Intimacy? What’s that? No, it’s not wiping your child’s mucous off your face after a giant explosive sneeze. No, it’s not being seen naked on the toilet by your toddler and their friends. No, it’s not leaving the house without your pants because your 1st grader was late for school. It’s having uninterrupted quiet time with your partner. Whether or not this time leads to sex, research shows it doesn’t really matter.
In our busy lives with families, we often forget about our partner and how great it feels to be connected to them. Dr. John Gottman and others who have been observing couples for decades suggest that creating meaningful rituals for emotional connections are the the key to unlocking this intimacy.
Some examples of rituals that enhance emotional connections may be:
1. Making it a priority every day to have a stress-reducing conversation. Each person gets 10 minutes to whine about their day. The other partner acts as an ally; listening intently.
2. The 6 second kiss. Every time you leave each other and every time you get back together you give each other a 6 second kiss.
3. Ask those open-ended questions! Instead of making statements to your partner ask them questions that foster discussion. For example: asking my partner where he would like to take us on our next family vacation, he loves to travel, can lead to a great conversation and a great time. (If you have taken the workshop, it is fun to bring along those love maps and open ended questions card decks, and use them at first until you come up with questions of your own.)
4. Dream together. Have fun creating your retirement, a house you’d love to live in or an amazing vacation.
5. Non-sexual affection. Make a conscious effort to touch each other every day. Hug, hold hands, and massage are just a few. In addition, make sure to say to your partner any positive thoughts about them that come up. Do not keep them in your head!
Over time, research shows that couples who have a good sex life are first and foremost still the best of friends. They make a priority to stay close to each other. Asking questions, being interested, showing respect and affection and fondness are all important factors in keeping a friendship strong.
So make those love maps, notice your partner doing something right and say something, and kiss everyday for at least 6 seconds!!
Until next time!!
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