Building intimacy in marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes intention and purpose to have an emotional connection with your spouse.
Learning how to build an emotional connection in marriage can be challenging because the components aren’t really tangible. We might experience a lack of emotional connection in marriage, but don’t know how to get things back on track.
In this article you will learn 3 key steps to building intimacy in your marriage. These steps work whether you’re newly married or have been married for years.
A quick caution as we begin… There is nothing wrong with wanting an emotional connection with your spouse. However, ask yourself this question: Do I think an emotional connection with my spouse is the THE source of joy and peace in my life?
It’s not uncommon to idolize our spouse and marriage, viewing them as a way of filling the voids in our life that only Christ can fill.
Before we get into the steps, let’s talk about what emotional connection or building intimacy in marriage looks like… It’s a safe place to be our authentic self and unconditional love is present. In that space, we can have open communication, be vulnerable and still find grace.
3 Keys to Building Intimacy in Marriage
First Key: Time
Building intimacy in marriage requires your time. I know this sounds rather obvious, but it is the first necessary step in building an emotional connection. We all have the same number of hours in a day- choose to divert some of that time into marriage.
I have a specific kind of house plant that I literally can’t kill. I wait for the leaves to begin curling and wilting before I add water and the plant food it needs to thrive. As a result of my inattention, the plants tend to barely survive.
The same thing happens to my marriage when I am not being purposeful in cultivating a thriving marriage. Things begin to wilt and a lack of emotional connection becomes increasingly evident.
Building intimacy in marriage will not happen without time carved out for one another. Time as a couple is often the first thing on the chopping block when schedules get busy, yet consider this…marriage is part of the foundation for a thriving family.
I know what you’re thinking, there is no way to make time in an already crazy schedule. Time with your spouse doesn’t need to be hours a day. Consider a 15 minute (uninterrupted) coffee date. This means, put down your phone (stop scrolling!), face each other and communicate. Some days, it might mean a short note. Regardless of the time frame invest time!
Second Key: Trust
Remember when we talked about the importance of making our relationship a safe place to be vulnerable? Well, that vulnerability can’t happen without building trust in our marriages, first.
Trust is tangible. Consequently, it’s built on actions that make you trustworthy. Have you ever watched a building getting demolished? It happens rather quickly, right? Yet, clearing the destruction and rebuilding is time intensive. The same thing goes for trust. It can be torn down in a moment and take a long time to rebuild.
Trust in a relationship is a treasure to be guarded. A couple ways to demonstrate you are trustworthy and a safe place to share…
Fight fair in marriage, meaning don’t hit below the belt. Emotions can run high in marriage, but we can choose our words and actions as we respond to our spouse.
Choose words wisely. Our words are quite powerful. Use your words to encourage, uplift and speak the truth in love to your spouse. Once your spouse sees a pattern of words chosen wisely, trust grows. As a result, the intimacy in your marriage will grow as well.
If your marriage is lacking in the area of trust, take heart. It’s time to do a new thing. Don’t buy into the lie that it’s too late or too hard. Instead, tell your spouse you want to be a safe place to share. Then demonstrate your desire with actions.
Third Key: Authenticity
Authenticity is the most vulnerable step one can take in any relationship. However, it is also the most impactful in building intimacy in marriage.
It’s easy to shy away from being ourself out of fear…even in marriage. Fear of what our spouse might say or think. We also fear rejection or abandonment. But remember this- authenticity is key to a thriving marriage.
Gary Smalley does a great job of outlining five levels of communication in his book, “The Secret to Lasting Love”. Smalley describes levels of communication with our spouse from surfacey to intimate. Here are the levels of communication in the book…cliches, facts, opinions, feelings and needs. Obviously, the deeper the communication with your spouse the greater the intimacy. When we stay with clichés, facts and opinions, our marriage communication isn’t much different than bumping into an acquaintance on the street.
It’s kind of like snorkeling, where you stay on the surface of the water primarily. Occasionally, you might go a bit deeper to see more fish, but will likely stay closer to shore. Whereas scuba diving is hanging around the ocean floor. Checking out coral and other larger fish. It takes a lot more courage, but becomes an entirely different experience.
Do you tend to snorkel or scuba dive in your relationship?
Wrapping of “Building Intimacy in Marriage”
All three keys to building intimacy in marriage are important components. First, an emotional connection requires couples to be intentional in carving out time. Next, trust must be built on a pattern of denstrated trustworthiness. Finally, being your authentic self in your marriage build intimacy.
What would you add on the topic of emotional intimacy? Leave a comment:)