How do you rekindle intimacy in order to make your marriage stronger? Good question. Well, in this post today, I’m sharing with you five simple and scientifically proven ways to make your marriage stronger and rekindle intimacy in your relationship. So, if that sounds like something you would like to know more about, keep reading …
First, some of my story …
I met my wife twelve years ago and pretty much instantly loved each other. It felt like we’ve known each other for years and just wanted to be with each other all the time.
So, we got engaged after three months and married after eight, and never looked back.
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking here … infatuation and “love is blind” and all that stuff, but here’s the thing … how we feel about “us” hasn’t changed since we got married almost twelve years ago.
And the reason I’m sharing this with you, is to tell you that even though we’re still very much into each other, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t had our challenges along the way.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing by any means.
We’ve faced some challenging times together and had to fight like hell to figure things out at times.
And that’s where this post comes in.
When you’ve been together for a while, your marriage or relationship tends to go through various “seasons.”
Some of them are good and others not so much.
And it’s when the not so good times roll in that you need to make damn sure you have some strategies up your sleeve to weather the storm if you’re gonna make it through.
The issue with many couples however, is that they either don’t have any good strategies to rekindle love or strengthen their relationship when the going gets tough, or they have some but they’re too complicated and totally impractical.
So because of that, in today’s post, I want to share with you five simple and scientifically proven ways you can use to rekindle intimacy and make your marriage stronger.
But, before we look at them, there is some good news and some bad news.
Good news first …
Believe it or not, but you don’t have to make any educated guesses about what rekindles intimacy or makes a marriage stronger because experts actually already know a lot about what creates connection between two people, for example from the field of neurobiological dynamics (see Stan Tatkin), which we can use.
Now, for the bad news …
Even though we know what creates deeper connections between two people, and it’s not rocket science by any means, many couples can actually find it hard to do because it forces them out of their comfort zones and rut.
Make no mistake, the longer we are together and the more we get to know each other, the harder it actually becomes to try new things which might take us out of our comfort zones.
Even simple little things that shouldn’t pose any problem for long-term couples can become quite challenging to do.
Ever noticed how predictable your routines have become?
How you always go to the same café for lunch?
How you spend weekends the same way?
How you always buy the same toothpaste or shampoo, etc etc?
We like our comfort zones very much and it doesn’t stop with choice of café either.
It also seeps into how we connect and relate to each other.
Over time we adopt ways of “connecting” with one another and we very rarely stray outside of those “lines.” Our brain loves familiarity and certainty and will do anything to maintain it.
Great for feeling safe but not so great for growth.
So, the challenge in this post will be to stretch yourself to do what needs to be done to rekindle intimacy and make your marriage stronger.
First things first though …
Contrary to some popular belief, you can have an amazing relationship with your partner that withstands challenges and the test of time. You can create a love that is just as vibrant years into your marriage as at the start. Tony Robbins is a big proponent of this idea.
The truth is we can make our marriage more enjoyable, rewarding, and fulfilling, but it will require doing certain things differently.
That’s a lesson my wife and I learned very quickly during the more uncertain and challenging times.
Things that work during the good times don’t necessarily work during the not so good times. Some things do, but not everything.
Rekindling intimacy and making your marriage stronger will require that you create and sustain a few positive, daily habits that underlie most loving relationships.
Laying a foundation effectively.
So, let’s look at five simple and scientifically proven ways to make your marriage stronger that anyone can start applying straightaway in their relationship.
Make intentional eye contact.
So how can a simple thing like eye contact rekindle intimacy and make your marriage stronger?
It all comes down to the role that neurobiological dynamics play in attraction between two people.
There are certain things that happen in our neurobiology when we are in close proximity to someone else, which is where attraction happens and love begins, which we can use to our advantage in order to rekindle intimacy.
When a person is up close, our brain processes information about the person much differently than when a person is further away.
At close proximity the brain picks up of all sorts of signals and smells that can contribute towards attraction.
The long and short of it is, we fall in love at close proximity, i.e. when we are up close and personal.
And it’s especially the eyes that play an important role in igniting love.
When we gaze into our partners eyes, not only do we see their essence, but the entire play of their nervous system.
To quote Stan Tatkin:
“You can witness the live, exciting, and rapidly changing inner landscape of emotion, energy, and reality that belongs to and defines your partner.”
I do know if you’ve ever observed this, but even when a person gets physically older the one unchanging “body part” is their eyes.
As long as we remain mentally and have emotionally healthy, it’s almost like the eyes stay youthful.
The interesting thing about most couples that have been together for a while, is that even though we spend a lot of time together, we actually gaze into each other’s eyes very rarely.
Have you ever noticed at?
When’s the last time you actually gazed into your partner’s eyes?
Even when we talk with one another, we’re oftentimes not really present or occupied with doing something else while listening to our partner with half an ear.
It’s only when we make a conscious effort to truly look into each other’s eyes that we once again become aware of each other’s “stranger-ness” and it causes us to almost rediscover our partner each time for the first time again.
This piece of advice is honestly self-explanatory, but just to make sure you understand what I’m suggesting here …
Make a conscious effort to gaze into your partner’s eyes often.
Don’t be a weirdo of course, but do it sincerely and with the intention to reconnect with your spouse all over again.
Every time you do this you will most likely feel some reconnection happening which stirs something on your inside.
This is a very simple but very powerful thing you can do and it will cost you nothing and potentially give you heaps.
What do you have to lose anyway?
Check out this video where Toney Robbins works with a couple and notice how he gets them to look at each other. It might seem like “normal” thing to do, but there is tremendous power in looking into your partner’s eyes.
Remember how you felt when you first met your partner?
You probably couldn’t stop looking into her or his eyes.
There’s a reason why you felt so strongly drawn to them back then. You just didn’t understand why. Your eyes were the key and you didn’t even know it.
But, over time however we stop doing the things we did at the start and wonder why we don’t feel certain emotions towards our partners anymore that we used to.
This is one of things most new couples do quite a bit: look into each other’s eyes.
Now it’s your turn.
Hug each other.
This one leads on from the previous point.
Physical contact is obviously another form of proximity, and has the ability to bring you closer together with your partner, both literally and emotionally.
Researchers have found that hugging releases oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding.
It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building.
It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm, which means we feel closer to the other person.
So, again, just by using your body and how it responds to proximity and physical touch of another, you can rekindle intimacy and make your marriage stronger.
I think it’s pretty cool.
I would suggest that you aim for at least two hugs a day with one in the morning and one in the evening, but if you can increase this number even more, it will obviously be much better and benefit both of you.
An additional point to this simple strategy is that researchers also point out that the benefits increase with longer hugs.
So not only is hugging a lot great, hugging for a long time when you do hug is even better.
How great is that?
So hug away.
By now you should have spotted a pattern: Love happens up close.
There is no replacement for that.
You can’t remain at a distance and expect closeness.
Schedule a consistent date night.
OK, so the first two strategies were pretty much free.
Yes it might cost you a little bit in a sense that you have to step out of your comfort zone and perhaps do something you haven’t done for a while, but it’s free for all technical purposes.
This next strategy might cost you a few dollars.
But, creativity and intention are more important than substance in this instance.
What do I mean by that?
Simply this …
I know from experience that my wife appreciates a surprise takeaway Mochachino much more than a big expensive date.
Don’t get me wrong, she likes going on a date without the kids, but it’s more about the fact that we have to time to connect than “how” we connect.
So, having a sandwich and nice coffee together in park somewhere over lunchtime is just as special as having an expensive date night at a nice restaurant.
And on this point, if you have a partner that can only appreciate expensive date nights, you might want to reconsider whether that’s the right person for you are not. Unless you can afford it of course or it blows your bubble too. In that case, all power to you.
The premise of this simple strategy is simply to realise it is crucial to take the time to spend together alone and connect, i.e. without the kids or the in-laws or friends … and that includes your smart phone and social media!
I appreciate that you might have a busy life with schedules that are overflowing with work duties, kid’s activities, and sports games, but you have to find a way to work around all of that.
And with that being said, it has been shown that it is better to have a weekly date night than less frequently.
Now, I appreciate that is not possible with our busy lives, but at least consider the point.
Frequent alone time is necessary to rekindle intimacy and make your marriage stronger.
But, if frequent is completely impossible, then strive for setting aside time together for at least one date a month. It’s not the ideal, but it’s better than nothing.
Definitely do not let a couple of months go by without having a date.
The goal of these dates is to focus solely on each other and have the time to reconnect.
Also, if you’re struggling to think of ideas for your date night, consider doing the traditional movie night.
Now, here’s a cool fun fact: Researchers from the University of Rochester found that going to movies about relationships or couples can help you with your own challenges.
Going for a coffee afterwards and discussing the movie with your partner, can actually strengthen your marriage.
This obviously doesn’t mean that every movie you go and see has to be about relationships or couples.
Just spend some alone time with your partner with some focus on your relationship. That’s the point here.
Try to connect with your partner’s friends.
Interesting fact, studies show that couples who share the same friends have stronger relationships.
Now, it doesn’t mean you have to be involved with every member of your spouse’s social circle, but be friendly with at least several of them.
Make an effort to get to know them and she spent time with them (with your partner of course). It will be a bit weird taking her girlfriends out on dates without her, or going for a drink with his mates without him.
But, what you do if you really do not get along with most of her friends?
Well, that’s probably a topic for another post, but I would say that the best thing you could do is to identify at least one of her friends you do get along with somewhat and make an effort with them.
You can also create the illusion of connecting with your partner’s friends by having a social gathering somewhere consisting out of both your and your partner’s friends.
Someone is bound to get along and their interaction and mingling will create an illusion of connection between you and your partner’s friends. You’re hanging out without hanging out 🙂
I’m also obviously assuming here that your partner knows how you feel about their friends, and understands how you feel.
It’s good to be upfront about this, but still make the effort to connect with their friends.
Just a side note: I LOVE all my wife’s friends!
Cook with each other.
I appreciate that many modern couples don’t really cook all that much anymore. Getting takeout is just too convenient.
I also know that cooking can be quite time consuming, but there is some value in it after all.
According to research, cooking with each other can actually help your marriage.
Cooking involves sharing a creative task together and forces you to work with each other and delegate tasks. By doing so, it helps you appreciate each other’s talents as you rely on each other to get the meal done.
Also, if you want to take it to a next level, you could sign up for cooking classes to learn about new dishes and how to make them together. This could do wonders for your relationship.
But again, this might not be viable for everyone,
As you can see in this post, rekindling intimacy and making a marriage stronger doesn’t need to be overly complicated or expensive.
You properly realise that strengthening your relationship requires doing very basic but important things, like proximity, physical touch, being alone together, reconnecting over meals, and doing things together.
It’s not rocket science, yet many couples struggle with these basics.
It might be common sense but it’s definitely not common practice.
My challenge to you as to look at your marriage is ask yourself which of these simple strategies you can start experimenting with today to potentially rekindle intimacy with your partner and make your marriage stronger.
The fact is, you can enhance your relationship with these simple steps.
Realise that you have the power to make real change happen.
Start today, and enjoy the results!
I would love to hear you go.
So please send me your feedback.
If you found this post helpful, please leave a comment below and like/share it with someone.
-the relationship guy-
PS. Check out the e-book Fanning the Flames on sale now for $9.97 in my store.
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