It’s no secret that marriage can be complicated. Through the ups and downs of life, It can be difficult to keep up a strong sense of emotional intimacy with your husband or wife. However, feeling emotionally connected to your spouse will keep your relationship strong and healthy over time. Avoiding emotional roadblocks in your relationship can make a big difference in the health of yourself, your partner, and the relationship you’ve created together. Here are some common intimacy pitfalls to watch out for and some ways to avoid them in your life together.
Lack of Communication
Failing to keep strong, consistent communication with your partner is a recipe for disconnect and lack of intimacy with each other. It’s essential that you’re able to be honest about your needs, both physical and emotional, and equally essential that you check in with your partner and encourage them to share theirs, too. Not being open with each other can create not only a barrier between the two of you, but can often plant the seeds for dishonesty and deception, which can lead to major issues in your intimate relationship. It can be extremely difficult to bring up concerns or questions you may have for your partner, but the great thing about open, honest communication is that the more you practice it, the easier it becomes! So start small, begin to be intentional about your communication, and watch you and your husband or wife grow more connected in a myriad of ways.
Disconnection After Having Children
It’s no surprise that having children significantly affects both physical and emotional intimacy with your partner. This is particularly a problem for breastfeeding women, as the child needs the mother’s body to sustain life—and that can really take a toll on both the body and mind in a serious way. In addition to that, all parents of newborns are generally extremely sleep deprived and often habits and schedules you’ve had for years change dramatically and in an instant. A good way to avoid this massive life change creating a pitfall in your intimacy with your partner is to begin by not focusing specifically on sex. Keep your physical connection present by kissing, cuddling, and touching in a non-sexual way, but give yourself time to connect emotionally and mentally, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day to have a conversation about something unrelated to the kids. It will be much easier to move closer together as you get your bearings a bit and discover your new normal as partners and parents.
Judgement and Comparison
Judgement, both of yourself and of your partner, can have a massive negative impact on your intimacy. As relationships move forward, it becomes easier and easier to place unfair judgments on each other or on yourself. A way to prevent this pitfall it to gain as much control of your thoughts as possible and to be mindful of how you speak about yourself and your partner, both in your brain and out loud to others. The comparison trap can also create massive disruptions in your connection. This can mean comparison to previous relationships, comparison to friends’ relationships, or even comparisons to what you see on social media from acquaintances or strangers. Unaddressed comparison can be the death of intimacy in your relationship, so it’s very important to be extremely mindful of when your brain goes there, and to redirect your thinking to the positive aspects of the relationship you are in. Particularly in regards to social media comparison, it’s helpful to remind yourself that what you’re seeing is not the full story of the humans behind the screen, and that it’s unfair to compare your real relationship to the highlight reels you see online.
Somehow, a piece of wisdom got passed around that if your relationship is good, you shouldn’t need to work at it. This is complete nonsense and has negatively affected an innumerable amount of couples, particularly with this modern world of comparison right at our fingertips, as previously discussed. Becoming complacent about your marriage is a huge pitfall and one that can negatively affect your relationship for years to come. To avoid this, know that working at your relationship is not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength. Continuing to put time and effort into cultivating your connection will help avoid stagnation and stress in your relationship. It’s important to remember that struggles are normal in every partnership; the trouble comes when you stop working to improve and connect.