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?

17 comments:

Claire said...

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is praying together. I especially feel connected to him and cared for when he prays for me out loud when I am struggling with a certain issue. It helps so much to hear him asking our Heavenly Father for help.

katie said...

Years ago, my young marriage went through a serious disconnect. What changed things was that we began to spend time together -- and things were so eroded that at first it was uncomfortable. But gradually we realized that we were still the people who had found so much to love in one another. Whenever someone tells me that their relationship is in trouble, I tell them, "You MUST spend time together, just being yourselves."

It's not just "killing time"... it's a symbol for prioritizing in life in general. You're affirming that your marriage is worth nurturing, even in small ways that keep you from doing something more "important" with your time.

Also, going to bed at the same time was a big help. Closing the day together.

Anonymous said...

It's really spending time together, I think. My husband and I don't live together right now (just for a few more months), but we talk on the phone a lot when we are apart. That helps-- because we are still emotionally close when we aren't physically together. Also, when we are together, we do things together. We go to the grocery store together, we walk our dog together, etc.

~Emily

Mrs. Elliott said...

Wow! I feel like you just described all the little things that my husband and I do to stay connected regularly. You are right that being open and honest in communication, and taking the time to just be together in the evenings is very important. Great article!

Anna S said...

Jess, it sure sounds like you and your husband do a lot of good hard work on your marriage. You go guys. I feel I'm learning so much from you in preparation for marriage.

Britt said...

We also spend "just the two of us time" after the kids are in bed. We LOVE to watch movies and snuggle together. But other times, he'll be working on the computer, while I knit...but we're still in the same roon so it works :) We usually talk for about a half hour in bed before falling asleep...just filling each other in on things that happened that day that we might have forgotten to talk about. We're really big on communication too :)

Brenda said...

My daughter recently asked me what my favorite time of day was (hers was lunch). I think I said, "I like lunch too." But that's only b/c my real answer was "when you all go to bed!" I love when I get to spend time with my husband uninterrupted!!!!! Even if we only watch TV or surf or read. We, too talk about issues and beliefs a LOT. The only thing we have to remember to do is sit BY each other so we can touch. Across the room just doesn't work for me. Next time I'm buying a love seat recliners.

*~Tamara~* said...

Hmmm, yep...pretty much what you said. *grin*

Oh, another thing that makes me feel connected is very simple: When he does things I need to have done. It might be something as simple as hanging a picture or pulling a particularly stubborn weed. Just doing those small things that are really immaterial to his own happiness means a lot to me and makes me feel like he "gets" me.

Allena said...

i agree with you i think far too often that christian couples tiptoe around the intimacy topic.
My husband and i work opposite shifts. so we eat lunches together and often take naps together. we also talk on the phone since we can't spend the evenings together. and I always wait up for him even if it's to say hey and then hit the hay. LOL

shannon said...

I think all of these things are great to help feel connected with my husband as well. However, I think the key to it all is mutual response. If I am trying to have a conversation with my husband and he is distracted in his own thoughts or seems uninterested in what I have to say, then there is no connection. Likewise, if he is making moves toward sexual intimacy and I am distracted in my thoughts and seem uninterested, there is no connection.

Thanks for sharing what you and your hubby do! It helps me see that my husband and I are doing normal things to connect and when I don't feel like we are connected it is a matter of the heart and focusing on one another rather than ourselves.

Marla said...

My husband and I spend LOTS of time together--talking, having date nights, just hanging out in the same room after the kids go to bed. We talk, talk, talk. Communication and quality time really are key elements, along with making intimacy a big priority. Thanks for your openness and honesty on this important subject!

Calamity Jean said...

We don't have kids yet but we both have busy careers so we do have schedule for some "us" time. We do a lot of the same things as you Jess, we watch tv together, we cook dinner, go to the movies and just sit in the same room and read. We don't have a lot of time during the day to talk but we try to talk once on the phone and we IM each sporadicly throughout the day.

The one thing that truly makes me feel connected is our tradition of attending evening service at church and then grabbing dinner. We always have the best talks after worshiping and praying together.

Tracylea said...

Jess, may I get your permission to post a link to this at my website www.amothersapron.com. Thank you for your consideration. Tracylea
slink@att.net

Mom said...

Jessica, let me just say how proud I am that you are talking about this important subject, and writing such wonderful articles about it. Also, it would be TMI for me to say too much as your mom, but I'm so thrilled that you are making time to share openly in this area. Love you!

Terry said...

Great post, Jess. And I agree with you 100%. There really is no substitute for spending time alone together as a couple. I also agree that physical contact is key. It sets the tone for physical intimacy in the relationship. My DH enjoys a good back rub, too.

Anonymous said...

This was great. Very thought provoking. Thanks!

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

Another thing is stuff we "go out of our way" to do, just because we know the other person likes it.

e.g., his cutting the last piece off the loaf and taking the heel instead of the inner slice. If I'm sitting there he'll say "I love you," when her does it. Or I'll make Lasagna or lentils because he loves them (and I *don't*) and every red and white meal till it's gone is a love letter.