Want to Keep Your Relationship Going Strong? Intimacy is KeyFriday, February 13, 2015
For people with type 2 diabetes and may be dealing with obesity or body image issues, getting intimate with each other is something that can be a real challenge for couples.
And intimacy is the key to a relationship not just sex alone.
One difficult phrase and concept that I try to get my clients to understand is “Mind Blowing Intimacy.” This is no surprise as we are inundated with “Mind Blowing Sex” on reality TV, in magazines, on the Internet, and in movies. “Mind Blowing Sex” gets the highest media ratings, as well as most couples’ attention. In truth, “Mind Blowing Sex” is nothing compared to “Mind Blowing Intimacy.” In real life, “Mind Blowing Sex” cannot save a marriage, nor can the lack of it destroy one. “Mind Blowing Intimacy” can save a marriage and the lack of it can destroy a marriage.
Many of us are confused because we think the two are one in the same. They are not. Intimacy must come first in a healthy relationship or the relationship will not be well supported. I have worked with many couples who told me (while in the process of divorce) that the sex was still good, but there was no intimacy anymore. Women have a tendency to give men a bad rap in this area. Women generalize men. They believe men don’t care about intimacy and just want sex. This is not what I see in my office. In fact, when a man over 30 years of age is not happy in his marriage, it usually stems from a lack of intimacy. Men report that when their wife has sex just for him, but isn’t into it for herself, it is not meaningful. This is a clear example of him wanting more intimacy.
How did we get so far away from intimacy? Part of the reason is due to the virtual world. We connect through emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. We no longer have to meet each other. Even the telephone takes more time than we are willing to commit. We don’t touch anymore at home and we forget to check in with each other while at work. We don’t take time to share meals together, and we are in such a hurry to get our errands run, and our work done, that we have stopped listening to one another. Following that, sex is a sterile performance, and something we need to do to keep each other happy.
Marital or relationship happiness is dependent upon intimacy, as is our health. The media may not promote it, but go to your doctor with a heart problem, cancer, stress related illness, or sexual dysfunction and they are going to tell you that becoming more intimate in your relationship will help you heal. When couples haven’t had sex in a long while or they are estranged, they come in complaining about how to have sex again, as it feels awkward. This is not uncommon, but my approach may be. I join their marriage team and ask each of them to begin by telling each other what intimacy means to them. By putting sex on the sideline for a while (since it really isn’t the problem anyway), they can begin to be intimate with each other.
Here are suggestions of how you can develop “Mind Blowing Intimacy” in your marriage:
- Have protected time built into your schedule that is just for the two of you.
- Listen without interrupting. Before you respond, make sure you censor it so it is true, but still kind.
- Choose one day of the week and take note of how many times you ask your partner to do something, help with something, or provide you with something. Focus on being the giver instead and actually do and say the things your spouse would appreciate.
- Watch an old movie or listen to old songs, and talk with your spouse about how the movie or song touched you.
- Go to bed and focus on pleasing the other person, whatever that is…don’t make it about you and your needs. Touching goes a long way with building intimacy.
- When you are in a crowd or getting attention, make sure you make eye contact with your spouse more than you do the crowd.
- Tell your spouse frequently what you admire and love about them.
- Ask your spouse for help with your weaknesses instead of defending them.
- Revisit the town or restaurant you use to frequent as a new couple. Talk about it and share your first impressions. Tell your spouse how you were feeling at this time. Help them connect to you.
- When your partner is “down,” no one has more power to build them up or knock them down more than you. Make sure you hold them and tell them you are on their side, and you will beat this together as a team.
Commitment in a relationship is so important, but no one can commit if there isn’t a connection to commit to. Keep working toward and building that connection with intimacy. Everything, including your marriage survival, health and mind blowing sex is dependent on the intimate connection you share with your partner. Intimacy, NOT sex, is the true “Mind Blower,” in a relationship.