A fabulous relationship has many of the same attributes as a great friendship. When it’s working, you can feel the “ka-chunk” as it settles neatly into its place in the universe. There’s someone to zip your dress, give an opinion about what tie goes with that jacket, get aspirin for your headache, or laugh at your jokes. Good stuff. But what sustains a committed relationship and makes it GREAT is emotional intimacy. That’s what makes living together easy and comfortable—and why every couple should have intimacy rituals that can be practiced daily.

No, I don’t mean candles, heated massage oil, and the hot tub. Those are great for sexual intimacy. But let’s not confuse physical intimacy with emotional intimacy. You cannot rely solely on sex to provide the intimacy you need to have a great relationship. Yes, a good sex life is important, but without emotional intimacy, your relationship is likely to wither and die.

One of the most ieffective things a couple can do to stay intimate is to talk to each other. I don’t mean brief bits of conversation as you fly out the door, texting, or emailing. I mean face-to-face, sit-down-and-talk-to-me time. I realized how important this was in my own marriage when home renovations interrupted our routine. Dale is the cook in our house. While our home was being remodeled, we had no place for that. In fact, we had no kitchen at all unless an electric skillet and coffee pot count as a kitchen. Meals were eaten in front of the TV in the room that served as our den, my office, and our guest room. Then, one night, when the renovations were done, I sat for the first time in our new breakfast nook, had a glass of wine, and we chatted while Dale cooked. We realized how much we had missed that together time and how important it is to our emotional intimacy.

Now, our days start with Dale sitting in the bathroom and chatting with me while I get dressed for the office. We don’t talk about anything special. We’re just together for a

few minutes before we go our separate ways. We come back together in the evening. We don’t answer the phone and the TV is off. We talk about current events or Dale’s trip

to the grocery store where he ran into a friend, we chuckle over something cute a grandchild said, we plan a dinner party, or revisit a favorite memory. An eavesdropper would find it mundane, but for us, it’s a reconnection after being apart all day. And, here’s the good part: we continuously learn new things about each other as the free-flow conversation goes wherever it goes.

Intimacy rituals don’t have to be complicated or take a big chunk of time. They can even be part of a daily chore or event. For you, an intimacy ritual might be cooking dinner together, praying together, doing an evening crossword puzzle together, taking an evening walk, dressing together in the morning, or turning off the TV and snuggling and chatting for 20 minutes before going to sleep. One couple I know end their days by sharing with each other their favorite moments of the day so each day ends on a happy note. Nice.

Intimacy rituals are a celebration of your relationship and your togetherness. When you take a few minutes every day to consciously connect, you’ll find yourselves feeling more emotionally intimate all day long.

Author's Bio: 

Shela Dean is a nationally recognized Relationship Coach, bestselling author, speaker, and the creator of her trademarked ReDate Your Mate program designed to help all couples, regardless of the state or stage of their relationship, regain their Relationship Mojo by bringing the best of dating into their marriage. Shela helps couples have more intimacy in all areas of their life. She has an uncanny ability to make complex concepts easy to understand and even easier to apply to everyday life, and a unique blend of humor, insight, and practical meat-and-potatoes approach capped with a “cut to the chase” energy that makes it fun to embark on a self-improvement course.

Shela began studying the dynamics of personal relationships during her two-decade career as an estate and family attorney before retiring from law to begin relationship coaching in 2004. Involved with her clients over prolonged periods of time, Shela not only witnessed their lives unfold, but helped them face such challenges as the death of a child or the loss of health or wealth. Because of her long-term involvement in her clients’ lives, she found herself counseling on relationship issues almost as much as on legal matters. Since retiring from the practice of law, Shela has shared her strategies for creating better relationships through one-on-one relationship coaching, seminars, and through her book Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy(available through Shela’s website, Amazon, and other online booksellers), her eBook Frequent Foreplay Miles for the Remarried, and her ReDate Your Mate™ program. Her new book ReDate Your Mate Before It’s Too Late is currently in the works.

Shela is happily married to Dale Dean. When they’re not traveling the world, you can find them at home in Richmond, Virginia.

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