Friday, November 16, 2007

Marital Intimacy & Companionship

A friend of mine recently asked what specific things my husband and I do to feel connected and intimate in our marriage. After writing out my response to her, I thought I'd share it with you.

  • We spend significant time together nearly every evening. Here are some things we like to do with that time:

    - We like to get TV series (older ones on DVD) and watch one or two episodes in the evenings. We're not all rigid about it, but we'll sit down and watch Lost Season 1 over the course of a month, or we'll watch Frasier and laugh it up together, etc.
    - We also watch occasional movies together... if it's a long one, we'll break it up over two or more nights.
    - During those times, we fairly regularly give each other massages... he rubs my feet anytime I ask (and sometimes without me asking- what a man!!!) ... and if his back is hurting, I'll sit behind him and rub his back. Having that physical touch gets us relaxed and readies us for other physical intimacy! ;)
    - We also play games together. This one is less frequent... and it goes in spurts...
    - Sometimes we just both grab good books and hang out on the couch reading or one of us browses the internet for news while the other one reads. But most evenings, we'll spend time once the kids go to bed (they're all in bed by 7:30/8pm) talking and laughing together and just hanging out.

    This is a HUGE priority for us... and has been since our first was very little. Once the kids are in bed, that is our time to spend together, kind of like a regular, in-home date time. Sometimes we have to use it for other things (language study, taking a relaxing bath, etc.), but more often than not, we use that time for TOGETHERNESS.
  • We have very frequent times of intimacy. This, too, is a priority for us. We don't go long stretches... ever... and we are very open to spontaneity... we don't tell each other "no" or withhold in this area. And we talk openly about what we need/want. Neither one of us pulls any punches, so to speak. If we want more of x,y,or z in the bedroom, we just say so. We are happy to meet each other's needs and wants in this area, and we really try to delight in each other physically. We make this a priority and are happy to keep each other happy in this area. (This may be TMI for you, and if so, sorry. But I have a personal conviction that this area is TOO tiptoed around by Christian couples, and we need to hear more Christians speaking up and saying that intimacy within marriage can be completely fulfilling and enjoyable! I'm not going to give specific descriptions or times, but I will gladly and openly admit to regularly enjoying intimacy with my husband.)
  • We share what's on our minds... we read news articles out loud to each other. We laugh together a LOT. We talk about politics and parenting and relationships of the families we know, and what our convictions are about certain things. We're constantly refining our thoughts and beliefs together. We know what is uppermost and secondary and even minute on each other's minds. It is rare for one of us to go longer than a day thinking about something without bringing it up to the other one.
  • When there is a need or desire for something to go differently in the home, we talk about it AND act on it. When I felt the desire to begin having family devotionals, I asked him about it, and he stepped up and hasn't backed down from that. When our family schedule needs to shift because of a new time constraint, we talk about it and shift our expectations to meet the new demands. We try to meet each other's needs... not just short-term... but for the long-run.
  • We regularly ask each other things like, "is there anything you need that I'm not giving?" And we regularly tell each other if something's not right... "I feel like we haven't seen each other all week.", "Can we just hang out tonight and snuggle and watch something brainless?", "Lately, you've been _______, and I really need _______.", etc. We aren't afraid to just speak the truth, in order to have a better and more honestly fulfilling relationship.

So those are the "main things" that we do that keep us connected and keep our needs met (and yes, I asked my husband to read through it and he agreed that this pretty comprehensively covers how we maintain our companionship and intimacy).

I'd love to hear what makes YOU feel connected to your spouse... cause we're all different- what makes me feel close to my husband may not be the same as what would make you feel close and intimate in your marriage. So what is it in your marriage that helps you to feel connected with your husband or wife?


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