Part of what distinguishes a spouse from a friendship is that the marital relationship includes intimacy. Let me clear up right away that intimacy is not just sexual behavior (although it includes that as well) but is behaviors characterized by a closeness that is personal and private in nature. It can be anything from a look, to communciation, to touch, to sexual acts. Today I will focusing more on the physical relationship, however.
There are several things to be aware of before you try to use intimacy in order to reconnect with your spouse. First off, this is not something that can be forced (and I’m not referring to rape but of course that is even more important to remember). I have seen couples who come into my office looking to reconnect and typically the female does not feel comfortable being intimate with her husband anymore. She feels as though he is a stranger and just as she would not want to be intimate with any random person she meets, she feels the same way about her husband. When she feels obligated to be intimate with him, it builds resentment. In these cases it is best if the couple refrains from intimacy for the time being. It is important that women do not use this as an excuse, however, but work towards feeling comfortable enough to be intimate. One thing that can help in this situation is to be working on the other concepts I have talked about in this Reconnecting with Your Spouse series. It is true that men need sex to feel loved by their wives, and wives need to feel loved in order to have sex with their husbands. So it may be helpful for men to remember women may need to feel the romance and wining and dining prior to trying to be intimate. It may also be helpful to start with less intimate behaviors and gradually work your way up to more intimate behaviors.
Why is intimacy important? If you search the internet there will be many answers to why intimacy is important in relationships, especially ones that aim to answer this on a spiritual level. I don’t want to go to deep in my answer here, so if you are looking for more, do a quick internet search. We are relational and sexual beings. Biologically speaking we have a need to be close to people and for the release associated with sex. Although people have varying views, beliefs, and values regarding sex, on the most basic level it is needed for procreation. If this was our only need, however, we would only be having sex when we were trying to conceive, and there would not be so many sexual acts that do not lead to the possibility of pregnancy. Intimacy helps us feel close to our partner, to feel connected, and gives us pleasure. Although some people do not feel the need for sexual relationships, the majority of people do, and find that it is needed for a well rounded, satisfying relationship. Without intimacy, a couple begins to feel more and more distant from one another.
In addition to sex and sexual acts, intimacy can also include holding hands, cuddling, massage, kissing, caressing, hugging, and bathing among many others. Start out slow and incorporate intimate behaviors in your relationship in order to feel connected with your spouse again!