Let’s face it, intimacy is hard.
Most of us get drunk on love and that intoxicating emotion leads us down the aisle. Maybe you lived on the fumes for a while. However, if you’ve been married for any amount of time, you’ve learned that love is a lot more than a feeling. Life gets in the way and finds a way to burst our bubble. Within the military life, there are hundreds of scenarios that perpetrate that pop.
Unfortunately, intimacy is one of the first things to go when relationships get frazzled. So how do you cultivate the connection and fall back into that romance? I have five tips to get you on your way.
1. Set Expectations
There isn’t anything as disappointing as being let down by your partner repetitively. In relationships we have built-in expectations of our spouse. When those expectations aren’t being met, we get frustrated. A lot of times those expectations are ones we made in silence, within the walls of our own hearts. Especially as women, we hope our spouse will just “know” what they are. This inevitably leads to frustration, confusion, and resentment.
The easiest way to avoid all that is just to have a conversation. Find your triggers or the little things that set you off or make you fume and have a two-way conversation on each of your expectations of each other in the relationship. You don’t have to think broadly here; it always tends to be the same little things that set us off, and usually there are simple fixes.
Communication is the most obvious, boring, and predictable answer ever, but it is the most important. Having open communication can be the difference between the marriage you’ve been dreaming about and the one you’ve been living. If you are anything like me, you tend to jump to the worst conclusion in a lot of different situations. I do this, I freely admit.
When you jump to the worst conclusion first, you are skipping reason and also eliminating the trust factor in your relationship. Having open and good communication saves so many misunderstandings. Let’s be honest a lot of relationships end because of miscommunication and misunderstandings.
3. Ask for help
A lot of women tend to take on the responsibilities in the house while still raising children. This has led to a lot of resentment, mommy breakdowns, and rocky relationships. Ask for help. When I finally figured out that my partner was equally responsible for our kids and the house we live in, I found the courage to ask for help.
Let’s face it, we all know a martyr. Don’t be one. When you are overwhelmed and need time to yourself or a hand with laundry or dinner, ask your spouse. Chances are when you let them know you need help, they will help.
4. Be Vulnerable
One of the most beautiful things in a relationship is vulnerability. It takes courage and energy. It is scary. I believe one of our main fears, as women, is rejection. And when you are sharing something tender, and offering something without assurances of the outcome, it can go against all instincts. But when you open up and give up what you’ve been protecting, it can shift everything in your relationship. Sometimes we just don’t give our spouse the opportunity to prove their softer side. The reward is much, much better than the risk in my experience.
5. Get Back to Basics
The other day, I was cleaning out my nightstand and I found old letters that my husband, Dave, had written to me one summer in college while he was away on some Army adventure. The youthfulness of our relationship oozed from the page. I was suddenly transported to that stage in our relationship when we just couldn’t get enough of each other. It reminded me of what our relationship was like back then. All the things that led us down the aisle.
Our relationship looks a lot different now, but in a good way. We aren’t naïve anymore. We have grown up so much in our relationship together. But what keeps standing out to me is the simple things. The little things that pulled us together in the first place. In life those little memories grow dim until forgotten. But when you feel lost in your relationship, maybe all you need is to go back to the basics. And remember what brought you together in the first place.
Our lives are so fast paced that life just keeps happening to us and we forget to happen a long with it. It is so easy to give up connection and intimacy when things get rocky. After all they take a lot of energy and intention. This life especially tends to harden what was once tender. Intimacy is a big part of a successful relationship. It is worth cultivation.