To build calm, caring, and respectful emotional intimacy is more than just important to help strengthen your marriage —it is the SPINE of the relationship. Having a relationship implies each person involved will “relate” with the other, and the TONE of the relating sets the stage for the quality of the relationship (how deep it grows, how long it lasts, and how much it will benefit the lives of the individuals involved).
Unfortunately, when life makes lemons, we usually end up squeezing them over the heads of the people closest to us, especially our spouses. Taking stress out on our children leaves us feeling guilty and inadequate as parents, but taking out frustration out on your spouse or dumping anxiety or sadness on him or her seems to come with the territory.
However, the emotional connection between two romantic partners is like a delicate braid of silk thread—easily broken and too fine for quick repair.
Though not the least bit durable, the “silk braid” of intimacy IS extremely powerful. Couples who share a respectful and openly honest emotional bond can survive A LOT of relationship hardships and are healthier and happier as individuals than those who remain single or stuck in damaged relationships.
Gentle, kind, and soulful intimacy makes you feel safe from the harsh judgments, criticisms, and rejections in everyday life, because despite what society tells you about yourself on bad days, you have someone who deeply loves and accepts you for all that you are.
To feel the power in a deep, intimate connection is to feel SEEN, HEARD, and UNDERSTOOD at the heart of who we are. It can even help us get to know our own selves better, feeling that the one we love has a special, potent power to harness and bring to the surface something inside us that we never knew existed. Intimate partners have shown me my self-belief as a writer, a beautiful woman, and a caring, feminine lover.
In fact, I believe breakups are so incredibly tough because not only do we miss our ex’s touch, laughter, words of support, etc., but we actually feel they are going to take with them all the self-belief their words and caresses instilled in us.
They say someone cannot take away your essence and can only take from you what they gave you, but that’s not a comforting thought if the incredible gift they gave you was a better feeling in your gut when you looked in the mirror every morning.
Here are three simple but very effective things you can do every week to build intimacy and keep it alive inside your marriage or partnership:
First Thing You Can Do Every Week to Fertilize Intimacy in Your Marriage: Buff It Out Together!
If you can make a point to set aside one or two hours of quality time where you both are completely naked, you’ll be impressed with how fast the rough and sharp edges of your relationship dynamic will smooth out and soften.
When we are naked, we’re not only physically vulnerable to temperatures and textures, but emotionally vulnerable to the people around us. When naked, we are more likely to touch our significant other, and we are more likely to touch him with DEEP TENDERNESS. We are also more aware of HIS touch on our exposed skin. Skin-on-skin contact during nonsexual moments feels comforting and soothing.
You can watch a romantic movie together in the nude, or slice some cheese, pop open a bottle of wine, and have a naked bedroom-floor picnic. It’s wonderful to steep in a bubble bath together; bathing each other is a beautiful form of connection. Washing the body of the one you love is symbolic of your role in his life—to take care of him and cleanse him of life’s impurities. It also feels good to be pampered that way.
When my man bathes me, it reminds me of a moment when a butterfly came and landed on my resting hand in a busy park. Of all the people it could have chosen, of all the things it could have been doing, it chose to rest, so beautifully and delicately, on my skin, as if I was special and worth the loving attention.
When you both are naked, make it a point not to rush into sex. For a man, this will be harder. You may want to make love for a bit and stop before his ejaculation to continue taking time “just being” together before you both orgasm.
Second Thing You Can Do Every Week to Fertilize Intimacy in Your Marriage: Praise Each Other’s Names.
Begin making a point of saying good things about your spouse to others (in his presence or not), and STOP saying ANYTHING NEGATIVE about him to others. If you do this, you will begin to feel your heart slowly welling up with a deep need to be closer to your spouse.
More often than not, our critical thoughts and words about a loved one are not only retaliations, but also intimacy blockers. Not only do we feel rejected and insulted when our mates are less than perfect toward us, we also feel wary of getting any closer to this “imperfect lover” who has injured us. We become fearful of further wounding, and we end up criticizing our men to keep ourselves angry with them. This anger is a warning and reminder to our hearts to maintain emotional distance.
The use of criticism to keep a spouse emotionally at bay is especially evident when we find his little quirks or routine behaviors extremely irritating. Chances are, your husband’s burping or toenail picking is not the real reason you want to strangle him. You are probably using these less-than-refined traits as an excuse to remain at a distance from him emotionally, either because he has hurt you in the past or because you have trust issues in general.
“I don’t care how macho he is—your husband’s heart is a timid blossom, waiting and hoping for your soft, sweet feminine care…“
Next time you are around friends or coworkers and you are tempted to bond with them over the unpleasant or neglectful qualities of husbands, stop yourself completely. Try not to even listen to their bashing remarks about their own mates, and instead find one or two opportunities that week to bring up your husband in conversation and praise his name.
If you need to vent, call a professional—someone who can help guide your negative feelings BACK TO a positive light.
You should also be mindful of the way you talk about your husband to his face. Try to flatter him. You don’t even need to use words to communicate compliments—just grab his face and plant one on his smacker in moments when you feel blessed to have him in your life. He’ll pick up on your gratitude.
Naturally, he’ll also be very appreciative if you refrain from personal slandering during spats.
Third Thing You Can Do Every Week to Fertilize Intimacy in Your Marriage: See the Soul of the Other and Let It Lead Your Behavior in the Relationship.
Take a moment right now to think about your husband’s beautiful emotional fragility. Even if he’s a tough guy and nothing “gets to him,” imagine the delicate soul behind his person.
Imagine a soul filled with childhood moments when he was too small to exit his crib or too afraid to talk back to bullies on the playground. Think back to those times his mom mentioned, in passing, how adorable he was as a little boy. Or think about the vulnerability he reveals now—the tear that fell from his eye at his friend’s funeral or the time you caught him sharing baby talk with your child.
Every time you interact with your spouse, imagine that all your words and actions come into direct contact with the soft, sensitive kid-glove of his tender soul. If you knew how deeply your harsh tongue can lash or how truly shunning it feels to him when you give him a premenstrual eye-roll and a stress-dumping huff, would you still do it?
We are all fragile creatures who are capable of so much love and needful of the same amount of love back. Be kind, patient, calm, and attentive to him. Even though his soul is buried under heaps of man-pride and thick, suffocating calluses born of life experience, he is not shatter-resistant. Treat him like a delicate rose—mindfully and with appreciation.
Don’t “overwater” him by babying or smothering him; just respect him like a beautiful blessing of life that demands awe and honor.
And when HE acts poorly, try to tell him how his ill treatment makes your tender soul feel. Talk to him from a “soul place,” as if the vulnerable child in your soul is speaking ON BEHALF of your adult self to him directly. Make your tone and words less about blame and more about exposing your feelings, with the purpose of giving him the chance to make up for his behavior.
If you can do these three things, your connection will strengthen. It will be hard at times, but don’t wait for him to agree to do these things for you before you do them for him, or expect him to give an inch for every inch you give. Just trust and do these things for him because you love him unconditionally and you value the “silk braid” of your relationship.
You can read this article to him and tell him you are going to do these things, hoping that he will participate in at least the naked quality time (most men don’t seem to have a problem with this—that’s a shocker, right?). Make sure to tell him that your intentions are for HIM and that you hope nothing more than for him to feel your efforts in his heart.
See, our biggest rewards come from selfless motives. When you tread gently and carefully through a garden, tending the seeds, admiring the beauty of nature, and asking nothing directly in return, the blossoms will open and reward you plentifully.
I don’t care how macho he is—your husband’s heart is a timid blossom, waiting and hoping for your soft, sweet feminine care to give it the courage and guidance it needs to bloom with intimate love for you.
Strengthen your marriage and build emotional intimacy with him, starting tonight!
Inspire His Love for You e-program can help you strengthen the thread.