Marriage management: How to restore intimacy in marriage

Many believe intimacy equals sex. While sex plays an important role, true intimacy in relationships involves much more. In terms of marriage management Dick Purnell describes intimacy in an article entitled “Sex and the Search for Intimacy” he wrote for Everystudent.com (April, 2010). “Today, the word intimacy has taken on sexual connotations. But it is much more than that,” says Purnell. “It includes all the different dimensions of our lives – yes, the physical, but also the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects as well. Intimacy really means total life sharing.”

marriage management

Intimacy in Relationships – How it All Begins

When a couple meets, they are typically drawn to each other by physical and/or emotional attraction. Marriage management expert says the intimacy is not achieved overnight. Ideally, as the relationship gets off the ground, the couple embarks on a journey of mutual discovery. They learn about each other’s true self, inside and out.

And at some point sex is introduced into the relationship. And while not the sole player in an intimate relationship, as discussed above, it is an important contributor. When intimacy is finally achieved, the couple has a deep, multi-faceted understanding of one another. They become connected on a physical and emotional level. And from this, love is born.

What Happens When the Intimacy is Gone

After years of marriage and mounting life pressures, maintaining the intimacy can be difficult. Conversations tend to revolve around work or the kids, and sex falls to the bottom of the priority list. And before they know it, the couple finds themselves in a marriage with little to no intimate connection, leaving a significant gap in the relationship, cautions marriage management expert.

With this, the marriage becomes open to infidelity. And many times, the couple is unaware of this vulnerability in the relationship. According to Dr. Williard F. Harley and Dr. Jennifer Harley Chalmers in their book, Surviving an Affair (Flemming H. Revel, 2005), “[Most unfaithful spouses] did not know what they were missing until the affair revealed it to them. What had been missing in his or her life is found, and it’s a wonderful relief.”

By the time one or both spouses find themselves in the throws of an affair, repairing the holes in the marriage becomes much more complicated – not impossible, but significantly more difficult, nonetheless.

Restoring Intimacy: A Marriage Rebuilt

By identifying intimacy issues in the marriage early, and taking a few steps to restoring it, a couple can minimize the risk of marital infidelity easily if the below mentioned tips of marriage management expert is followed:

Talk about the gap in the marriage: Both partners must first acknowledge lack of intimacy in the relationship. This important step is absolutely necessary in order to explore how the marriage got to that point.

Commit to spending time together: In order to rediscover the connection, the couple must then take time out for each other. According to marriage management experts Drs. Chalmers and Harley, “When [couples] spend time together, they learn to recreate the experiences that first met each other’s emotional needs.”

Rekindle the sex: As the couple works on getting to know each other again, they will feel more comfortable approaching their sexual relationship. Reigniting the spark of their sex life will only bring them closer. In her book, The Divorce Remedy (Simon & Schuster, 2005), Michele Weiner-Davis explains, “It’s hard to feel distant when you’re touching and caressing your life partner.”

An intimate marriage is a healthy marriage. Just as the intimacy can seemingly disappear in the blink of an eye, it can also be rebuilt with some focus and a few simple steps.

Meanwhile, in the cases of divorce it is very tough to tell the kids about it, but below are some suggestions:

What is the best way to tell kids about a divorce? Both parents, who are beginning the divorce process, should tell their children together, with mother, father, and all of the children in the same room.

It may be difficult, but the most important way to break the news is to tell the kids in this manner, and for both parents to agree on the same story about the divorce.

Hard to Tell Kids

Parents feel awful about telling their kids that their lives are going through a permanent change. Parents feel:

Guilt
Sadness
Anger

It can be so difficult for parents that they don’t want to face their kids with the news.

Not Telling the Children

Many parents don’t tell the children about the divorce until one of the parents has actually moved out. Waiting until that point is a bad idea. It makes kids feel betrayed and deceived. Children are better off hearing the truth, then the parents can help the kids deal with their feelings.

How to Tell Kids About Separation

In his article entitled “What Should We Tell the Children? Developing a Mutual Story of the Divorce” that appears on Mediate.com, Donald Saposnek, PhD, a clinical child psychologist, gives great advice about how to come together as a family and explain the situation to kids in the least injurious way possible.

According to Saposnek: “In my many years of working with divorcing families, I’ve learned that one of the most important first steps that parents can take…is to develop, together, a ‘mutual story of the divorce’, and to tell it to their children together, as a family at the same time.”

Children and Trust

When mom talks to the kids, then dad talks to the kids, the children will hear two different stories.

Both parents will be telling their own version of the truth, but because each story is different, this leaves the children feeling that one parent is lying to them, and they will not know which one. This can lead to:

A child who doesn’t feel he can trust either parent.
A child who feels that she can only love one of her parents.

Same Story

Here is a common example. Mother and father have been drifting apart for years. Father had an affair and mother kicked him out.

Mother’s story: “Mom and Dad are getting a divorce because Dad was unfaithful.”

Father’s story: “Mother has not shown affection and doesn’t love me, so I decided to leave. I am angry with Mom for making me leave.”

With a mutual story, mother and father say something like, “We have been married for a long time. We both love all of you children and we always will.

“Mom and Dad used to love each other very much, but we have been unhappy for a long time. We tried to make things better, but it hasn’t worked. We think we will be happier living apart and because we will be happier, we feel that we will be better parents to you. We will both see you regularly and we will continue to take care of you even though we will be living at different houses.”

All of this is true

There is no reason for parents to go into the intimate details. If parents can’t come up with a story that works for both of them, it is time to find a divorce counselor. An attorney will know the names of several good divorce therapists.

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