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If someone tells you they are in a perfect marriage, they are not being honest with you. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. There will be communication breakdowns, emotional meltdowns, and mistakes made. These issues will show up and make you wonder if you will be able to make it through. These sorts of issues can get in the way of physical and emotional intimacy. There are so many marriages that don’t make it because they lack intimacy. How we define intimacy in our relationships will really determine the success of our marriages. Here are seven ways to have the most intimate year ever.

Identify Why Intimacy is Lacking

One of the most crucial things you can do is identify what issues are causing intimacy to be lacking in your relationship. Does your spouse feel unappreciated? Are they overworked? Are they not feeling the way they look in the mirror? These types of thoughts can be sabotaging and really get in the way of intimacy. There are also other issues like having a history of commitment issues, evidence of cheating, including emotional infidelity, and mental hang-ups that can really challenge intimacy in your relationship. One big way to work through this is to talk openly with your significant others about these barriers. Express your feelings and your hang-ups. Don’t expect your spouse to just know what you’re feeling. Communicate the problems directly to them.

Take Emotional Scars Head On

Do you or your partner have unhealed emotional scars in your relationship? You must deal with this issue if you want to strengthen intimacy in your relationship. Issues like jealousy, fear of abandonment, and possessiveness could be creating roadblocks in your marriage. If you or your significant other were wounded in their childhood or previous adult relationships, there might be emotional scarring and fear they may or may not have confronted. This can get in the way of intimacy being reached. It’s imperative that you and your spouse trust each other enough to take on these underlying issues together.

Be Open About Your Needs

Talk to your spouse about your needs and desires, inside and outside of the bedroom. Do you know a lot about your spouse's sexual history? Suppose you or your spouse isn’t used to monogamy. In that case, there could be an underlying fear of intimacy or commitment because that hasn’t been modeled in previous relationships or the relationships of the people around them. You and your spouse should also be willing to discuss your needs and work together to satisfy them. This doesn’t mean that you present unrealistic expectations and expect your spouse to meet demands. It just means that you’re comfortable enough to talk about what turns you on and off. It’s hard to adjust things when you’re not open with your partner about them.

Be Vulnerable

If you or your spouse struggle with intimacy, one of the big keys to reclaiming it is being vulnerable with them. This starts with letting your guard down. This may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is the first step to transforming your relationships. If trust has been broken in your relationship, you will both have to put the work in to restore it. This begins with being able to show your feelings and your weaknesses to your partner. When we begin to do this, we can truly begin the process of better intimacy with our spouse.

Be Patient

It can be really difficult to push through relationship stress and grief, particularly if there has been a major breakdown of trust in your relationship. Sometimes, it takes a lot longer than we hope. This is why it helps to give your spouse space and time to work through their emotions. Sometimes, it can take therapy and counseling to help break through some of these issues and begin the process of healing. Having an objective, third-party can help people see things more clearly and place you and your partner in the space you need to be in. For example, if cheating occurred in your marriage, your therapist will help you see that people grieve and recover differently. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, so patience is so important.

Admit You Are Powerless

One of the greatest steps in restoring intimacy in your marriage is to acknowledge the fact that you can’t handle all the problems in your relationship on your own. You must be able to recognize the ineffectiveness of your attempts to change your spouse’s character flaws and faults. When you realize that you can’t control everything that’s happening in your life, and you are powerless to change who your spouse is, the true change in your relationship can begin. Start by admitting you don’t need to control everything.

Let Go of Bitterness

When you have a hardened heart, it can bring on a lot of stress and pain. It’s incredibly hard to remove bitterness from your heart. One of the first reasons is because it’s hard to forgive when you’re bitter. You probably feel justified for being angry. You also may feel like your spouse doesn’t deserve forgiveness until they beg for it. You may be holding on to a hurt that your spouse isn’t even aware of. Your spouse may not have even realized how upset you are or that they offended you. Also, don’t sleep on the fact that bitterness spreads. When you hold bitterness in your heart, it can contaminate your body and your spirit. This is one of the worst things that can happen to your relationship.

Some couples will give up on their relationships before really working on physical and emotional intimacy. Remember, building this is a process. You must work at it every day if you really want your relationship to thrive. If your relationship is in a rough spot, you are constantly at war, or you’re sensing greater distance with your spouse, take time out to think about what you really want from your relationship. Write these things out and then actualize them. Do these things and prepare for the most intimate year with your spouse yet.

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