Healthy levels of intimacy in a marriage facilitate feelings of trust, acceptance and tenderness. When relationships lack an intimate connection, couples may struggle to maintain physical and emotional closeness, often seeking elsewhere to meet their needs. Keeping intimacy intact takes commitment from both partners, but is well worth the effort to reap the benefits of an intimate marriage.
Couples in new relationships often spend extended amounts of time getting to know each other. Revealing self-information and responding to the other person are the building blocks of intimacy, according to Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, Lisa Feldman Barrett and Michael J. Rovine in their article for "The Journal of Family Psychology." If this process continues throughout the marriage, the relationship can deepen. When marriages begin to grow stale and couples spend less time connecting emotionally, the intimacy process can be dysfunctional.
Physical, mental and emotional well-being can improve when a couple remains close and intimate throughout their marriage. Overall health, longevity, improved economic security and sexual satisfaction are positive outcomes of an intimate marriage, according to a summary research reported on the "Forever Families" website, a site sponsored by Brigham Young University. Specific physical benefits are associated with a reduced occurrence of chest pain and artery blockages; the likelihood of depressive symptoms can also be reduced via strong intimate connections.
Dangers of Disconnection
When a marriage lacks intimacy, it can lead to conflict and further marital problems. As a couple's relationship twists and turns through careers, child-rearing and the constraints of daily activities, time for intimate moments may wane. Emotional baggage, unresolved feelings, low self-esteem and mistrust can negatively affect the relational bond. These patterns can influence whether the marriage begins to burnout, breakdown and dissolve, says Bryan Craig, author of "Searching for Intimacy in Marriage." If a lack of intimacy persists in the marriage, the problems that occur can lead to the breakup of the relationship.
By recognizing the need to maintain intimacy early on in a marriage, couples can avoid the pitfalls associated with the lack thereof. Finding time to talk with each other every day, showing affection, going to bed at the same time and scheduling overnight trips for just the two of you can set a pattern of intimacy in your marriage, says Kalman Heller, Ph.D., writing for the "Psychology Today" website. By listening to your spouse and learning what types of attention he or she responds to, you can deepen the sense of intimacy.
- The Journal of Family Psychology: The Interpersonal Process Model of Intimacy in Marriage: A Daily-Diary and Multilevel Modeling Approach
- Forever Families: Increasing Intimacy in Marriage
- Psych Central: How Can I Improve Intimacy in My Marriage
- Marriage Builders: The Three States of Mind in Marriage: The First State of Mind: Intimacy
- Sign of the Times: Avoiding Marriage Meltdown
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