The marriage tip of the day is never stop dating your partner in order to have better emotional intimacy in marriage. When was the last time you went on a date? Was it a month ago? Was it three months ago? Was it a year ago? Now with COVID-19 going on dates can be even trickier because now for a lot of us our only option is doing something at home. Especially if you have kids. So have a home date if you need to. My wife and I have been experimenting with home dates, and we've done several different things lately. One night she surprised me with a midnight bike ride with flashlights on our head. Another time we had a picnic down by the creek behind her house. Another time we had a dance party in our bedroom and played darts. You have to be creative. What are some things you could do for a home date? As a reminder, you want to do four things during your dates. You want to cultivate emotional intimacy, a lot of affection, something recreational, and something sexual. If you are a female with a low libido check out my article on the top two libido boosters for women. If you do all four activities during the date, most likely you will both walk away saying that was a good time. When you were first getting to know your partner, you dated them all the time. That's all you did was date them and that made you fall in love with them and get married. But once you're married, you stop dating your partner because everything else gets your attention, such as kids, career, finances, etc. You have to start dating your partner again, to bring back the very feelings that were created from dating them in the first place.
The marriage message of the day I’m going to cover is five questions to cultivate a closer connection in your relationship.
5 questions to foster emotional intimacy in marriage
1-What are you most stressed about and why?
What you are stressed about today is different than what you were stressed about last week, a month ago, two months ago, or a year ago and likewise with your partner. A lot of times we make assumptions that we know our partner well, but we get outdated. We need to regularly ask questions to know what is going on inside of them. My wife and I went through these questions on our last date and in response to this question I said our kids. We have four kids and three of them are teenagers, which can be difficult. So, that was stressing me out that day when she asked me that question. What about you? What are you most stressed about right now in your life and why?
2-What are your biggest hopes over the next year?
We all need something to look forward to. We all need goals and something we're striving towards. One goal I'm looking forward to is trying to spread my seminar, the Total Marriage Refresh, to new cities. Right now, I do it in Colorado and in Texas, and I'm hoping to move it to California next. So, I'm viewing this next year as a time to develop a strategy and a model to start spreading the seminar to more and more cities to hopefully help more and more couples. So that's something I'm hopeful about over the next year. What about you? What are you looking forward to over the next year and what about your partner?
3-What's one thing you wish we did more of together?
What is that for you? What's the one thing you wish you and your partner did more of? Maybe you wish you had more affection. Maybe you wish you had more sex because you're in a sex starved marriage. Maybe you wish you had more emotional intimacy. Maybe you wish you had more quality time together. When my wife asked me this question, I told her I wish we had more experiences together. I crave new experiences with her. And actually, that's what we did during our last date through an online virtual tour of the Roman Colosseum. The tour felt like we were there, and it satisfied some of that longing I have to experience something new together. What about you? What do you crave? What do you wish you had more of with your partner? Talk about it, ask them that question.
4-What's one change I could make to be a better partner for you?
What an amazing question! Do you realize how much you could transform your marriage if you asked your partner that on a regular basis and then did something about it? When I asked my wife this, she told me she would love for me to check in with her more throughout the day. To slow down and go up to her and check in. My wife is more introverted and can be withdrawn so she appreciates me pulling her out. Perhaps it would entail asking her some questions about her day or giving her a compliment or some affection or doing something kind. She loves all of those things and would love more of it from me throughout the day. What about you? What do you desire more of from your partner? What's one thing you wish they would do more of every day?
5-What are the top things you'd change in our life together and why?
This is a great question. This actually comes out of Solution Focused Therapy, which helps people immediately get to the solutions. One of the best interventions for Solution Focused Therapy is called the magic wand question, which is, “If you had a magic wand, what are the top three things you would change about your marriage and why?” I actually use this question when I'm working with couples during the intake appointment because it quickly helps me identify their top goals for treatment. Likewise, in your marriage, ask your partner what the top things are they’d love to change in your life together and why? This can include anything about your marriage, your finances, your kids, your workload, etc. When I asked my spouse this question, she said she wishes we could have more quality time together as a family. I agree, that's one thing I wish we could have more of as well. With four kids ranging from ages 10-17 it can be tricky finding an activity everyone enjoys doing together. So, cultivating more quality family time is a focus for us right now. What about you? What changes would you like to make in your life together and why?
These are deep questions and can take a while to answer and reflect on. But asking each other these questions during your next date is a great way to cultivate more emotional intimacy in your marriage. Also, these questions can be asked over and over every 1-2 months because the answers may be different each time!
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What other questions would you recommend to foster closer emotional intimacy?