Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Cultivating and increasing intimacy in your marriage takes time and conscious effort regardless if you are a newlywed, mid year, or seasoned couple.
There are several types of intimacy, however there are five that we believe are essential to a healthy forever marriage. What you will find as you go through the marriage journey is that all five are dependent and affected by the other. You are most likely to have great sexual intimacy if emotional intimacy is high, but also when financial intimacy is soaring (financial insecurity causes stress and can disrupt the peace of mind of one or both spouses). When your financial intimacy is low, your sex life may not be a priority and the three other intimacies may not be nourished.
Its just how it works.
You may be wondering what each area looks like or why they are important. Below we explore more into each type (no particular order) and provide some real examples that you can start practicing now:
Being able to share your heart and share your feelings openly and honestly with your spouse is so important. Ideally, each spouse is able to empathize with their spouse and acknowledge what is being shared. Often a husband or wife may say they feel "disconnected" when this area is underdeveloped.
Great ways to increase emotional intimacy:
Implementing a daily 10 minute connector (unplugged)
Using "101 Conversational Starters for Couples" by Gary Chapman
Learning to listen well
Write each other a love letter
Find ways to laugh together
At the core, spiritual intimacy is what breathes life into all other 4 areas. This area is more profound and rooted in the faith system of the couple. The more you are connected with God as a couple, the healthier, more fulfilling and more peaceful you will feel as a couple. Couples are more likely to have a better sex life and overall better connection when they are connected to the true source (God). #winwin
Great ways to increase spiritual intimacy:
Start a bible plan using the YouVersion Bibleapp
Commit to doing conversational prayer
Confess sin to each other
Talk openly about how the Lord is working in your life or revealing to you
Experiential or Physical Intimacy
We know what you are thinking: sex and physical intimacy is synonymous. But in fact physical they are two separate things and both extremely important. We will say, however, that physically intimacy can be categorized into two subsets (nonsexual and sexual). Think of this as quality time and anything that requires touch.
Great ways to increase physical intimacy:
Find a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project and do it together
Cook a meal together
Go for a walk and hold hands
Kiss for 10 seconds
This deserves a category all by itself just to emphasize its importance in marriage, however its important to understand that marriage is not all about sex nor does intimacy start with sex. As we stated in the beginning, this area can and will suffer if other areas are not watered or nourished properly. Just like a plant that thrives on proper nutrients, sun, and water, a marriage requires proper "nutrients" to grow (and the right balance).
Great ways to increase sexual intimacy:
Go to bed together
Talk about sexpectations (what pleases you, what do you want to change, what are your boundaries, etc.)
Schedule your night (fellas make sure to prep the oven)
Discuss and agree on sexpectations
Money & Marriage always seems to be a contentious topic, but it doesn't have to. Cultivating this area really starts before going to the altar and laying everything out on the table, understanding money habits and establishing money goals. Money is not the problem, its the management (or mismanagement) of money that causes friction. This is an area that should be prioritized immediately because it can and will affect the peace and oneness felt between couples. A spouse that feels financially insecure can lead to other trust issues that can show up in other areas, such as the bedroom.
Great ways to increase financial intimacy:
Combine your finances in 60 days
Have an open conversation about your different encounters with money as a child
Read up on the tips in the "5 ways to Build Financial Intimacy" post
Include finances and stewardship in your prayer time
Now, that you are aware of the 5 types of intimacy your marriage needs, we want to hear from you! Which area are you working on the most? Remember to show grace to yourself and your spouse
Do you and your spouse need help accountability around any of the 5 intimacy types discussed above? We are here to walk with you through marriage coaching. Find out more by clicking here.
Joseph and Marissa Msefya are college sweethearts, Certified marriage coaches and the Founders of Forever Marriages.
To learn more about their work, schedule a coaching call, or collaborate with them, visit their website at forever-marriages.com.