Use the Past
Think about what has worked in similar situations in the past and consider how you can use that to help you this time.
Practice Compassionate Listening
Even if you feel attacked of don’t understand your partner’s actions or words, imagine that they are feeling scared or hurt at the moment when there are problems. Try getting into their shows or skin and imagine or try to understand how they hare seeing or feeling in this situation. Be sure that you understand and that your partner feels understood before your respond.
Credit for the Good Stuff
It’s all too easy to focus on the problems in relationships. Did your partner talk to you about something he or she would usually have avoided? Give them credit for that even if you are upset about what they said. Did you two talk out something that you usually would have gotten stuck on? Mention it and acknowledge it to each other.
Is It Time for Your Marriage Checkup?
Most adults engage in long-term relationships, including marriage and other committed partnerships. Nearly everyone experiences difficulties in their marriage from time to time, but some people seem more prepared to anticipate these hard times and respond to them more skillfully than others. The skills that make a marriage last can be learned!
• Conflict management
Intimacy is personal for every relationship. Find out what helps each of you feel or sustain closeness and affection in your relationship. Here are some hints about some areas to examine and things to try to create, enhance or sustain intimacy.
Spending Time Together
Most people who feel close to one another spend a certain amount of time alone with one another. However, with the demands of children and work, some couples find that they leave their time together as the last thing on their agenda. It might be important to put some special effort in to scheduling or carving out some time regularly to spend with one another without distractions.
Telling each other things that are risky to say, because you might be hurt or criticized by the other person, is a way to create or restore intimacy.
Couples often share their hopes, dreams and vulnerable feelings early on during courtship, but less so as time goes on. Many a midlife crisis is brought on by one partner feeling that he or she can no longer share deep, vulnerable feelings with their partner. Take a chance with your partner by sharing something a bit risky. It could open the door to intimacy.
Most couples who report intimacy find that they touch each other in little ways when they are together: holding hands, sitting close, giving hugs when greeting or parting, touching the other person’s elbow or shoulder when talking, and so on. In more private settings, there is more sexual touching. Has the touch or physical contact gone out of your relationship? Can you begin to reinstate it with simple gestures, like giving each other backrubs or holding hands while watching television? That might go a long way toward restoring or sustaining feelings of closeness.
One of the barriers to intimacy is feeling that one’s partner doesn’t like or respect you or that you are being judged. Try dropping your critical feelings about your partner and develop some compassion or understanding, or accept quirks or nondestructive habits. Does he love baseball? Instead of belittling his passion, try supporting him in his interest. Does she cry at movies? Don’t scoff and tell her she is being too sentimental, but give her the message that she is okay and you admire her for crying when she sees sad things.