Maintaining Intimacy In Your Marriage
Recently I asked on several of my social media platforms “What is the most important part of Intimacy to you? The overwhelming response to this was simple in nature. Communication with your partner. Regardless of their relationship status, length of time or how many children they had, communication was above all the overwhelming answers I received from my followers. By communicating with your spouse, you are laying the intimate foundations of your relationship. You are present in each other’s life
How do we communicate? Well to start there’s verbal and nonverbal communication. I’m only going to focus on these two for today. We have hearing words of affirmations right? Then we have a psychical touch. Two of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Both of these we will be exploring further. But first I would like to ask all of you:
What is Intimacy?
According to Wikipedia Intimacy is the state of being intimate. A close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. A close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history. An act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection. Sexual intercourse the quality of being comfortable, warm or familiar.
No matter your history, or cultural upbringing, we all can agree on one. As humans, we were never created to be alone. We crave to be touched, to be loved, to have intimate relationships with others. We see this is evident in the case studies having been done on newborns in the hospital receiving skin to skin bonding time with their mothers. The babies who are held flourish while those who are lacking this do not do nearly as well. You see the premature babies in the NICU, most of them are hooked up to some pretty heavy-duty machines. I can tell you this first hand as a mother. Our youngest was born with an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect or a hole in her heart) and a TAPVR (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return - Which means her pulmonary veins were not correctly connected to her left atrium) we did not find out about it until she was 2 months old. She spent nearly a month in the hospital while we waited for her little body to become healthy enough for the open heart surgery she required. My husband and I would sit and watch the monitors. As soon as she could feel her daddy’s hands touching her little arm or leg, her heartbeat would quicken and she would open her eyes there she was my little fighter, ready to take on the world.
This is also further proven by looking at any of the small children living in one of the many orphanages. Her body is malnourished, her eyes are sad and she is simply existing. She is hardly ever held or shown affections or even told words of affirmation. Her health suffers from not enough contact. You take this same child, you drop down to her eye level. Make direct eye contact and show her warm and open body language. What does she do? She hesitates for a moment because sadly, she may not understand what attention means or even be sure of what is about to happen, and then you see it. She reaches out her primal urge, longing to be held by someone, anyone willing to comfort her. Willing to hold her and tell her she is loved and valued in this world. When children like her are adopted and given the opportunity to be in a loving home they come alive and they flourish in this world.
This transfers over to adults, in any relationship. As adults, we long for and crave to be touched and to find an intimate relationship. To have another person to share our lives with. To have someone who knows us in such an intimate way we find trust and comfort to lay the foundations for something so much more greater. To have our hearts nourished and feel full of love. In a marriage, we have to acknowledge the different stages, the life cycle of it. We all start off hot heavy, then we grow and we change, and we become more comfortable. As we start this journey some of us become parents and our marriages shift to adjust to our new roles. Our focus is no longer on the hot and heavy stage of US it’s on becoming parents caring for our children, building a life for them and ourselves. We can fall into a comfortable numb, a mundane and complacent life if we're not comforted. Slowly over time, we lose ourselves and sometimes, unfortunately, each other along the way. Once we figure out what stage we are in we need to figure out how do we get back to us? How do we find that missing spark again?
As an adult toy educator, I see this quite often in the one on one discreet consultations I do with my customers. We get so busy in life we forget the traditions that reinforce the bonds in our relationships, the playful and loving rituals we do to reignite that sparkle in the eyes of our significant other. I have a few questions I like to ask my clients when we really sit down to talk. I want them to really think back to the fun, the playful the BLISS.
Remember that first date? What was so special about it? How about that moment in life when you KNEW they were the one person you were going to spend the rest of your life with? What was it that caught your attention about them? How about your first kiss? The first time you made love? Hold on to those memories for just a moment.
I met my husband on a blind date when I was only 19. I knew he was the one after an hour of talking to him. It was so strange to me when he and I spoke I felt as though I knew him already. As though we were already familiar in our hearts with each other. At 19 years old, I was still a baby yet I had lived a lifetime before meeting him. My husband was the only man I ever spoke to where I didn’t stutter. I still remember that night like it was yesterday. He made me feel warm and comfortable during our conversations. Talking about our families, and our friends while we giggled as we learned about each other.
Not 24 hours after I met him, I packed a duffle bag of clothes, grabbed my favorite cast iron skillet and the homemade butcher's block my father had made recently for me. We hopped in his truck and this California girl was off to Waco, Texas. Every parent’s nightmare right? Lol. Almost 12 years together, 3 beautiful little daughters, and the life we have worked so hard to build together. I can attest to losing intimacy in my marriage. When We became parents, it was not that we ever stopped being us, we simply pushed us off to the side and focused everything on the first steps, the first words, first laugh and then This focus grew into the beautiful first day of school, first time riding a bike without training wheels, and the first big job promotion. As a parent, how do you find time for intimacy when everyone in the house is having a meltdown? It’s not an easy task, not by far. Sometimes, you are able to see it coming other times you are not.
For us we hit a very rough patch, we spoke about that horrible D word no one ever wants to hear in a marriage. When the moment came, we opted for marriage counseling instead. We wanted to fight for our marriage, for our family and for what we have worked so hard to build together. During our sessions, we had discovered somewhere along the 12 years and 3 beautiful incredible amazing little daughters we lost the US. We lost who we were as a couple. We lost what had made us work together as a solid unit. With becoming the very best guy at work, and women in business. We had put us off to the side. We forgot how to hold hands in the store. Expectedly instead, we replaced holding hands withholding children. The three little kisses on the check shoulder or arms before bedtime. We were lost in the mix of quick showers, brushing our hair and teeth and preparing for bed. We had forgotten about the glass of chocolate milk after sex. If sex was great the chocolate milk was on point not to Sweet, not to Milky. Yet if sex was just ok. Well, we laughed at the horrible batch of chocolate milk we made together.
These small yet extremely important rituals in our marriage to reaffirm our intimacy was missing. So how do you get the rituals back after becoming a parent? Well, you can go to counseling, read books on relationships and practice communicating with your spouse. Its a start, to want that intimate connection back. At least that has helped us to become the very best partners we could ever possibly become. It starts off small. Baby steps. Getting to this point didn’t happen overnight. It took time to grow apart and may take time to grow back together. Maybe it’s scheduling a date night. Take time for this, because it’s important. "We were lost in the mix of quick showers, brushing our hair and teeth and preparing for bed. We had forgotten about the glass of chocolate milk after sex. Take the time to get dressed up for your spouse Men you to. Let your beautiful spouse see the man she married. This is the moment you dress up for each other.
Find a place to go to dinner, or if money's kinda tight, Improvise and make a nice dinner at home ( hide the frozen dinner boxes of premade food in the bottom of the trash can if you must). The important thing to remember is it’s the journey getting to this point, not the small little details of things that really don’t matter at the end of the day. Perhaps it’s a weekend away to fully immerse in a silly adventure together. Maybe..dare I say randomly watch a porno together, see how you both feel about what is being done in the scene. Allow yourselves the opportunity to communicate and explore creative ways of playing in a safe space. Then sit and talk about it for a moment and maybe, you might find an exciting new way to play together. I tell you after 12 years together we are still learning and finding new ways to play together.
Recently, on the show “Play with Me” from Playboy Radio, We the panel discussed the subject of kissing. What the body’s emotional, psychological and psychical response to kissing was. Let’s start off with psychical and psychological responses: Did you know our lips are our body's most exposed erogenous zone? Oh yes, it takes five of the 12 cranial nerves to engage in learning about our partner.
When we kiss, dopamine is released throughout our bodies creating the sensation of falling in love during a passionate kiss. This dopamine makes us feel happy or sad sometimes even sleepy. This also sends a message to our blood vessels allowing them to dilate and our hearts to race. This is also what we identify as the sensation of falling in love. Have you ever had such a passionate kiss it brought you to orgasm? It’s an interesting experience to have. From an emotional standpoint, kissing so connecting in a relationship. After a long day of work, how would it feel to have your spouse meet you at the door? Wrapping his or her arms around your neck and body and fully embracing you for a hot and passionate kiss. Only to pull away and look you in the eyes and say “I missed you today.” How does it make you feel to kiss your significant other? When was the last time you had a hot and heavy make-out session with heavy petting and hot breath on your neck?
What are some other rituals you do in your relationship to reaffirm your love? I am big on psychical touch. Run your finger through my hair, touch my face and tell me that you love me.
After a long day, one of the biggest things I look forward to my husband doing for me is a shower. The psychical act of soaping up a sponge with our tropical scented handcrafted soaps and washing my entire body scrubbing away all of the stress from the day. The feel of the warm shower and the closeness of his body to mine. Most of the time, it really does not require sex afterward. Just the intimate moment we share naked in front of each other. The rough feel of his hands, the warmth of his skin. The intimate way to explore each other’s bodies. The way his body feels as I scrub his legs. To connect, to talk about our day. To release the stress, then we dry each other off. Most of the time this only happens realistically after we put our little ones to bed. Otherwise, we do hear the distractions of knocking and whining at the door.
I have heard of a few rituals other couples do, one couple writes naughty little messages across the smooth surface of the peanut butter jar. Just a quick little naughty note to remind each other hey.. I see you, I want to play with you and engage. Another bakes a tray of cookies and meets her husband at the door wearing her apron, heels and holding the tray of cookies with nothing else. This couple recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.( and a possible sexual harassment charge from the FedEx driver… Just kidding). Love is a playful art form. Intimacy is the choosing to connect and be present in your partner’s Life. Without having intimacy in your marriage and honoring the close connection it will not bring any joy to your life, it will suffer and may even parish.
This is one of the biggest reasons I love being an adult toy educator. I am honored to sit down nearly every weekend to hear people share their personal sex lives with me. Sometimes it’s a date night and a pair of vibrating panties. Sometimes it’s finding the right flavor of edible warming oil and book to describe the different ways to give and receive a sensual massage for a special anniversary present. Other times it's in the workshops I teach, helping women to rediscover the body confidence we often lose after having children. In closing, I want to add an important point. Adult toys were never created to replace your spouse, They are meant to enhance your sex lives. To explore the many intimate ways your body responds to the visual stimulation the psychical vibrations and textures of materials, also sometimes utilizing scent, and taste. Once you open this door the possibilities are endless.