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  • Dr. Teresa Edwards, LMFT

Nurturing Emotional Intimacy in Your Marriage

Keeping a relationship strong over time takes effort. At the beginning of a romantic relationship, it's usually easy to maintain a deep connection with your partner that allows you both to feel known and accepted.

As time progresses, this can become more and more difficult as life sneaks in with its distractions and responsibilities. The addition of children to the equation can make it seem almost impossible! But, maintaining connection doesn't have to be hard. It just takes some time and intention.

Building Emotional Intimacy

Small, Frequent Connection

The power of cultivating small habits of connecting, such as daily rituals that bring partners together, is truly remarkable. An excellent example of this is a parting and reunion ritual. Take a few minutes to say goodbye to your partner as you leave for the day and hello after you reunite at the end of the day. This should be more than just a casual exchange.

The parting should include a few minutes of discussing the upcoming day, such as what is on your heart and mind for the day. Similarly, the reunion should involve a few minutes dedicated to reconnection through discussion of the day's events. Both the parting and reunion should involve a kiss that lasts 6 seconds, at least, fostering the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, in the brain. This ritual's strength lies in its ability to prioritize the relationship, foster communication, and keep couples informed about each other's lives.

A Daily Dose of Affection

Each day should include a minimum of a 5-minute dose of daily affection. Affection includes kissing, holding hands, cuddling, hugging, and other love touches. Expressing affection contributes to a deeper emotional connection, and builds a sense of trust and security. The coolest part is that loving touch, such as holding hands, can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increase levels of the love hormone oxytocin.

Appreciate and Admire

To keep feelings of love flowing in a relationship, it's necessary to express appreciation and admiration to your partner on a daily basis. Often times, we think of things that we admire or appreciate about our partner, but don't verbalize those thoughts. It's important to express these thoughts out loud to our partner. This helps to create a warm and welcoming environment in the relationship that can buffer difficult moments or disagreements.

In your story of love and connection, the pursuit of emotional intimacy is an ongoing journey. By fostering small habits of connection, showing affection daily, and expressing admiration and appreciation, you can lay the foundation for a relationship rich in emotional depth.

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