An extended lack of physical affection is also a deeper sign of trouble.
A marriage should have a strong element of intimacy, both in out of the bedroom.
Sex is obviously important as it’s part of the bond that keeps a couple together in a romantic sense. However, intimacy also means being physically close in non-sexual ways, such as hugging, exchanging a kiss before going to work (or coming home), or putting your arms around your spouse while watching a movie at home.
It’s important to make sure you stay connected not just on an emotional level, but also on a physical one. Expressing your love through words is definitely vital to the health of your marriage, but you should also express yourself through touch. Being tactile with your partner on a consistent basis is must. There are plenty of opportunities for you to introduce touch into your daily routine, so the trick is to take advantage of these when they come up.
Find a reason to give your spouse a brief hug, hold their hand while you’re walking out in public, or give them a kiss before they head out the door. It might seem that these “little” moments don’t mean much on their own, but you have to look at the big picture – they count for a lot in the long run.
Most couples wait too long before admitting their relationship is in hot water. Try the Emotional Needs Questionaire in our latest book Reboot Your Relationship to discover each others emotional needs. Then make a few changes in your relationship to ensure your relationship stays fresh and emotionally connected.
Example: From the book’s ENQ Couple Survey
Question #1 Affection:
(the expression of love in words, cards, gifts, hugs, kisses, and courtesies; creating an environment that clearly and repeatedly expresses love)
1. Need for affection: Indicate how much you need affection by circling the appropriate number:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
I have no need I have moderate need I have a great need
How often would you like your spouse to be affectionate to you?
_______________ times each day/week/month (circle one).
If you are not shown affection by your spouse as often as you indicated above, how does it make you feel (circle the appropriate letter)?
- Very unhappy.
- Somewhat unhappy.
- Neither happy nor unhappy.
- Happy not to be shown affection.
2. Evaluation of spouse’s affection: Indicate your satisfaction with your spouse’s affection toward you by circling the appropriate number.
-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Extremely Dissatisfied Neither Extremely Satisfied
My spouse gives me (circle the appropriate letter)
- all the affection I need, and I like the way he/she does it.
- not enough affection, but when he/she does it, it is the way I like it.
- all the affection I need, but it is not the way I like it.
- not enough affection, and when he/she tries, it is not the way I like it.
Explain how your need for affection could be better satisfied in your marriage.