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Help! I Feel Like My Spouse and I Are Drifting Apart: 5 Ways To Become Closer To Your Spouse

October 28, 2019

 

It’s an age-old battle.  The more years you and your spouse are married the harder it can be to feel emotionally close and intimate with them. 

 

One reason:  Over time, the  daily routine of life can cause us to take our spouse and our marriage for granted.

 

 

 

Read on for 5 surefire ways to increase closeness with your spouse.  And a little-known hormone we all possess is a key to it all.

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’.  Translation:  The more time you spend with a person the easier it becomes to feel a lack of emotional connection with that person.  This happens due to factors like the same old routine month after month and the boredom that can go with it.

 

What's a couple to do? 

 

Get your love drug levels moving and active!

  

The best way to counter lack of connection with your spouse is to do enjoyable activities with them.  I'm talking about activities that involve the two of you in an interactive, intentional way.  These activities should involve eye contact, conversation and physical interaction in some form.

 

In turn, these activities will increase each of your levels of a hormone called Oxytocin. 

 

 

The Importance of Oxytocin on Relationship Quality

 

Oxytocin (pronounced Ox-see-toe-sin) is a hormone produced in both, men and women.  It has been found to play an important role in determining our levels of stress, anxiety, and ability to relax. 

 

Just as important, Oxytocin increases feelings of closeness and bonding in married couples.  It also increases levels of partner trust, and has a positive effect on a couple’s sex life.

 

No wonder this hormone is nicknamed the “love drug”!

 

Below are 5 couple activities that have been scientifically proven to increase Oxytocin levels and strengthen the bond between husband and wife.

 

Volunteer Together

 

Couples who volunteer together for good causes enjoy several positive effects on their marriage.

 

Relationship researchers have found that couples who volunteer together have higher levels of oxytocin, compared to couple who do not.  In turn, higher oxytocin levels in these couples is also associated with lower levels of stress, and those couples with the lowest stress levels tended to also experience the lowest levels of physical illness, compared to non-volunteering couples.  [1]

 

Even more important from a marriage standpoint, research has found that couples who volunteer together experience lower levels of divorce compared to couples who did not volunteer together. [2]

 

These studies make a strong case to volunteer with your spouse.

 

 

Travel Together

 

Couples who travel together tend to be more satisfied with their marriage than couples who do not.  When 1,100 adults were asked about their travel habits along with the quality of their marriage, over 80% of couples who traveled and took vacations together said that the romance was still alive in their marriage. [3]

 

The lead researcher of this study summarized the findings, saying, "Couples who take time to vacation alone together at least once each year report happier, healthier relationships overall compared to those who do not travel as couples"

 

Taking a vacation together allows couples to focus on one another instead of work, kids, and other routine domestic matters.  Having time to focus on one another and the relationship leads to opportunity for greater intimacy during this time, which increases oxytocin levels.

 

 

Work Out Together

 

Working out with your spouse can improve your relationship.  A number of studies support this fact. [4]  

 

Couples who engaging in physical activity together report feeling more satisfied with their relationship and more in love with their partner, compared to couples who do not.  [4].

 

One reason for this is exercise (you guessed it) raises oxytocin levels, even more so when you exercise together as a couple.

 

Note:  “Working out” is not limited to the gym.  Physical activity can include taking a Zumba class together, riding bikes, or even taking a brisk walk together.

 

 

Have Sex

 

Sex is the ‘glue’ of a relationship. as it bonds people together at both the physical and emotional level.  Again, Oxytocin plays a key role in this.

 

Having sex produces higher levels of Oxytocin -  possibly more than any other activity a couple can share together.  Researchers at Florida State found that high levels of sex-related Oxytocin makes us feel strongly emotionally bonded and close to our spouse.  [5]

 

The same study found that higher sexual frequency was also associated with higher levels of marital satisfaction.

 

 

Talk and Touch After Sex

 

Couples who talk after sex tend to have a higher level of marital satisfaction and closeness compared to couple who did not.  [6]

 

Once again, we can thank our friend, Oxytocin for this.  It is an interesting chain-of-events.

 

  • Sex produces Oxytocin

  • Oxytocin causes us to feel more close to our spouse

  • Feeling closer to our spouse causes us to open up and talk on a deeper level

  • Deeper level talk increases our bond with one another.

 

Not every couple feels comfortable talking after sex.  An alternative is non-sexual physical contact after sex.  This kind of contact can also increase feelings of closeness and bonding between husband and wife. 

 

If you lay side by side after lovemaking make sure your bodies are touching somewhere.  For example, shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm, or hip to hip.    The point is to make non-sexual skin-to-skin contact as the two of you lay there.

Christianly Speaking

 

God created man and woman for one another.  We are created to be life-long companions, supporters and lovers of our spouse.  We are to be so emotionally close to one another that God said husband and wife are to be “one flesh.

 

The Bible says,  “…a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh  (Genesis 2:24).

 

When we don’t feel emotionally close to one another as a couple our motivation and ability to support each other is weakened.  Just as physically separation decreases our ability to physically support our spouse, emotional separation prevents us from providing the emotional support and love each of us needs.

 

Love is a verb.  The Bible tells husbands to love their wives and wives to love their husbands. 

 

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church"  (Ephesians 5:25)

 

Older woman “should encourage the younger women to love their husbands”  (Titus 2:4)

 

But love must be expressed to be useful.  Each partner must take action in order to express their love.  The expression of these loving actions will act like a relationship glue, keeping husband and wife firmly together, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The Bottom Line

 

We have looked at just a few science-backed activities you can do to become closer to your spouse. 

 

Some of these activities will work better than others for each particular couple.  Find what works best for the two of you. 


Also - there should be no pressure to try all of these.  Maybe find the best two or three that suit you as a couple and try and do them regularly.  Then, you might rotate through the remaining activities throughout the year, as you get the opportunity.

 

And of course - Come up with your own!

 

Just DO SOMETHING to keep the two of you bonded. 

 

Doing Nothing Will Change Nothing!

 

The bottom line is as long as the two of you are making a conscious effort to spend meaningful time together, you will likely improve the connection you have.

 

And yes, ladies, you may have to take the initiative in this project.  Again, even if you resent your husband not working on your relationship, he will benefit and enjoy the positive changes that will occur thanks to you.

 

 

For the Family,

 

  --dr. bill

 

 

www.mightyfamily.org

 

 

Before You Go

 

Thank you for reading this article.

 

Can I ask a personal favor?

 

Without your help this article will disappear from FaceBook about as quickly as it appeared.  The result is very few people will have the chance to read it.

 

There are many marriages, families, and parents all around us who are struggling and need to hear these words of encouragement and guidance.

 

So, please, help me get this message out.

 

A simple ‘share’ on your part may make all the difference in helping someone become a better spouse, parent, or person.

 

Thank you so much!

 

References

 

1:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0018506X13000202

 

2:  https://www.newsweek.com/how-be-happy-volunteer-and-stay-married-new-us-study-shows-663209

 

3:  https://www.ustravel.org/press/valentines-survey-finds-traveling-together-strengthens-relationships

 

4.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201401/5-reasons-why-couples-who-sweat-together-stay-together

 

5.  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797617691361

 

6.  https://today.uconn.edu/2013/12/the-science-of-pillow-talk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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