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As we enter each season of life, there are changes that require us to adapt. Newly married gals are getting used to living with their husband, making a home, and learning about each other. New Mamas are trying to balance wifehood with motherhood, with interrupted sleep, baby needs, while still making a home. You would think that by the time our children get older, we’d have this stuff figured out. But, such is not the case.
Our children are now older, with our youngest at 12 years old and our oldest at 22. We’ve been married for over 24 years. We think we know each other inside and out. But, do we really? I mean, we talk long and often. We can complete each other’s sentences. I show up with a cup of coffee and usually hear, “I was just thinking that a cup of coffee would be great!” Yes, we anticipate each other’s needs and wants. We have great communication. We are deeply committed to each other, our marriage, and our family.
Yet, somehow our intimate communication seemed lacking. Life was routine. We fell into the pit of “sameness.” Our relationship, while loving, committed, and fulfilling, lacked that certain spark.
We decided to fix this. We know that one day our children will be married and on their own, and it will be just the two of us. This will be a new experience for us. My husband’s grandmother lived with us for the first 3 years of our marriage, so we’ve never been truly alone. We look forward to this time, but we’re not in a hurry for our children to grow up at the same time!
I’d like to share with you some of the ways we’ve intentionally worked to increase the intimacy in our marriage. I hope that some of these ideas work for you too!
10 Tips to Enhance Intimacy in Your Marriage
- For the last three months, we’ve put our smartphones to great use. We don’t have cell phone reception here at our home, so we send emails to each other. Each day, once he gets to work (he’s always early), Honey sends me the email of the day. We’re so creative that our subject line is simply that day- Monday, Tuesday, etc. 🙂 I excitedly look for this e-mail each morning. We write all day long, with our biggest e-mail count of the day at 70! Usually, our messages are just about what’s on our mind at the time. Or a short, “I’m praying for you, and I love you.” But, some are much deeper than that. Some have sparked new closeness in our marriage. Those are my most treasured messages.
- One thing that we enjoyed was a series of 20 questions. The only “rule” was to answer with the first thing that came to the recipient’s mind. No great thought, just the first response. It’s a great way to communicate and have fun. Our 20 questions were tailored to our relationship, so I’m not sharing our list, but I have created a list that you can begin with, and personalize for your relationship.
- Another way we find to reconnect is to go on overnight getaways. This can be tricky, given financial concerns and life’s commitments. We’ve done one night stays, but LOVED the 2-night stay we went on this past June. It was absolutely wonderful. We stayed in a cabin and didn’t have the late afternoon check-in, coupled with the early morning check out the next day. If you can swing 2 nights, I highly recommend it!
- Some weeks, there is no way to get away. There is no alone time. There isn’t even time in the day for messages sent back and forth. Life can become so demanding that we have to reconnect in the wee hours of the morning. While not optimal, I find that those times are more fun than something planned. It’s sort of silly to have to grab a free moment whenever you can, and we are more playful then. Those times are the memory-making times.
- Doing thrilling activities together is another great way to reconnect. Hiking, bicycling, rollerblading, etc are all great ways to add fun to your relationship.
- How is your “love nest?” Is it cluttered with papers, clothes, magazines, and the like? I don’t believe most men are affected by this stuff, but I know most women are! It’s hard to shut off the “Mama brain” when you see reminders of your never-ending to-do list all around you. Declutter, clear out, fold those clothes (and put them away!), get new comfy sheets, and make it a place of refuge.
- Practice togetherness. How often do you embrace? Kiss? Hold hands? Sit close to each other? Not only do these activities make you feel closer, they are also excellent examples to your children of how a happily married couple treats each other.
- Make a list of all of the attributes that appealed to each of you. Silly things, physical things, etc. What drew you to him? Now, make a list of the attributes that you appreciate about each other today. After years of marriage, those lists will be similar but different. Look at photos of your early days together. Together, look at photo albums of your parenting years. You’ll see changes in body, face, dress, and location. Those changes are what makes you a unique couple. Embrace your uniqueness!
- Have a basket of goodies ready for alone time. A journal, movie, K-Y® LOVE Sensuality Pleasure Gel, a dice or card game, candles, lotion for a massage, a bottle of wine (or your favorite drink), chocolate body paint, and other such items being ready and available will make any unexpected (or even planned!) alone time all the more fun.
- Go shopping together for these basket items. It’s fun to walk around WalMart and add items. You might find some new inspiration together! We found this display and picked up the K-Y® LOVE Sensuality Pleasure Gel for our basket. There is also a K-Y® Love Passion Pleasure Gel that we’ll pick up on our next shopping trip together. You can find both in the Family Planning section of Walmart.
I think the key is to make intimacy and closeness a priority in your marriage. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business of life and put aside your marital relationship. No matter how old our children are, our marriage needs to be at the top of our to-do list. Seasons of life will definitely affect how this materializes in real life, but we need to put forth time and effort into this most important relationship.
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