Do not settle!

Do not settle!

"Hi Mr. Kaufmann,
I have a relationship question for you. How do you recommend that couples prioritize intimacy in their marriage relationship? Lots of things seem to get in the way of intimacy in marriages from stress to exhaustion to children… what tips do you have for overcoming these challenges? Thanks!"
Nicole

 

Nicole,

This is a very smart question for you to ponder.
In life, there are very many distractions; kids, cars, careers, catastrophic conversations; so many things conspire to make our lives crazy.

You mention children; that is a great place to start. Parents must actively care for their children; that means time, money, emotions and every other resource you have. There is, however, one resource most important to every child; that is having an intact and loving relationship to emulate, which provides security and models love.

When I think of what really matters to kids, I’m often reminded of a scene from The Incredibles. The whole family is on Syndrome’s island; Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are inside the compound hoping to foil Syndrome’s evil plot. Though it is dangerous and she has her children to protect, Mrs. Incredible (AKA Elastigirl) especially wants to be in the compound with her husband to be certain that super-vixen Mirage doesn't have designs on her husband. Daughter Violet and son Dash are impatiently waiting outside. The kids are getting nervous, they can’t wait and they want to help; after all, their parents could be in danger.  Violet says to Dash, “Mom and Dad's lives could be in jeopardy, or worse - [whispering] their marriage.”

If you are so exhausted from child-rearing or job stress that you don't take time out to connect with your partner, you will naturally become more disconnected as time passes. You and your partner will learn to be more self-sufficient which will lead to more disconnection, which will lead to..., well you get the point. This won't happen quickly; first it is days, then weeks, then months and finally years of moribund disconnection. Like the frog in boiling water, by the time you notice, the water is too hot and you may no longer be able to escape.

Here’s the problem, when we don’t take care of our relationships, eventually they will fail in some critical way. That’s why successful relationships demand a principled approach.  What does that mean?  I’ll give you some thoughts in a moment, but first let’s look at what means to be principled in some other key areas of life:

Children:  You’ll raise your children in ways that you've been taught will increase their chances of success in life.
Financial:  Having sufficient financial resources for life and retirement requires you'll create and follow plans for both spending and saving.
Physical Health:  Living a healthy lifestyle requires proper exercise, healthy eating habits, avoiding bad habits like smoking or drinking in excess.

That principled approach repeats in every important part of our lives. This doesn't mean that we must frenetically plan every piece of life, but if it’s important, we’ll follow principles which give us a reasonably good chance at success. Of course, that crucially important part of life, your life’s relationship, must also follow principles for success.

In this linked file, I’m going to outline some ‘basic’ relationship tips.  Try following these tips daily for a couple of months and write me back to let me know if you are experiencing more connection. What I’m hoping you will experience is that a stronger relationship connection, even though it takes a few more minutes out of every day, will actually give you extra strength and help to relieve some of your stress.

I'll post more tips later, maybe your follow-up email will inspire me to do that.

God Bless you for caring!

Ron Kaufmann, MA, CO LPC #11336, EMDR Clinician
National Certified Counselor #267299
AASAT Certified Sexual Recovery Therapist
Recovering Hearts Counseling

Exile
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