How to restore love and intimacy in your relationship
Emotional connection and closeness are the foundations of a successful sexual relationship.
Rekindle your marriage’s romance. Jason and Kendra have three children and have been married for 12 years. Work, housework, their children’s hobbies, and routine elements of their stale marriage occupy the majority of their discussions.
“I adore Jason,” Kendra says, “but the desire simply isn’t there anymore.”
“I thought we were doing well, I honestly did,” Jason says after Kendra delivers the news. Even though we don’t have much sex these days, it seems to be a phase we’re going through. By the time I go into bed at night, I’m out of energy.”
Kendra and Jason were reportedly passionate in the early years of their marriage. However, their sex life has decreased in recent years, and they seldom spend time together without their children. Jason frequently pushes away from Kendra when she wants physical closeness.
A pursuer-distancer cycle that develops over time, according to specialists, is the most frequent reason couples lose their love for one other and cease being physically intimate. Dr. Sue Johnson refers to the demand-withdraw pattern as the “Protest Polka,” one of three “Demon Dialogues.” When one spouse becomes critical and confrontational, the other feels protective and withdrawn, she says.
According to Dr. John Gottman’s study, couples that become trapped in this pattern in the first few years of marriage have a greater than 80% risk of divorcing within the first four to five years.
Encourage Emotional Closeness
Emotional connection and closeness are the foundations of a successful sexual relationship. To put it another way, if you want to enhance your physical relationship, you must first strengthen your emotional relationship. Concentrate on fulfilling your partner’s demands while also expressing your own in a caring and polite manner.
Dr. Gottman argues in The Science of Trust that couples who wish to reignite their passion and love must turn to each other. Even when you disagree, practicing emotional attunement may help you remain connected. Instead of being defensive, this means moving toward one another and demonstrating empathy. Instead than talking about what they don’t need, both partners should speak about their emotions in terms of positive needs.
Expressing a positive need, according to Dr. Gottman, is a formula for success for both the listener and the speaker since it communicates concerns and requests without judgment or blame. “This necessitates a conceptual shift from what is wrong with one’s relationship to what one’s partner can do that would work,” explains Dr. Gottman. “Here’s how I feel, and here’s what I need from you,” the speaker is actually saying.
Re-establish Sexual Chemistry
Due to the thrill of falling in love, many couples hardly come up for air throughout the early stages of marriage. Regrettably, this wonderful condition does not endure indefinitely. Scientists have found that the bonding hormone oxytocin, which is produced during the early stages of infatuation, enables partners to feel happy and turned on by physical contact. It really acts like a narcotic, providing us with instant gratification and tying us to our partner.
Holding hands, hugging, and gently touching your spouse are all wonderful ways to express your love for them. Sexual contact that is focused on pleasure is put in motion by physical affection. If you want to enhance your marriage, Dr. Micheal Stysma, a sex therapist and educator, suggests setting a goal of doubling the amount of time you kiss, embrace, and utilize sensual contact.
It’s difficult to sustain sexual interest over time. Kendra and Jason, for example, lack passion because they are reluctant to relinquish power and exhibit weakness. As a consequence, they avoid sex and only touch each other on rare occasions. “Most sexual problems originate from an interpersonal conflict in the marriage,” says sex therapist Laurie Watson.
Here are some suggestions for rekindling your marriage’s passion:
1. Alter your sex-initiation routine.
Perhaps you’re denying your spouse or coming on a little too hard. Stop blaming one other and condemning each other. To stop the power conflict, mix things up. Distancers, for example, may wish to practice initiating sex more often, while pursuers attempt to find subtle ways to tell their partner “you’re attractive” while avoiding criticism and requests for intimacy.
2. Increase the number of times you hold hands
Holding hands, embracing, and caressing may produce oxytocin, which causes a soothing feeling, according to author Dr. Kory Floyd. It’s also been discovered that it’s released during sexual orgasm. Physical love also lowers stress hormones, decreasing cortisol levels in the body on a regular basis.
3. Allow for an increase in tension.
When we wait for a reward for a long period before receiving it, our brains feel greater pleasure. So, during foreplay, take your time, discuss dreams, switch places, and make sex more romantic.
4. Keep sexual intimacy and routine separate.
Plan time for intimacy and avoid discussing relationship issues or home tasks in the bedroom. When we’re preoccupied or worried, our sexual arousal levels drop.
5. Schedule time for you and your spouse to spend together.
Experiment with a range of activities that will give you both pleasure and satisfaction. To spark sexual desire and closeness, have fun courting and practicing flirting. “Everything good you do in your relationship is foreplay,” says Dr. Gottman.
6. Pay special attention to touching with love.
Make an offer to massage your partner’s back or shoulders. Even if you are not a touchy-feely person, loving contact may be a powerful method to express and reignite love.
7. Make an effort to be more emotionally vulnerable during sex.
Share your deepest dreams, wants, and aspirations with your spouse. Consider solo or couple counseling if you are afraid of emotional closeness.
8. Keep an open mind when it comes to sexual intimacy.
Experiment with fresh methods to make each other happy. Consider sex as a chance to learn more about your spouse over time.
9. Experiment with different types of sex.
Have sex that is soft, sensitive, personal, and extremely erotic. As your sexual demands vary, break up the pattern and try new activities.
10. Make sex a priority in your life.
Set the tone for intimacy before your passion is suffocated by TV or work. A small dinner, coupled with your favorite music and a glass of wine, may help you get ready for some good sex.
The good news is that allowing your spouse to have an impact on you may rekindle the passion you previously had. In fact, according to Dr. Gottman, friendship is the glue that keeps a marriage together:
“Couples who make it are thoroughly acquainted with each other and are well-versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality idiosyncrasies, hopes, and aspirations.”
Increased physical affection and emotional attunement may help you maintain a strong, meaningful connection, even if you aren’t a touchy-feely type.
10 Ways for Couples to Stay Connected After the Birth of a Child
A healthy connection between you and your spouse is the best gift you can offer your kid.
It’s no secret that life changes drastically when a baby is born. The days of leisurely walks and weekend naps are long gone, and spontaneous plans have been replaced with restless nights and financial obligations. However, if you ask most parents about their experiences as parents, they would tell you that it was all worth it.
According to studies conducted at The Gottman Institute by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, who have been researching relationship health for over 40 years, 67 percent of couples experience a decrease in relationship satisfaction for up to three years following the birth of their first child. Romance and intimacy decrease as the emphasis turns to the infant and couples spend less time focusing on one another, while sadness and animosity increase. New parents need assistance in coping with and managing the transition more successfully. They want to spend quality time with their new kid and be happy as a couple.
Dr. John Gottman spent years researching hundreds of couples in order to figure out what differentiated good relationships from unhappy ones, with the goal of assisting in the formation of healthy families. As a result of his improved knowledge, the Bringing Baby Home program was created. This research-based course was created by Drs. John and Julie Gottman for new parents going through the transition to parenting.
The new parents program teaches couples how to keep their relationships happy, handle conflict, and grow their friendships so that they can co-parent and support their children more effectively. Couples get together to work on their relationship by learning how to remain in touch with one another, decrease stress, and start on a more positive path to parenting. As a Bringing Baby Home Educator, I’ve seen firsthand the workshop’s long-term beneficial effect on couples and families.
Here are three important suggestions from the Bringing Kid Home (BBH) course that you can use right away to keep your relationship satisfied after your baby is born.
1. Keep your love maps updated to maintain friendship.
One of the most important findings of the BBH study was that couples who stayed excellent friends throughout their transition to parenting reported less anger and animosity and felt better prepared to face the difficulties ahead. Keeping up with your partner’s love maps, or the little details and events in their lives, is essential for connection and intimacy. Use these questions to re-acquaint yourself with each other’s love maps if you’re feeling a little out of touch.
2. Have a stress-relieving chat every day.
We are overwhelmed and upset due to stress from our jobs, commutes, or an especially cranky infant. Couples who can talk about their day’s difficulties apart from their relationship have a chance to vent, get support, and demonstrate understanding for one another. Feeling heard and understood may assist to relieve any stress that might otherwise creep into the relationship. You feel like you’re both “in it together” when you receive comfort and support at the end of the day.
3. Take a gentle approach to confrontation.
When you’re tired and at your wit’s end, it’s all too easy to snap at each other. If you’re quick to make charges and harsh with your words, putting blame and insults on your spouse, they’ll likely retaliate or shut down. Stay away from the Four Horsemen (defensiveness, criticism, contempt and stonewalling). Use “I” sentences and talk about the current circumstance, not something that occurred months ago.
To prevent harmful reoccurrences, talk about how the situation made you feel and ask for what you need from your spouse in the future. When you raise differences in a calm, logical way, you’ll be able to problem solve and discover some constructive common ground.
The study of Dr. John Gottman on life after birth gives couples hope and fresh options for getting through those first few months with ease. You’ll discover new ways to appreciate and adore one another with your spouse by your side – the best gift you can offer your kid is a healthy connection between you and your partner.
Make an effort to have a genuine dating night.
Make arrangements for child care. Ask a family member or friend to babysit for a few hours if money is a problem, or establish a babysitting co-op if you’d feel more comfortable leaving your kid with someone you know.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be a full-fledged night out: the objective is just to spend some quality time together. So go for a stroll, get a meal, or see a movie.
Make a date night at home.
To truly pay attention to each other, you don’t need a sitter. Seize the moment after your kid has fallen asleep for the night – or at least for a few hours. Avoid slouching off to complete work or falling on the sofa and turning on the TV.
Take a seat together for some one-on-one time.
Even if you just focus on each other for 10 minutes, it may make a big impact. All too frequently, new parents fail to simply look each other in the eyes. You’ll feel more connected and in touch if you just set aside some time to be together. (There’s a good chance you’ll start having more sex as well.)
Use your imagination.
You don’t have to wait till the sun sets to spend quality time with your loved one. You might, for example, carpool to work or meet for lunch once a week. When you’re meeting in the middle of the day with no baby or chores to worry about, it’s amazing how relaxed a discussion can be.
Write a love letter to your spouse.
When you have a baby, it may seem like you and your partner are simply passing through the night. What better way to unwind and reconnect than to express your feelings to your partner? To get your honey’s heart racing, you don’t have to write Shakespearean writing. Simply write down a few basic words (“I adore the way you embrace me when I’m anxious,” or “Your laugh is contagious”) and then speak them out.
Season tickets are available for purchase.
You’ll feel more committed to attending a concert, play, or sports event if you’ve already paid for tickets. Split season tickets – and childcare responsibilities – with another couple with a baby to save money.
Weekends should be treated as such.
Pack the diaper bag, grab the stroller or backpack, and go on a family outing this weekend. Malls, parks, and outdoor activities are all welcoming to children.
Make a few post-work rituals.
Every evening, go for a stroll with your infant. The exercise and fresh air are beneficial to everyone, and you and your spouse may reconnect.
Create unique routines.
Start a weekly movie night with take-out supper. Life becomes a lot simpler once your baby settles into a consistent sleeping routine, which is yet another excellent reason to strive toward establishing a regular bedtime. Watching a movie with your partner is a simple way to spend some quality time together.
Play video games
Games are a wonderful way to laugh and have fun with others, so get out the backgammon set, cards, or Scrabble board. Alternatively, while snuggled on the sofa, tackle a crossword or Sudoku problem together.
Last but not least, make time for yourself.
It’s common for new parents to get so engrossed in becoming new parents that they forget to take care of themselves. But it’s difficult to devote your whole self to someone else if you never get any alone time.
Make sure to schedule at least a few minutes of “me time” each day to unwind – listen to music, go for a stroll around the block, or contact a friend. Remember that a happy parent equals a good relationship and a happy child.