9 Tips: Improving Intimacy in Marriage

From the Family Foundations archives

Whether it’s years of marriage or distractions from the kids, couples often report fading spousal intimacy over time. The longer they’re married, it seems, the less connected they feel. Here are 9 time-tested tips that may not seem romantic, but ultimately encourage the kind of TLC that allows authentic intimacy to thrive.

  1. The marriage is the primary relationship in the family. Treat it that way.
  2. Identify what makes your spouse feel loved and direct all efforts toward meeting that need in a way that respects both spouses.
  3. Assume the good of the other — assume the best, rather than the worst of their intentions whenever conflict arises.
  4. Make many more emotional deposits into the relationship (smiles, “let me take care of that,” compliments) than withdrawals (bringing up a difficult topic like finances or sexual frustration).
  5. If something is important to your spouse, choose to make it important to you too.
  6. Spend 20 minutes a day “wasting time” together, in the words of [Pope Francis]. At least every other week (minimum), set aside a longer period of focused time to do the same.
  7. Plan a time once a week to lay out the week’s logistics and address frustrations.
  8. Surround yourself with a supportive community. Exchange child care for date nights and weekends away.
  9. Seek out creative ways to encourage desire in the partner with lower interest: Take the kids off her hands; drop a note in his lunch box; give her a kiss or hug at random intervals.

— Kathleen M. Basi is a mom, professional musician, and author of her own blog as well as several works of both fiction and nonfiction.

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