3 of the Biggest Threats to Intimacy and How to Overcome Them

BY: - 22 Jan '18 | Intimacy

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Through our actions every day, we are either working to build the closeness and intimacy we share with our spouses or we are building a wall between it. Don’t be fooled—intimacy has enemies! Here are some of the biggest barriers to achieving intimacy and what we can do to begin to tear down those walls standing between us and the ones we love.

Threat #1: You’re Being Dishonest

As a kid, you probably played a game of hide-n-seek a time or two. You quietly crept to a far-away tree or a secret closet and hid there until you could escape, all with the goal of keeping your “seeker” from getting too close.

These days, many of us are still playing those childhood games of hide-n-seek in our marriages. We use deception and hide our true thoughts, feelings, and actions from our spouses. Unknowingly, you are achieving the same ultimate goal: keeping the other person far away and building a barrier to intimacy between you and your spouse.

We have a greater understanding of how we build that distance when we are dishonest about the big things. Most of us know that lying about things like infidelity is a surefire way to ruin the intimate relationship with a spouse. But we have less of an understanding of how those little deceptions get in the way of the intimacy that we are trying to achieve.

How many times has your spouse asked you “What’s wrong?” and you answered“Nothing” when you knew that your blood was boiling with anger just under the surface? With dishonesty, you are placing both members of the relationship in a bad position – your spouse, because he or she now doesn’t know how to meet your need; and you, because you are now guaranteeing that you won’t be able to get what you need from your marriage. How do you facilitate closeness with someone when you have a wall of dishonesty between the two of you?

Managing the Threat

To achieve true intimacy, we must be fearless about being honest. Your spouse should have the gift of an open window into your soul. Through honesty, we are saying, “I trust you enough to open myself up to you.” There are probably few people in this life that you can feel free enough to be that open with.

When we can give one another the gift of honesty, we invite intimacy in our marriages. Begin by being (tactfully!) truthful with your spouse. If he or she asks you what’s wrong, give a true response. Understand that dishonesty is usually borne out of selfishness. You may justify it to yourself by saying, “I’m trying to protect him or her from the truth” when it’s more likely that you’re trying to protect yourself from the consequences. At the end of the day, through dishonesty, you are protecting no one and instead are welcoming a threat to intimacy into your marriage.

Threat #2: You Refuse to Explore

At my bridal shower, I got a card from my great aunt that said something like “Marriage makes all the things you want to do in the bedroom legal.” I laughed because cards about sex from my senior auntie are just funny…and also I was kind of excited for that to be true. While I didn’t take it to mean that everything was fair game, I also felt like sexual intimacy within marriage was one place that we should feel safe and free to explore.

Many of us are dealing with hang-ups, whether from past relationships, or upbringings, or current “knowledge” or body image that makes it hard for us to feel comfortable expanding those boundaries we already have built in. Because we may already have a mental list of what’s right and wrong when it comes to sex, we’ve started off with a block in our intimacy from the very beginning.

Managing the Threat

The very first step is to get the rest of the world out of your marriage bed. Begin by defining what works for you and your spouse only when it comes to your sexual relationship. Communicate your needs and wants and respect one another’s boundaries. Don’t always swear off trying something new just because you haven’t been open to it before. Instead of putting your sex life in the context of right and wrong, put it in the context of communication and respect—communicating your needs and desires and respecting one another’s boundaries.

Threat # 3: You’re Sacrificing Intimacy for the Kids

Yes, you love your babies with all your heart, but as happy as they may be that you gave up your date night for The Lorax, they’ll be even happier to grow up in an intact family with happy parents, whether or not they know it right now. Not only does your marriage provide a foundation for your family, it will prayerfully be there for the both of you when your kids are grown and off building their own lives.

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Getting alone time together is a lot easier said than done when you’re attending to little ones from the crack of dawn through the dead of night. The moments when you can close your door and just be man and woman instead of mommy and daddy are few and far between. Still, it doesn’t mean that parenting gives you an excuse to make those moments non-existent. Your marriage and your family can’t afford that.

Managing the Threat

Don’t forget that there is a “husband” and “wife” within the “dad” and “mom” whose spousal relationship needs nurturing just as much as the parent-child relationship. Remember that your relationship is a priority. Set aside time to be with one another. Remember that the “little” moments you have can be just as important as the big ones.

The bottom line is, if you want to be an intimate couple, you need to do intimate things. You aren’t going to feel that closeness if you aren’t doing things on a regular basis to create it.

BMWK, is your intimacy being threatened and, if so, what are you going to do about it?

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 211 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.

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5 Practical Steps For Improving Sexual Intimacy

BY: - 2 Feb '18 | Intimacy

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Have you ever been there? You bought the lingerie, the candles, or the flowers. You did all of the things you were supposed to do to spice up your sex life with your spouse. This will most definitely give us back that intimacy that we’ve been missing, you thought. But after you did everything you were supposed to do, somehow your efforts failed.

Maybe not all the “spicing it up” methods resulted in the great sex you had in mind. Or maybe even after that physical connection took place, you still felt like that emotional connection was missing. The reason? Because it is your intimacy that you should be addressing in the truest sense
of the word.

If you see a married couple who is enjoying an active sex life, chances are their contact, friendship, warmth, and familiarity extends far beyond the bedroom, as in the following ways:

Kiss Daily

A kiss is one of the easiest ways to show your affection for your spouse. Not only does the simple gesture bring you just a little bit closer, but so much of romance starts with a kiss, so hopefully a few of those kisses will lead to more.

I heard this once from a church pastor and never forgot it. He said that kissing helps us to stay connected to one another and that it is hard to create too much distance from someone that you’re kissing all of the time. Many of our marital problems, he stated, begin when we just aren’t kissing enough. My husband and I kiss one another twice a day: when he leaves to go to work in the morning and when we get home. We’ve been doing it for so long that most of the time it just
feels like a habit.

Kiss your spouse. Every day. If you aren’t in the habit of doing this already, make it easy by doing it at the same time every day, maybe when you leave for work in the morning or before bed. If you are already in the habit, just get in the habit of doing it more often. Or try some different styles: forehead, tongue-down passionate, whatever works. Just do it.

Even though some days it may be just a one-second peck, you’ll know that even if you don’t get to connect at any other time throughout the day, you’ve had those two brief moments of affection. It isn’t a lot, but when you’re dealing with work, small children and whatever else may come your way it ensures that you won’t lose that connection because you stopped one day and never started up again.

Engage In PDA

Remember those early days in your relationship when even out in public you had a hard time keeping your hands to yourselves? You found every reason to touch, whether it was holding hands while walking through a store, or hugging for no reason at a party. It’s time to start bringing those days back.

Now, unless it’s what truly floats your boat, you don’t need to be in a restaurant with everyone else around you yelling “get a room.” You probably already have one, so if it gets that steamy in public, by all means, don’t be afraid to make good use of what you pay in mortgage/rent and head back to it.

Still, it’s nice to have those reminders and to grab those little moments of closeness when you can. After all, why not take a few moments to connect while you’re walking through the mall by doing something as simple as taking your spouse’s hand? Let your spouse know that she’s yours and you’re not afraid to show it!

Give a Good Backrub

Not only will touching one another make you feel closer, a good backrub can help ease the stress of a long day, which makes this tip a two-for-one. You don’t need to be a professional, just grab your honey and rub away. Make sure you take turns, meaning you need to reciprocate. Don’t fall asleep during your backrub and forget to return the favor.

Create Intimate Spaces in Your Home

Take a look around your room and think about what you see. Do you see stacks of books? Tissue boxes? Bills? Laundry? Files? If you’re looking at the image I just described, you’re not alone. But you’re also looking at a visual list of things that are pulling you away from your spouse, instead of improving your intimacy. Simply put, that mess ain’t sexy!

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Maintaining the super sexy bedroom at all times is difficult. But as hard as it may be, it’s even harder to get in the mood when you’re staring at bills, tripping over puzzle pieces, and scraping your back on hot wheel cars. Ideally, you won’t have anything in your room that doesn’t involve sleeping, relaxation, or sex, but realistically, it’s okay if you don’t have time for a complete overhaul. Try to focus on just one unsexy source of clutter at a time and get rid of it, or at the very least, try to hide it in an attractive way.

Do a Sex Challenge

As we touched on in Chapter Three, sometimes you have to just do it. One way is by trying a sex challenge. There are lots of sex challenges out there and they can range in time increments from three days to thirty, but typically the premise is to challenge yourselves to have sex each day for the number of days in the challenge.

The goal of the challenge isn’t to make it so that you start having sex every night for the rest of your lives, but to get that sex-intimacy cycle moving in a positive direction. Tip: If you aren’t already having sex on a regular basis, try starting with a shorter period of time like seven days instead of 30. The intent is to get you back into the habit of having sex and being intentional about it, not give you something to embark upon and then feel like a failure afterward. Thirty days is a pretty long stretch!

No matter how much your intimacy may ebb and flow, the fact that it is a vital piece to your marriage puzzle never changes. Being diligent about maintaining the intimate relationship with your spouse will help you build the type of partnership to keep you close enough to take any bumps on the road toward a marriage that lasts a lifetime.

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 211 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.

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