The Most Important Tool For Restoring Emotional Intimacy to Your Marriage

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Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D., LMFT, LADC, has been in private practice in Stillwater, Oklahoma since 1990, and in the counseling field for over 25 ...Read More

Emotional intimacy, the heart of fulfilling marriages, thrives on deep, honest connections where partners share their innermost thoughts and feelings. This intimacy, built on trust, empathy, and vulnerability, is crucial for a strong, resilient bond between partners.

In the journey to deepen this connection, quality time emerges as the most vital tool. It is through these shared moments that couples can truly engage with each other, fostering the emotional intimacy essential for a lasting and happy marriage


Lack of Intimacy in Marriage

Intimacy is an important part of any marriage. Without it, couples can often drift apart, leading to negative feelings and a lack of connection. Unfortunately, many couples struggle with a lack of intimacy in marriage and don’t know what to do.

The first type of intimacy in marriage is emotional intimacy. This is the ability to be open and honest with your partner, share your thoughts and feelings, and understand each other on a deeper level. When emotional intimacy is lacking, couples may find themselves feeling distant or disconnected from one another. Common causes of this can include unresolved issues that have gone unaddressed, a lack of communication, or situations where one partner is withholding their feelings or thoughts.

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The second type of intimacy in marriage is physical intimacy. This refers to any kind of physical contact between partners such as hugging, kissing, cuddling, and sex. Physical intimacy in marriage can be affected by a variety of factors including stress, lack of time together due to work or other commitments, or health issues.

When intimacy in a marriage is lacking, it can be an incredibly difficult and painful experience. In order to address these issues, it’s important to make time for each other when life gets busy, establish open communication, and be present and engage in activities that connect you and your partner. Taking the time to reconnect with your partner can help bring back the spark and reignite the passion that was once there.

Restoring Emotional Intimacy with by Spending Time Together

The first thing you must do to restore intimacy to your most important relationship is to increase the amount of time that you spend together. It is not only the first thing that you must do, it is the most important thing you must do if you want to recover that sense of “us-ness”.

Partners often come into counseling complaining that they have grown apart, that they are not feeling loved, or that they do not feel important to the other partner. What most of these couples have in common is that they do not spend much time together. They usually believe that they do not spend any less time together than their friends spend with their spouses. They may be correct. However, when couples are missing the closeness that they once had and not feeling loved, a lack of time together is a major part of the problem.

Of course, many couples are in chronic conflict with each other. Chronic conflict makes it difficult to enjoy the moment with your partner when you are primed and ready to see everything they say or do as negative and motivated by a desire to hurt you in some way. Ongoing conflict and negative feelings about the partner and the relationship play a role in avoiding spending time with each other. Who wants to expose himself or herself to a person or situation that is just going to hurt their feelings? Although this couple has to work through the conflict to restore a desire to spend time together, they have to spend time together to work through the conflict.

There are just as many other couples who are not in chronic conflict that feel disconnected and emotionally abandoned by each other. The most common excuse I hear is that “we are so busy” with work/school/kids/aging parents/etc., that we don’t have the time or energy to carve out any time for ourselves as a couple. Most people live very busy lifestyles these days. Parents, however, might just find that spending less time on their kids and more time on their marriage is beneficial not only for the relationship but for their children as well.

Quality Time 

Not only is spending time together essential for restoring intimacy and marital happiness, the way you spend time together is also important. For one partner, spending time in the same room watching the same television program may count as quality time together. For the other spouse, this activity does not count at all, and may serve as a source of hurt and anger. You do not have to be doing anything “special” like taking a vacation or going on a “date night” to be engaged in establishing closeness in your relationship.

Many people still harbor the notion that they can spend next to no time together, carve out a tiny slice (one hour a week as date night), then will count as “quality” vs. “quantity” time together. “Quality” time may spent in a dark movie theater does not allow for meaningful conversation. If you are setting aside small blocks of time for your marriage, examine it for the actual amount of “quality time” you are getting from it. Quality time equals time engaged meaningfully with each other.

Do you have to be talking to spend quality time? No. If you are both together, connected in some meaningful way, where you both believe it to be meaningful, you have quality time. Couples share meaningful exchanges throughout the day, that may not add up to very little actual time together, but that accounts for feeling close and connected.

Couples that desire a return of closeness or emotional intimacy, can make that happen by slowing down and dedicating the time and energy that it will take to accomplish it. If you don’t have anything to talk about, or are having awkward silence in your time together, try some couple communication exercises, a couple’s retreat, or a joint activity. You can take a dance class or learn a foreign language. Break out of the rut and do something different. By restoring the emotional closeness and intimacy, many couples will notice an improvement in their sex life. Emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy are usually interwoven.

If you and your partner are looking for online therapy to help strengthen your relationship, there are several helpful providers available including BetterHelp, Faithful Counseling, and Pride Counseling.

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