Marriage Counseling: How to End Intimacy Interference
Unlike other partnerships, marriage is multidimensional and ever-evolving.
Maintaining closeness can be challenging. Often, couples who attend marriage counseling with me in Miami, find out what couples everywhere know as well: intimacy is routinely threatened by the stresses of everyday life and strained by ineffective ways of coping and reconnecting.
Can you relate? Are you longing for a deeper, more meaningful relationship? Do you want to end intimacy interference?
Consider the following obstacles to romance, relationship goal-setting, and mutually satisfying sexual connection– and how marriage counseling can help turn things around:
Intimacy Interference Culprit #1: Stress
The mundane, mounting responsibilities of your shared life can interfere with intimacy significantly. Before you know it, loving interaction and sexual exploration are on the back burner. If you’ve experience significant life changes such as the arrival of a new baby, care of an aging parent, or major career shifts, intimacy may seem like a luxury you just don’t have time to indulge.
The stress of it all can sneak up on you. No matter the cause, your ability to connect may be strained and it may seem easier to just forgo the effort. It’s easy to forget, when you’re overworked and emotionally spent that there is no better relief than intimacy. Thus, unfortunately, stress too often drives a wedge between partners.
At this point, marriage counseling can be the time in your week where you both come up for air and remember that intimacy is a lifesaver you can both hold onto, not another responsibility pulling you under.
Just a commitment to a meal together, touching each other as you pass by, or lingering in the hello and goodbye kisses on the way to work and home again may help remind you how soothing and rewarding intimacy can be.
With the help of marriage counseling, you can redefine your stress triggers and embrace the little intimacies in your life again. Stress is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to run the show.
By learning how to manage the stress in your life as a couple you will open new doors for daily, gratifying intimate experiences that lead to more satisfaction.
Intimacy Interference Culprit #2: Health Problems
Many people may fail to understand the significance of maintaining their health. In intimacy, it can mean everything. It is important not to let your health slide in a long-term relationship. Failing health can inhibit your level of intimacy, as your energy level, stamina, and libido are all greatly affected by physiology.
In addition, intimacy requires self-care, and physical vulnerability. As time has passed, have you or your spouse felt increasingly embarrassed or upset at the thought of being physically open with each other? Often, deep emotional connection is limited when one spouse feels unable to connect due to mismatched physical ability or is now feeling uncomfortable in their own skin.
Marriage counseling can help you identify your own areas of self-conscious upset, personal neglect, or unaddressed health concerns. If your physical well-being is contributing to the problem, therapy can help problem solve and set realistic goals. It could be something as simple as a new exercise regime or upgrading your self-care routine. Small changes could have a profound effect on your life and reassure your partner that restoring intimacy is important to you.
Intimacy Interference Culprit # 3 Sexual Issues
Healthy sexual functioning is a vital part of long-term relationships. Are you and your partner experiencing problems in this arena?
Shame, blame, and embarrassment may be interfering with your ability to find intimacy on any level. It’s crucial to get help sooner rather than later.
Working with a sex therapist experienced in guiding couples through sexual problems and frustrations is invaluable.
For men, some common issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and inhibited sexual desire stifle loving expression. Many men find these issues threatening to their masculinity and feel awkward or uncertain about where to get help.
For many women, issues like the lack of orgasm, painful intercourse, and inhibited sexual desire make intimacy a chore. To further complicate things, either partner’s unresolved trauma or past experiences may also get in the way.
Marriage counseling with a sex therapist can help can facilitate understanding and recovery. Mutual comfort and satisfaction can, once again, become a reachable goal.
Intimacy Interference Culprit # 4 Lack of Communication
More than anything else, lack of communication is at the core of marital discord. This is true for intimacy interference, too.
Discussing a need for intimacy puts partners in a very vulnerable place. One partner may feel dismissed, the other may feel accused. If couples don’t know how to lovingly communicate their needs and desire to be close the conversation may turn negative.
Expressing dissatisfaction or a desire for change can run the risk of rejection.
While you don’t want to hurt your spouse, you may still feel the need to be honest. Choosing the right words and timing to express yourself is important.
Marriage counseling can ease the sense of intimidation couples may have about broaching sensitive subjects . It can help restore intimacy by providing a secure environment that allows partners to be vulnerable with each other in a safe, non-judgmental space.
Intimacy Interference Culprit # 5 Disconnection
Today’s technology makes it easy to connect with people, at least electronically, at almost any given time. Email, tweeting or texting can be very effective forms of communication.
Many partners complain, however, when their spouse appears to be tied to their phone or laptop. Despite what appears to be really good reasons for such preoccupation with electronic media, there is often real dissatisfaction with a partner who seems to be connected to their phone and disconnected to their loved one.
For many marriages this sort of preoccupation tends to undermine intimacy. It is a symptom of our time to be paying attention to fast moving things that distract us at the cost of losing the connection between us.
Continued and consistent disconnection which results from spending too much time away from your partner or not paying enough attention to your relationship can create distance between you that may cause you to ultimately feel awkwardness in each other’s presence. That condition can obviously interfere with intimacy.
You need to plan to have time every day to converse and engage each other. Connecting emotionally must become a daily priority. Marriage counseling can help you identify the ways you may be fostering disconnection and offer ways to help you promote a better bond.
Creating and sustaining a loving union with an ongoing, evolving sexual connection is a challenge for any couple. Marriage counseling can be a key step to working your way back to each other. The skills learned in counseling and applied in your partnership go a long way to insulate your relationship from a world of distractions that can interfere with the stronger connection you want to create.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist, life coach and Board Certified Clinical Sexologist in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers, intimacy and other sexual issues addressing them in a safe, non-judgmental environment. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work life balance.
Call or email for a cost-free telephone consultation. Services are rendered either the office located at 2999 NE 191 St. Suite 703, Miami, Florida 33180 or through video conference via Skype or FaceTime. Serving all of the greater Miami, Florida area or, through video conference, anywhere that there is a broadband internet connection.