How Important Is Intimacy In Marriage?
By: Ashley Brown
Updated May 19, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Tanya Harell
Marriage can be a very satisfying experience when two people are on the same page. It can also be very difficult when you are having problems with your partner. You want to be able to make sure that your marriage is strong enough to stand the test of time. For your relationship to continue to flourish over the years, it's important to be intimate with your partner regularly.
Before we begin, it's important to know that intimacy and sex aren't necessarily the same thing. Often, people wind up using these terms interchangeably, but this isn't quite accurate. It's possible to be intimate without being sexual. Conversely, you can have a great sexual relationship with your partner without being intimate.
Intimacy is about being open and comfortable with your partner, so you're not being afraid to be vulnerable. When it comes to your marriage, the term "intimacy" is more about being close to your partner. Some people love each other deeply, but they still have trouble connecting on an intimate level. This may happen when one partner is shy or afraid to let others be close to them.
Three Important Elements of Intimacy
There are many aspects to intimacy, but the following are some of the most important. If you're struggling with intimacy in your marriage, you can improve your relationship by focusing on these areas first.
1. Feeling Comfortable Around Your Partner No Matter What
If you want to be truly intimate with your spouse, then you need to be able to feel comfortable around them. If you're afraid to be yourself, it will prevent you from deepening your connection. Most people are self-conscious about certain things. It's perfectly normal to be afraid of how others perceive you, but if your marriage is strong enough, you can wind up feeling incredibly comfortable around your spouse.
If one partner has trouble feeling comfortable around the other, then this issue needs to be addressed. For example, people with anxiety problems and body image issues will sometimes have difficulty being comfortable with their spouses. A spouse can help their partner by being encouraging and expressing their love clearly. A professional can also help this partner learn to feel more comfortable in general.
2. Communication Matters
You want your marriage to feel like a true partnership. Therefore, it's important to be there for your partner for both the good days and the tumultuous times. When you have a healthy level of intimacy with your partner, it's easy to talk about these sensitive subjects. Although stereotypes suggest that only men have trouble communicating openly and honestly, this affects all genders.
Communication isn't always easy. There are times when one person in the relationship may feel like they can't communicate their feelings effectively. In fact, this is a common problem when two people with opposite personality types get married. If your partner is incredibly outgoing and boisterous, then your more subdued personality may have trouble keeping up from time to time. This can negatively impact intimacy and make you feel like you're always a few steps behind your spouse.
In this situation, the spouse with the more outgoing personality needs to be understanding and try to meet their partner's energy level. Learning to communicate and considering your partner's comfort is a part of becoming more intimately connected. Some people need to seek out professional advice to learn how to communicate effectively, but it's something you can improve over time.
3. Sex Is Also Important
Now that we have established that intimacy is about more than sex, we can address the elephant in the room. Yes, sex is very important when it comes to cultivating a healthy marriage. You don't want your entire relationship to be predicated on sex, but it can help you to connect and deepen your bond with your spouse. Unsurprisingly, regular sex can help you feel happier and is an excellent way to show affection.
A healthy sex life can do wonders for a marriage. In most cases, having regular sex and continuing to please one another will lead to a better overall relationship. When both people in a marriage are sexually and emotionally satisfied, everything else tends to fall into place. Taking care of the kids, for example, seems a lot easier when you have special time with your spouse planned for the weekend.
Sex also helps with intimacy because it shows that you are still sexually attracted to your partner. Showing your spouse that you love them and that you desire them is great for your marriage. It will help you to stay together and work toward your common goals as a couple.
However, there are times when one or both people in marriage may have sexual problems. Sometimes your sex life may not be what you want it to be, and other times anxiety issues may prevent you from fully embracing sexual intimacy with your partner. In these situations, you need to try to fix the problems before they negatively impact your marriage.
How Can You Fix Intimacy Issues?
There are a few different ways to work on intimacy issues. First, talk to your spouse. Tell them how you feel and what you want. While it may be a hard conversation, it's important that you're both on the same page and willing to work on any issues you may have. It can also allow you to recognize areas where you can improve.
You may also want to try doing more things together. Plan a night out or go to a movie after work sometime. When you take the time to nurture your relationship instead of just going through the motions, things can change quickly. This may be even more important if you have been together for a while and need to spice things up.
If you want to do something a little more exciting, try something new together. Perhaps you have always wanted to skydive or go to a wine tasting; do that with your spouse. Show them how much fun you can still have together.
If these ideas do not help you get things back on track, then you may want to talk to a professional who has experience working with couples. A therapist will be able to see things from a different perspective and offer helpful advice. Their ability to analyze the situation from afar will be useful while you work on your relationship.
It can be tough to fix intimacy problems without professional assistance. It's much more efficient to work with a couple's therapist to solve these issues. When one person in a marriage has problems with intimacy, it can make the other feel inadequate. If both people have separate problems, then significant work needs to be done, but things can get better.
To get help with intimacy issues in your marriage, you can reach out to the licensed therapists at BetterHelp. These skilled therapists can chat with you about your problems through a variety of channels. Signing up is easy, so consider reaching out today. Below are reviews from BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"I would refer Helen to anyone that would need to speak to a counselor. She listens and gives excellent advice. My husband and I are the closest we've ever been."
"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks Steph!"
If you want a healthy marriage, intimacy is crucial. Feeling distant from your partner will make things difficult for both people. Luckily, it is possible to improve the situation over time. Even if you aren't as close as you would like to be right now, you can learn to become more intimate and work toward a happier future together. Take the first step today.