When one partner begins blaming the other in the bedroom or withdraws from intimacy, very rarely do couples look at what is going on outside the bedroom. However, good sex begins outside the bedroom, and bad sex rarely happens when the rest of the relationship is well supported. Although couples come in seeking help in the bedroom, the problem rarely begins there or is focused there.
If your bedroom has become more of an office or reading room than a place for love making, changing your out-of-bed behavior can go a long way. Check out these tips for restoring intimacy.
- Practice good communication. If your partner is hurt or angered by something you said, ask them why. Sweeping feelings and hurt expressions under the bed will absolutely affect what happens in the bed; thinking it won't make a difference is naïve at best and insensitive at worse.
- Practice being kind to each other. Couples should prioritize cherishing each other and making small gestures of appreciation. Everyone wants to be appreciated and, in marriage or long-term relationships, kindness and thoughtfulness become more important. A unexpected cup of coffee, offering to do laundry, taking over a chore your spouse finds difficult, or bringing home a small token of affection means so much to the person who loves you most. Research studies that couples who helped with the chores rated their sex life as happier than couples where one person did the work.
- Practice protecting each other. Your partner must feel like they are your teammate. They need to know that you have their back, and they can count on you to keep what they say between the two of you. Defending your partner against insensitive remarks helps your partner feel protected and safe with you. Praising your partner in public and showing them respect with your words goes a long way in helping your partner feel valued and adored by you.
- Give your partner attention outside the bedroom. If your partner feels ignored except in the bedroom, they can start to feel taken advantage of or used. Practice giving your partner attention outside the bedroom from the moment you get up to the end of the day. Sending them a text to ask how their day is going or asking about the day ahead in the morning (and REALLY listening) helps your partner feel supported. Greeting them when they come home and sharing their successes will reassure your partner that they are number one. This builds trust in the relationship, which is vital in enhancing physical and emotional intimacy.
- Lighten up and play together. In order to have good physical intimacy with your partner, you must be able to enjoy time with them and laugh with them. If the fun and joy have escaped your relationship, the bedroom will become boring, too. When is the last time you both cracked up about something and laughed until your jaw hurts? A sense of humor evens out those rough spots everyone goes through. If you can't remember the last time you and your partner had fun, it's time to take action. Plan a party, take a trip, get together with friends for a camping weekend, or download and watch your favorite comedians.
One reason long-term relationships are so challenging is they require constant nurturing and compromise to keep them alive. Quick romances, although easier, are not as fulfilling as having a partner you can rely on and feel totally safe with. Having someone who adores you and desires you for life doesn't come magically, though; it requires each partner to continually practice thoughtfulness and attentiveness. You must seek out what makes your partner feel desired and adored and commit to doing those things even when you'd rather just go to bed.