the intimacy with some fun, adult toys? Adult toy use is a perfectly healthy addition to any intimate life, and can vastly increase the satisfaction and fun had by both spouses during your physical time. Make sure to check online sex toy reviews before making your purchase, as you want to ensure you’re buying something useful.
See A Marriage Counselor
If all else fails and you want to save a failing marriage, going to marriage counseling can help. Marriage counseling is unfairly stigmatized but is frequently used by both celebrities and politicians alike to help them balance their relationships alongside their stressful professional responsibilities. Marriage counseling can help re-route your priorities as a couple, understand your spouses’ concerns (and vice versa) while allowing yourselves a safe environment to discuss your relationship with a trained mediator. Many couples cite marriage counseling for having saved and greatly improved the state of their marriage – don’t think of attending marriage counseling as a sign that your marriage has failed. Think of it as a sign that you’re both willing to go above and beyond in order to fix and improve your marriage. Good luck!