High benefits of marital intimacy
Marital intimacy is the closeness of your union with your partner; this could be physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, or sexual. Intimacy on its own is not an end goal: rather, it is a journey that stays through eternity in your wedlock.
Marriage and family researcher Schaefer and Olson, describe intimacy as ‘’a process that occurs over time and is never completed or fully accomplished’’.
For as you both grow and develop, each of you changes; and if you neglect intimacy in your matrimony, both of you will definitely grow apart. Therefore, the time to be intimate is now.
Most times, when people hear the word intimacy, what comes to mind is sexual relationships, forgetting that intimacy goes beyond physical to emotional closeness.
As humans, couples are naturally wired to connect, this means that there is a biological need to bond with people.
As babies, we crave to connect to our parents for warmth, food, security and love. When these needs get met, bonds of closeness known as attachment is formed. Whereas, on the other hand, when parents are not available to meet their children’s needs, the children will feel anxious and insecure about asking for help.
The above scenario follows us into adulthood and to romantic affairs. In other words, when partners respond with love, make themselves available for one another, they grow closer together.
Aside this, building a close relationship actually allows you to share intimate stuffs with your loved one, especially, during stressful times.
Studies show that marriage offers quite a number of advantages, according to Olson and Olson, ‘’Married people tend to be healthier, live longer, have more wealth and economic assets and have more satisfying sexual relationships than singles or cohabiting individuals.
In addition, children normally do better emotionally and academically when they are raised in two-parent families’’.
The physical benefits have been widely supported by researchers as several recent studies for instance, found heart benefits are particularly dramatic for men. At Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, researchers assessing the marital intimacy of 10,000 couples asked the husbands:
‘’Does your wife show you her love?’’ The husbands who answered “yes” reported having significantly less chest pain within the next five years, than men who answered no. In another study of 119men and 40 men, Yale scientists found that husbands who reported feeling loved and supported by their wives, had less artery blockage than those who did not.
However, intimacy means different thing to different men and women. ‘’All human beings have the basic needs to be intimate and close with another person’’. Women are most often portrayed as having the emotional desire, while men are seen as only having a desire for sexual intimacy.
Mental health is very important for couples with healthy intimacy.
According to some researchers, ‘’love is the one force that is capable of easing depression’’.
Being physically and emotionally close are very vital and healthy areas of any good relationship. What is more, this intimacy can lead to several benefits, some of which are listed below:
Intimacy helps in reducing stress. Studies have proved that chronic stress can have a huge negative effect on the body, including insomnia, muscle pain, cardiac events, weakened immune system and irritable bowel syndrome.
Luckily, intimate relationships help to reduce stress by allowing couples to act as a buffer for stressful events.
It can help to counter loneliness and reduce the risk of mortality. Recent studies have linked social isolation [essentially a lack of intimacy] with increased morbidity and mortality.
Also, some studies have found that in addition to higher mortality, loneliness can equally affect our thinking, sleeping pattern as well as mental and physical well-being. Note that staying close to your significant other, could help in reducing your social isolation and feelings of loneliness.
Emotional intimacy can assist in leading better sex life in marriage. This also has health advantages. Your ability to be open and willing to listen to one another’s needs, will actually give a boost to your sexual intimacy. This produces oxytocin – the cuddle hormone which in turn, brings you closer to your spouse.
Being intimate with your lover can lessen the feelings of anxiety and depression. This is because sexual intimacy with your partner releases a burst of hormones that will improve mental well-being.
Note however, that sex is not the only means to trigger the release of the feel-good hormone- oxytocin.
Studies have proved that sharing an intimate act of decision making, or even simple touch from your loved one, changes your brain chemistry and your oxytocin levels including the ones that help to defend against the negative effects of stress.
Intimacy and emotional support help to strengthen couples.
Having a chat with a close, empathetic spouse could be comforting in times of challenge. Your knitted bonds can act as emotional barrier to stress, and provide you with security when feeling vulnerable. On the other hand, emotional insensitivity occurs in marriage and this often can cause exacerbating pain.
Being emotionally and physically close to your partner, does a whole lot of good. You can indulge in the following suggestions if interested in increasing intimacy in your marital life.
-Try as much as possible to be open and honest with one another. The foundation of any successful marriage is built on close relationship of trust and openness. Therefore, it’s vital for you to share the details of your life with your spouse, bad or good. Your being authentic will aid in having a closer connection as a couple.
-Intimacy as you know, takes time. You have to spend time together and get to know each other if you want to be close. Invest time in getting to know each other’s wants, needs, hopes and goals. Get to put your digital device aside.
Instead, share with one another face to face by spending electronic-free, quality time with yourselves will be worth it. Be accepting of your spouse and open to learning.
Dr Gottman, a nationally recognized marriage therapist says: it’s important to be a friend to your spouse and accept them with their mistakes and weaknesses. You’re also open to learning from your partner. Show more empathy and understanding. This will definitely increase that emotional intimacy as you get to accept your mates’ bids for connection.
Gottman also talks about how important it is to turn toward your spouse as an anchor, which reinforces those bonds of closeness. When you respond to your spouse with interest and enthusiasm in small, everyday moments, you build up an ‘’emotional bank account’’ that helps the union weather conflicts.
So, connecting with others can really be a huge health benefit and comfort. Get started on working on your intimacy right away.