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Intimacy in Marriage: 19 Signs It’s Fading & Secrets to Keep It Alive

No one taught us how important it is to have intimacy in marriage. Without it, you will most likely be unhappy. Here’s why it fades and what you can do.

Intimacy in Marriage

There are hundreds of tips for making a marriage last from people who have made it work and also from those who wish they could have. But the one thing you’ll hear time and time again is that intimacy in marriage is crucial. And it’s not just sexual intimacy, either.

Being close emotionally is even more important than having a healthy sex life. You need to bond and maintain a close connection all throughout your marriage. If you don’t, it’ll be really hard to make your love last through all the hardships marriage brings.

Many people believe a marriage will just function on its own

Because you’re married. You’ve already proclaimed your love and so you feel like there’s nothing more to do. But that’s just not how love works. You need to be actively working toward a healthy relationship all the time.

It takes a lot of work and effort to make a marriage last. Those who get married thinking their love can last based on how much they care going into the marriage will find themselves very disappointed. A relationship can only last if both people are putting in the effort to maintain the intimacy. [Read: The ridiculous myths people believe about marriage]

Why intimacy in marriage fades over time

When you got married, you probably assumed that you would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after, just as the Disney movies told us. But after a while, reality hits you and it’s not as easy as you thought.

So, why exactly does intimacy in marriage fade? Here are some common reasons why intimacy almost always fades in any relationship with time.

1. Neglect

As we just said, a lot of people think that a marriage can just run on autopilot by itself without any effort from either partner. Many people’s attitude is, “Ahhhhh! I’m finally married! Now I can just be myself and don’t have to impress my spouse anymore.” [Read: 24 sad signs and consequences of emotional neglect in a relationship]

But this is exactly what gets you into trouble. Think of it this way. If you have a house plant and you don’t water it and give it attention, it will wither away and die, right? Well, marriages are no different. If you neglect your partner and stop putting in the effort, the intimacy in the marriage will die too.

2. Addictions

Addictions come in many forms. Most people think of alcohol or drug addictions when they hear that word. And those are definitely huge problems. But a person can literally get addicted to anything.

They could be addicted to video games, porn, shopping, work, social media, or anything else. The point is that if they are obsessed with something else other than their spouse, then they are turning their attention away from the marriage.

And when that happens, it’s inevitable that it will kill the intimacy in the marriage. [Read: Social media addiction – 16 alarming symptoms and the fastest ways to break out]

3. Children

Let’s face it – children are all cute and cuddly, but they are a lot of work! You have to tend to their needs 24/7, and that can be overwhelming for a lot of parents. While they think it is worth it no doubt, it does put a lot of stress on a marriage.

When parents are running around after their children taking care of them all the time, they get tired and exhausted. It leaves little time to talk to your spouse, go out on dates, and have sex. So, while having little ones run around the house is great, it can really take a toll on the intimacy in your marriage.

4. Affairs

Affairs can come in a lot of different forms. We usually think of having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse as cheating – which it is. But there are many other kinds of cheating too.

From emotional cheating to micro-cheating, there are a lot of different ways that people can be unfaithful to their spouses these days. [Read: Mirco-cheating – what it is and signs you’re unintentionally doing it]

When one or both of the spouses are having an affair of any kind, again, it is turning outside of the marriage. This is a form of betrayal to your partner. And of course, both emotional and physical intimacy would subside as a result of the cheating.

5. Selfishness

A healthy relationship is a balanced relationship. Both partners need to put the other person’s needs and desires at least equal to – if not before – their own. So, when one or both people are selfish and constantly want to get their way with subtle manipulation, then it’s almost impossible to have intimacy in a marriage.

The problem is that the selfish person sometimes doesn’t even know that they are being selfish. And even if their spouse points it out to them, they still might not agree or acknowledge that it’s true.

But when selfishness continues in a marriage, then resentment will build over time. [Read: Selfishness in relationships – 15 tips to do the right thing]

6. Conflict

Every couple will have conflict – it’s just inevitable. But it’s not the conflict in and of itself that is the problem, but rather how the two people handle the conflict that eats away at intimacy.

For example, if you both feel like you are competing with each other to “win” an argument, then you can’t feel very close to your partner because you feel like they are your “enemy.”

But if you want to have more intimacy in your marriage, then you will have to adopt much healthier ways of dealing with your problems. Seeing yourself as a team and reaching solutions together in a calm, rational manner will create a stronger bond.

7. Routines

Life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows. We have work, children, cooking, and laundry to do. So, it’s normal for marriages to fall into the routines of life. You have to or else your lives won’t function very well, right? [Read: 20 fun things for couples to do to get out of the relationship routine]

But some people get really bored with the routines and crave something else. So, instead of thinking of new and creative ways to make your marriage more exciting, sometimes people just stay bored.

Or, they turn outside their marriage to affairs or addictions to spice up their lives. Of course, this does nothing but kill the intimacy in the marriage even more.

Why intimacy in marriage is crucial to a happy, long-lasting relationship

If you think a relationship can survive without intimacy, you’re wrong. Here’s why you need to be aware of how close you and your spouse are, both emotionally and physically. [Read: A lack of affection and intimacy in a relationship – is it time to walk away?]

1. You’ll care more

Yes, this might sound weird. You married your spouse. You love them. Of course, you care. But when you grow further and further apart, you care less about them.

The closer you are to someone emotionally, the stronger your feelings grow. And if you care more, you’ll put forth a lot more effort to make them happy. This amount of effort will help your love last. [Read: The sweetest, intimate ways to show somehow much you care]

2. You’ll learn more about your partner

We’re always changing and growing as people. So is your spouse. If you stop communicating and talking to each other, you won’t learn anything new about them and it’ll keep you at a distance.

By having a deep emotional intimacy, you’ll continuously learn more about your spouse as they grow individually, and this can help you both stay close. The more you know, the more in love with them you’ll continue to fall. [Read: 150+ deep relationship questions every couple must ask each other often]

3. You’ll be more aware of sensitive issues

When you communicate regularly with your partner, you’ll easily be able to tell when certain topics are a little sensitive for them.

Many people who don’t talk to their significant other enough or don’t listen to them have issues with offending them. They don’t realize a certain topic will anger their partner and this can often lead to arguments and fighting, instead of building intimacy in a marriage.

4. Communicating is much easier

When you’re already close, talking about your problems and insecurities and even your desires becomes so much easier.

You don’t have to worry about feeling awkward bringing up things that might be a little sensitive. And since communication is the most important part of a relationship, this helps your love last. [Read: 16 steps for better communication in a relationship]

5. You feel more confident

This has everything to do with physical intimacy and having a healthy sex life. Sex is a huge part of a relationship.

If you’re not having sex with each other, you’ll both feel a little bit worse about yourselves. So maintaining a healthy level of physical intimacy helps you feel more confident and in return, you’ll avoid issues associated with insecurities.

6. You avoid bigger issues

When you’re emotionally intimate with someone, you tell them everything. That includes things that are upsetting you. Because you’re actively talking to each other and working on keeping intimacy in a marriage alive, you avoid issues that can arise when that intimacy is gone. [Read: 25 tips to avoid marriage problems early on]

7. Your family will be healthier

This is obviously only if you already have a family or want a family in the future. Having a very strong emotional bond as a couple can really help your children learn about healthy relationships.

This is super important for your relationship because when your family is healthy and happy, you harbor fewer negative feelings. When you’re happier in life, your relationship will be happy, too.

How to improve intimacy in marriage

If you feel like your marriage is struggling a little bit in the intimacy department, here’s how you can change that.

1. Ask more questions

Your partner might not be the best at communicating and if that’s the case, you may need to help them. Just ask more questions than you are. Ask about their day and what they did for lunch. Ask how they feel about something you did recently.

When you ask questions, you start talking more. Talking is essential for growing closer and increasing intimacy in marriage. [Read: How well do you know me? 40 questions for couples to grow closer over the years]

2. Initiate sex even if you’re not feeling it just yet

We’re not always really horny every time we start to have sex. Sometimes you just need to be the spark that gets the fires roaring.

Initiate sex! Go up to your spouse and pull them into you. Whisper something naughty in their ear and get your sex life back on track. [Read: How to initiate sex confidently without feeling awkward about it]

3. Talk about controversial issues

If you really want to bond, discuss controversial issues going on in the world. See what they think about them.

This can help you fall more in love with their mind and how you see things. You can also bond with your similar opinions and discuss in greater detail the things you don’t always agree on. [Read: 20 meaningful topics that ignore an intellectual conversation]

4. Enjoy your alone time together

This might be a little more difficult to do once you have a busy family but it’s essential you get alone time together. And more importantly, that you are present and enjoying that time.

It’s really easy to want to use your time as a couple and just catch up with social media or your favorite TV show. But you really have to focus on engaging with one another romantically if you want to get that intimacy back. [Read: How much time should couples spend together? The real answers you need]

5. Seek therapy

Sometimes it’s really hard to see what the real problem in your relationship is when it comes to intimacy in a marriage. And sometimes, going to relationship counseling and seeing a professional can help more than you think. Don’t be afraid to admit that you need a little extra help to get your marriage on the right track.

If there’s something you two just can’t work through and you’ve tried everything yourself, then it’s time for a professional to lend a hand. You eventually go to the doctor if an illness doesn’t go away, right? This is no different.

[Read: 25 ways to emotionally connect with someone and feel closer instantly]

You may not know just how important intimacy in marriage is, and it could be costing your relationship a great deal. Make sure you’re maintaining a deep emotional and physical connection with your partner.

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