The Importance of Intimacy: How to Make Your Marriage Last
This guest article comes from Dr. Ritterman at Hypnosis Network.
A recent study revealed a few interesting new aspects about intimacy and marriage. A few of these developments have the potential to change the way marriage counselors – and involved spouses – think about marriages. Specifically, how to keep them strong and healthy!
This 13-year study began in 1981, when researcher Ted Huston began following 168 newly-wed couples. By the time the study ended in 1994, 56 of the couples had divorced. In the meantime, Huston learned a whole lot about intimate relationships, causes of conflict, and how to maintain a happy marriage. One of these findings is proving groundbreaking for marriage and family counselors.
Previously, family counselors had always believed that conflict – arguments, antagonism, and lack of respect for differences – was what eventually led to divorce. But Huston's research showed that loss of intimacy and affection was the factor most likely to send the relationship spiraling downwards toward divorce. While fighting and conflict usually preceded the split, conflict was the result of lack of intimacy, not the cause.
Huston was quoted as saying, "This ought to change the way we think about the early roots of what goes wrong in marriage. The dominant approach has been to work with couples to resolve conflict, but it should focus on preserving the positive feelings." (See "Will Your Marriage Last?" by Aviva Patz, in Psychology Today, January 2000.)
The moral of the story? To protect and preserve your marriage, focus on maintaining intimacy and closeness with your partner. Here are a few steps you can take to maintain the feelings of closeness that marked your relationship as newly-weds:
* Express your affection frequently, through hugs, kisses, cuddling, small gifts, and special favors.
* Communicate effectively. Share your feelings, talk through issues in the relationship, and be honest (without being hurtful). Keep your partner up-to-date on what's happening in all areas of your life – even the little stuff.
* Be supportive and encouraging, so your spouse feels safe sharing his or her thoughts, feelings, and emotions, too.
* Find a project or hobby to enjoy together.
* Plan for your shared future, focusing on exciting and positive goals that you can work toward together.
Shared Couple's Trance, a hypnosis program developed by Dr. Michele Ritterman, is a fun and easy way to explore your relationship with your partner and build intimacy. Together, you can recreate positive feelings, while discovering your own sense of safety and closeness in the relationship.
To learn more about Dr. Ritterman's program, click here.
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