from the National Institute of Marriage
Q: While dating, he was open, sharing his feelings and relaxed with me all the time. He loved being with me. Now, 4 years into our marriage, there is 0 intimacy. He is dead towards me. He never opens up, doesn’t say but 4 or 5 sentences a day. I am drowning! I want the relationship we once had. I want the intimacy back in our marriage. What do I do?
A: When married couples are together in a state of openness, intimacy naturally occurs. In its most basic sense, intimacy is the experience of being close to your spouse and openly sharing anything either about yourself or something else with the confidence of being secure, loved and valued. This may or may not include words. It doesn’t necessarily require work or effort. The mistake many make—knowing they want to experience intimacy and that openness is required—is to focus on trying to be open or to create intimacy. Either focus makes getting to true intimacy harder than necessary. The easier approach to intimacy is to focus on creating a secure environment for yourself and for your spouse. When both of you feel secure, you will be naturally inclined to relax and be open. Then, intimacy will simply happen.
Here’s what I mean by creating a secure environment. When you have a state of the art security system built into a marriage, especially emotionally, it makes opening up significantly easier. When you and your spouse know that both of you are committed to creating a secure marriage you avoid things that would cause hurt in either of you, and you begin building a foundation for a great relationship. Ideally, your home should feel like the most secure place on earth.
In your quest to have the “best of the best” in your marriage, I want to encourage you to make creating security a top priority. Start this process by answering some basic questions: 0-10 (with ten being the most safe), how secure do you feel today to open up and share anything with your mate without the uneasiness of being criticized or judged? How have I made it insecure for my spouse? How have I built security of my marital environment? What do I do in response to my mate when I’m feeling insecure?
Would it be safe to say that your husband felt safe and secure with you while dating? Did he feel judged, looked down on, condemned by the words that he chose or the actions that he took? The intimacy you experienced early on was a result of security.
Focus on creating security with your spouse rather than intimacy.