3 Reasons Why Tender Touch Cultivates Deeper Intimacy

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3 Reasons Why Tender Touch Cultivates Deeper Intimacy

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

When our oldest son was born, we learned more about the unbelievable power of human touch than we ever thought possible. He was born 3 months premature and weighed one pound–and our touch was life-sustaining to him.

Over the months we spent with him in the hospital, we began to talk more about what tender touch does for us in our marriage–not the kind of touch that leads to something more in the bedroom, but the kind of touch that connects and reassures.

Not only does touch cultivate deeper intimacy; it helps us communicate with each other on another level. It sustains and strengthens our connection. And it’s an essential part of a healthy, happy marriage.

1. TOUCH HELPS US FEEL SECURE, KNOWN, AND LOVED

Tender touch conveys our love for one another, and creates a level of emotional safety that opens the door for deeper intimacy. It’s this deep kind of emotional security that leads to more physical desire for one another in the long run. Although we all want to experience a healthy sex life with our spouse, it’s critical to build that foundation.

When we feel valued, we’re more likely to show vulnerability to one another. Affectionate touch doesn’t shut us down; instead, it opens us to that intimacy we’re craving from one another–on multiple levels.

To feel seen, heard, and truly known by your spouse is a powerful component in the health of your marriage. Little daily moments and habits that are meaningful build upon each other and lead to something amazing in our marriages. Use touch to show your spouse that you’re watching, listening to, and valuing him or her.

Like our tiny infant son, touch is essential to our well-being in our marriages; without that daily contact, we can’t thrive.

2. TOUCH KEEPS US CONNECTED

Tender touch awakens us and reminds us of why we fell in love in the first place. It’s a way to tell one another, “I’m for you.” It’s a reminder that we’re not enemies–we’re on the same team.

Some ways you can stay connected with tender touch are:

  • A massage after a long day at work
  • Comforting hugs when your spouse is down
  • Touching your spouse when you’re talking or laughing
  • Holding hands in town
  • Putting an arm around your spouse during worship

Tender touch is particularly important when you’re going through a difficult time in your life or marriage. If you’ve been experiencing a lot of conflict, problems with your children or extended family, health issues, etc., stay connected by making physical contact daily–two to three minutes total, at minimum. You’ll be surprised how much you accomplish emotionally by intentionally touching one another every day.

3. TOUCH COMMUNICATES AFFECTION WITHOUT AGENDA

Tender touch isn’t meant to lead directly to the bedroom; instead, it’s meant to convey affection without an agenda attached. It’s meant to be a selfless, supportive act instead of a means to an end.

We touch our spouses because we love them and cherish them; if we only touch them when we have an agenda, they might start to feel resentful of the fact that you only make physical contact when you want something.

Practice tender touch without expecting sex in return. Be playful and affectionate. Passion is an important component of marriage, but it’s not the only form of physical affection you and your spouse need to share.

(As an added bonus, the more physical affection you share without an agenda attached, the more you and your spouse will desire one another in that passionate way! And you’ll find that you inevitably build anticipation for those private moments while you’re showing one another affection.)

If you would like help in the area of intimacy and relationships, please give CornerStone Family Services a call at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

How to Skyrocket Your Intimacy Through Shared Activity

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How to Skyrocket Your Intimacy Through Shared Activity

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

We all have hobbies and interests that we’re passionate about; the trick is finding a way to integrate them into our marriages. Some couples do this with ease. Others, however, struggle to find a good middle ground–or even new activities to share.

Today, we’re talking about how to create opportunities for shared activities in your marriage to skyrocket your intimacy and make your relationship happier.

THE VALUE OF SHARED HOBBIES

Sharing activities or hobbies as a couple is incredibly important to the health of your marriage. Enjoying hobbies, recreational activities, and downtime together allows intimacy to flourish in your relationship.

For wives, spending time together in shared activities fulfills their longing for intimacy. It also draws husbands into that sense of intimate connection, creating a mutually beneficial situation for both partners. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, as long as you put the time and energy into spending time together.

When you spend time with your spouse, you’re creating memories and good feelings together that will spill over into other areas of your marriage. No matter what’s going on in your life, you have these times set aside, when you and your spouse will simply be doing an activity you enjoy together. And when the going gets rough, you’ll have those good times to lean on and look forward to.

You’ll also be setting a great example for your children of what a healthy marriage looks like. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to let them see the two of you loving each other well. And when they’re grown, they can emulate that in their marriages.

HOW TO FIND ACTIVITIES TO SHARE

If you two already have many common interests, then agreeing on what to do together should be a cinch. You’ll have a ton of options to choose from! If you both enjoy physical activities like biking or tennis, hit the trail or the court together once a week (or alternate, if you like both!). If the two of you are music buffs or love theatre, choose a show or performance to attend together every month (and in the meantime, kick back and listen to records together for a relaxing date night at home).

It gets a bit tricker to find things to do together when you don’t share many interests, so you’ll really have to put your heads together to figure something out. The good news is that it’s not about what you have in common–it’s how you work with one another to find that common ground, or create something new in the process.

First, make a list of each of your favorite hobbies, and sit down together to talk through each of them to gauge each other’s level of interest in the items on the list. Create a new list for the solutions you land on, and write those down. After that, talk through each item again until you’ve landed on one or two activities that you’d like to participate in together.

Another way to approach this could be to ask each other, “If you could only do one thing in your free time from now on, what would it be?” Then, make the effort to get involved (as much as possible–even just a little) in one another’s top choice.

If you find yourselves coming up short on ideas, we’ve created a free cheat sheet that will help jump-start your search for some activities that both of you feel interested in. You might both find an activity to engage in that you’ve never tried before, and who knows? It may end up becoming your favorite.

REMEMBER TO KEEP IT FUN

If finding shared activities has proven to be a challenge, don’t look at it as being mismatched with your spouse. Instead, view it as an opportunity to experience life on a deeper level with your partner and best friend. Exploring new activities and hobbies together can enrich your life and your marriage, and that in itself is a huge payoff.

Next week, we’ll focus on what to do when hobbies or activities steal your spouse’s time and energy…plus give you some tips on how to get his or her attention back on your relationship.

If you would like help skyrocketing your intimacy through shared activity, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Tips for Upping Emotional Intimacy

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usfowyo1qew-kalen-emsleyTips for Upping Emotional Intimacy

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
You and your spouse have a good marriage–great, even–but you’re ready to take it to the next level. Maybe you’re physically intimate, but you want more of that intimacy to extend to your emotional life.

In today’s post, we’re sharing five tips for increasing the emotional intimacy in your relationship. Each of these tips builds on the next to help you create the deep, fulfilling connection you’re craving.

NURTURE TRUST

In order for your marriage to be as emotionally intimate as possible, you and your spouse must be able to trust one another implicitly. This means that both of you must commit to always being honest with one another, speaking the truth in love.

It also means that you should model trustworthiness for your spouse. If your husband or wife observes you being dishonest with a third party–for any reason–you’ve planted a seed of doubt in their heart. It’s very difficult to overcome breaches in trust, so do your best to avoid creating unnecessary problems.

ENSURE EMOTIONAL SAFETY

In addition to being trustworthy, you and your spouse can increase your intimacy by guaranteeing one another emotional safety in your relationship. Lovingly accepting your spouse, warts and all, is the ultimate display of love–and an offering of safety.

If neither of you has to worry about being wrongly judged, criticized, or cut down, you will both thrive!

ENCOURAGE VULNERABILITY

With the gift of emotional safety comes the invitation to be vulnerable. Allowing yourselves to be authentic with one another will add a deeper layer of intimacy to your marriage. As you take the time to not only accept your spouse’s vulnerabilities, but also expose your own, your love for one another will grow deeper.

No one on earth will know you the way your spouse knows you. And no one will know your spouse like you do. The best way to get there is to be who you are with one another–without pretense.

CULTIVATE CLOSENESS

Spending time together and sharing activities will give you the physical proximity you need to nurture your romance, as well as your friendship. Even if you’re short on free time, make sure to invest at least a few minutes a day face-to-face, enjoying one another’s company. The more connected you feel, the more intimate your marriage will be!

FOSTER DEEP CONNECTION

Feeling profoundly connected to your spouse can affect both of you (positively!) on a spiritual level, in addition to the benefits you’ll feel emotionally and physically. Take time to learn more about one another. If there’s something your spouse feels passionately about, ask questions to learn more. Or if they love or enjoy something deeply, show curiosity about it.

Connect where you are able, regardless of whether you have the same set of interests. Finding common ground together and reveling in that–instead of focusing on areas where you don’t agree or resonate with one another–will skyrocket your emotional intimacy.

 

If you would like help upping your emotional intimacy, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Emotional Intimacy: How To Connect on a Deeper Level

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intimacy

Emotional Intimacy: How To Connect on a Deeper Level

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

You and your spouse have a good marriage–great, even–but you’re ready to take it to the next level. Maybe you’re physically intimate, but you want more of that intimacy to extend to your emotional life.

In today’s post, we’re sharing five tips for increasing the emotional intimacy in your relationship. Each of these tips builds on the next to help you create the deep, fulfilling connection you’re craving.

NURTURE TRUST

In order for your marriage to be as emotionally intimate as possible, you and your spouse must be able to trust one another implicitly. This means that both of you must commit to always being honest with one another, speaking the truth in love.

It also means that you should model trustworthiness for your spouse. If your husband or wife observes you being dishonest with a third party–for any reason–you’ve planted a seed of doubt in their heart. It’s very difficult to overcome breaches in trust, so do your best to avoid creating unnecessary problems.

ENSURE EMOTIONAL SAFETY

In addition to being trustworthy, you and your spouse can increase your intimacy by guaranteeing one another emotional safety in your relationship. Lovingly accepting your spouse, warts and all, is the ultimate display of love–and an offering of safety.

If neither of you has to worry about being wrongly judged, criticized, or cut down, you will both thrive!

ENCOURAGE VULNERABILITY

With the gift of emotional safety comes the invitation to be vulnerable. Allowing yourselves to be authentic with one another will add a deeper layer of intimacy to your marriage. As you take the time to not only accept your spouse’s vulnerabilities, but also expose your own, your love for one another will grow deeper.

No one on earth will know you the way your spouse knows you. And no one will know your spouse like you do. The best way to get there is to be who you are with one another–without pretense.

CULTIVATE CLOSENESS

Spending time together and sharing activities will give you the physical proximity you need to nurture your romance, as well as your friendship. Even if you’re short on free time, make sure to invest at least a few minutes a day face-to-face, enjoying one another’s company. The more connected you feel, the more intimate your marriage will be!

FOSTER DEEP CONNECTION

Feeling profoundly connected to your spouse can affect both of you (positively!) on a spiritual level, in addition to the benefits you’ll feel emotionally and physically. Take time to learn more about one another. If there’s something your spouse feels passionately about, ask questions to learn more. Or if they love or enjoy something deeply, show curiosity about it.

Connect where you are able, regardless of whether you have the same set of interests. Finding common ground together and reveling in that–instead of focusing on areas where you don’t agree or resonate with one another–will skyrocket your emotional intimacy.

5 Ways To Cultivate Intimacy In Your Marriage

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Close-up of a young couple in love

5 Ways To Cultivate Intimacy In Your Marriage

By Jennifer Smith

Intimacy is a vital part of marriage. It is through intimacy that a couple creates connection and a deep bond that far exceeds any other relationship one could have.

It is important that we intentionally cultivate intimacy in marriage. There are many different ways a husband and wife can do this. It takes time, energy and effort, but if you are intentional about it, your marriage will benefit and grow.

Many people associate the word intimacy with sex. Although sex is an intimate act a husband and wife can enjoy together, there are other ways to cultivate intimacy as well. Sexual intimacy is very important, but so are these other intimate acts.

5 Ways To Cultivate Intimacy In Your Marriage:

1. Pray Together

Praying together can seem intimidating, especially if you are not comfortable praying out loud. However, this is one of the most intimate things you will ever get to share with your husband. So gather up the courage and pray with your man! Pray for your marriage, your family, and your future! Praying together builds intimacy because you are vulnerably exposing your heart, not just before your husband, but to God at the same time.

2. Converse With Each Other

This does not mean just talk to one another, rather it means to find a relaxing atmosphere to give quality time to communicating with each other. Be intentional about removing distractions. Make eye contact, share your heart with him, and take time to just listen. Things that you can discuss include the condition of your marriage, goals, issues you may need to resolve, and things God is teaching you. Quality communication fosters intimacy in marriage!

3. Eat Together

Our fast-paced culture tends to fill up every ounce of our time. Learn to slow down and keep your priorities, priorities! Sit together and enjoy a meal with your husband. This can be as simple as a light lunch or you can really set the mood by lighting candles and setting the table nicely. We were made to enjoy food and what better way to nourish your body than doing so alongside your husband. Use the time you have to bless your husband by making his favorite meal! One of the most intimate settings Jesus experienced with His disciples was sharing Passover with them! Eating together fosters intimacy because it shows you care enough to slow down and enjoy the time you have been given, it encourages community, and it usually creates an atmosphere of peace.

4. Play Together

Experience joy, laughter, excitement, and fun as you play together. You can play with your spouse through games like keep away with the remote, tickle torture, water fights, clean pranks, or actually sport games. Playing together keeps your relationship fresh as you are energized by laughter and happiness. Playing together will stimulate your mind and your heart. Playing together cultivates intimacy in marriage because it includes physical touch.

5. Go On Adventures

Just like playing together, going on adventures will stimulate your mind and your heart. Go on adventures together may be trying a new restaurant, going on a hike, traveling out of state, going on a mission trip, or taking a drive. This will cause you to communicate as you experience new things around you! Be creative and explore with your husband as often as you can! Remember these do not have to be expensive, it may just be a walk down a street you have never been down before. As you learn to trust each other through your adventures and the excitement of experiencing new things is intimate because it will draw you closer to each other!


If you would like more help in cultivating intimacy in your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Two Ways to Fire Up Passion in the Bedroom

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Mature Couple Nuzzling

Two Ways to Fire Up Passion in the Bedroom

By Les & Leslie Parrott
There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.
I Corinthians 6:16

The loss of passionate romance is a common complaint in marriage. It seems that once the confetti and rice are swept away and the last of the wedding cake is put in the freezer, so is the couple’s passion.

But marriage in no way requires passion to be put on ice. Love grows less exciting with time for the same reasons that the second run on a fast toboggan slide is less exciting than the first. But as any long-term, happily married couple can tell you, the excitement may decrease, but the real pleasure can still increase.

So what do couples who enjoy passion do that’s different than others? How do they rekindle the flickering flame of passion? Here are two proven practices:

  • Practice meaningful touch. Sex therapists have long known what successfully married couples soon learn. Affection, in the form of touching, is not only a preliminary to making love, it is a language that speaks more eloquently than words. Sheldon Van Auken, writing about his marriage to Davy in the book A Severe Mercy, illustrates the profoundness of touch: “Davy had crept near to me still crouching and I put my arm about her, and she snuggled close. Neither of us spoke, not so much as a whispered word. We were together, we were close, we were overwhelmed by a great beauty. I know that it seemed to us both that we were completely one: we had no need to speak.” Meaningful touch is the language of passion.
  • Compliment your partner daily. The most important element of romantic passion for both husbands and wives is to feel special. Not only do they want to feel sexually attractive to their mates, but they want to know they are appreciated. Compliments feel good — both to give and to receive. So, to paraphrase a James Taylor song, “Shower the person you love with compliments.”

When it comes to passion in marriage, the bottom line is that the intensity of early passion is only the beginning.

We often illustrate it this way: A jet airliner from Seattle to New York uses 80 percent of its fuel in takeoff. A tremendous amount of energy is required to get the plane launched so it can reach a comfortable cruising altitude. The takeoff, however, is only the beginning.

The cruise is the important part of the journey, and it requires a different kind of energy, one with more sustaining and even power.

By cultivating a deep-rooted passion, you can avoid years of needless marital turbulence and enjoy soaring at altitudes never imagined.

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If you are looking to enrich your marriage, please give CornerStone Family Services a call at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.