Intimacy is one of those topics that we all know is super important in marriage but hard to talk about. It’s hard enough to think about talking about it with our partner, much less with a therapist.
The fact is, intimacy issues are not uncommon but are often not the stated reason for coming to counseling. Couples will often come to counseling for other relationship issues but as they begin to delve deeper, they reveal that their intimate connection has weakened.
Contrary to popular belief, intimacy and sex are not the same thing. Intimacy may include sex. Intimacy is that emotional place of trust, vulnerability and commitment between partners. You’re able to be fully open with each other. You understand each other and you feel understood. It is a place of emotional contentment.
If your intimacy has begun to fade or if it’s been a struggle, marriage counseling can help. Through the process of counseling, you and your partner can explore and heal the issues that create barriers to being able to be truly intimate.
So what can you expect with marriage counseling for intimacy issues? Depending on your counselor’s approach and your particular needs, you and your partner may have some sessions individually to address issues that may be blocking your ability to connect with your partner. If and when each of you is ready, the therapist with work with you as a couple to repair and heal old wounds and rebuild trust. You and your partner will do a lot of sharing and a lot of listening. You’re laying the foundation for intimacy. Finally, when you’re both ready, you’ll work on rebuilding intimacy.
Rebuilding intimacy involves using some of the same tools you used when you were building your relationship in the beginning. Using something called “relational building blocks”, your counselor will give you specific tasks and tools. You’ll have homework that you and your partner will do together. You’ll discover that these homework activities or “building blocks” are based on the things that you and your partner did early on in your relationship. They are the things that drew you together. They are part of the dynamic of your relationship.
Doing these things helps you to rekindle those feelings of closeness that grew into love and attraction. Couples sometimes say that it feels like they’re dating each other again. In a lot of ways, that’s exactly what’s happening only from a healthier place. One of the biggest fears is talking to a counselor about our most personal and private feelings and our sex lives.
Relationships take a lot of loving care to remain strong, healthy and passionate. Once you’ve re-established your intimacy, your counselor will likely give you suggestions for maintaining and nurturing this new-found intimacy.
One of the biggest fears is talking to a counselor about our most personal and private feelings and our sex lives. Don’t let this fear hold you back from seeking help. Skilled marriage therapists understand this apprehension. The therapy space offers you a safe and comfortable place to share.
You and your partner can rediscover that closeness and passion you once had. A marriage counselor can show you the way.