Last week we emphasized how our individual differences impact intimacy in our marriage and the need for open communication to come to common ground. That’s all great when you’re talking about the small stuff, where should we eat tonight or how do we fold the towels.
But, then there’s the stuff in life and marriage you don’t plan for or expect such as financial hardships, loss of a loved one, challenging children. It’s hard to remain intimate when you realize you aren’t going to be able to provide financially the way you anticipated, you are grieving or you disagree on how to parent your headstrong child. What about the other stuff in life that happens and no one really talks about? The stuff that isn’t discussed until after it happens, such as: fertility issues, depression, severe illness, in-laws moving in, etc.
How do you invite intimacy into feelings of brokenness, hopelessness, etc.
Continually providing safety within your marriage is the key to intimacy. When you are dating, you are trusting pieces of yourself as the relationship grows and intimacy develops. Now that you are married, you’ve likely revealed almost everything about yourself. Safety is everything at this point, because we are trusting that our spouse can handle everything you have revealed over the years as opposed to small pieces of you at a time, in addition to life as it happens to you as a couple.
We have identified some safety and trust saboteurs.
Safety saboteurs –
- Unspoken Expectations – read here for more on this topic
- anything that makes you experience that twinge in your gut when you may think “what if my spouse finds out?”
- Poor communication skills – this invites circular arguments that are left unresolved and increased defensiveness for both parties
- High levels of stress (lack of self-care) – unbalanced life and priorities will lead to burnout and allow for very limited time to emotionally and physically connect with your spouse.
Creating that safe environment –
Think back to the beginning of your relationship. What helped create that sense of safety between you and your spouse? (DATING, INTENTIONALLY SPENDING TIME TOGETHER, etc.)
We want to challenge you to sit down with your spouse this week and reminisce about your favorite dates, list activities you both already enjoy doing together as well as activities you’d like to try out together. But hey, let’s not stop there! Get out your calendars and begin to plan out dates. Think through the different commitment levels each will take, time, financial and energy. Then enjoy dating your spouse again. Who knows date night might be better than when you were dating!