- Dr. Teresa Edwards
Emotional Intimacy in Marriage
Keeping a relationship strong takes a lot of work. Here are some ideas to help maintain the great relationship you already have or create the closeness that you want.
At the beginning of a romantic relationship, it's usually pretty easy to maintain a close friendship with your significant other that allows you both to feel known and accepted in the relationship. As time progresses, this can become more and more difficult as life starts to sneak in with its distractions and responsibilities. Once a couple adds children to the mix, this can seem almost impossible! Below are a few suggestions on how to create opportunities for connection that, if done routinely, can help maintain or rebuild levels of emotional intimacy in your marriage.
Goodbye and Hello
It's amazing how powerful it can be to create a habit of taking about two minutes to say goodbye to your partner as you leave for the day and hello again after you've been away from each other all day. This isn't just a flippant goodbye and hello. The goodbye should include a few minutes discussing the upcoming day, such as something interesting or exciting that you expect to happen during the day. The hello should also include a few minutes to reconnect by talking about how the day went. Both the goodbye and hello should involve a kiss that lasts 6 seconds, at least.
Dose of Daily 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. 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 nurture feelings of love and connection in the relationship that can buffer difficult moments or disagreements.
I encourage you to incorporate these small behaviors into your daily routine with your partner and see the profound effect they can have. For more information on creating emotional intimacy in your marriage, check out the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.