Category Archives: marital satisfaction

What Blocks Intimacy?

What Blocks Intimacy?

Intimacy is important in relationships, and I am not just talking about sex. I am talking about the sense of emotional vulnerability and connection to your partner. But when our relationships are struggling, it can be hard to find that connection. You might not even fight often, but you feel yourself drifting apart. And when you try, nothing seems to come as easy for the two of you as it used to. There are certain things in life that just put up walls that block intimacy. So, what are some of the walls and the sacrifices that you have to make to get past them?

You Are Too Busy

Life is hectic. Sometimes I feel like a broken record on this point. It comes up with so many couples that I work with and so many articles I write. Life just does not set us up to have a lot of disposable time. There is a very simple, cliché way to fix this problem. Be intentional with your time. If you just go with the flow of life, there will never be time to connect. That is why it is important to make time for your relationship.

While that cliché is true, it does not play out in a clouds and butterflies type of way in real life. You have to make sacrifices in order to be intentional with your time. This will mean that you have some very difficult decisions. It could mean that you do not get to devote as much time to that hobby that you love. It could also mean that you need to make sacrifices at work, maybe even costing you career advancement opportunities. If your relationship is going to be your number one priority, that means something will have to get moved to number two.

Substances Can Get in the Way

First thing, I am not talking about substance use that rises to the level of addiction. That would be a separate post all together. I am only talking about use which has an effect on your relationship. Second thing, I do not want this to be read as a moral statement against alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs. Live your life, I am just writing about how I have seen this block intimacy in couples.
I have seen this be the biggest hurdle for couples when one uses, drinks, or smokes and the other does not. And research backs that up. I do not want to get too into the weeds (pun intended) about why this is. But in simple terms, intimacy is about vulnerable sharing and responsiveness from your partner. If one partner is in an altered state consistently, they will not be as responsive. Then the other partner will stop sharing, and you start drifting apart.

You Spend Too Much Time with Other People

This goes back to the first point, but intimacy gets blocked when one partner feels they are not important to the other. You might think of affairs and infidelity, but I am really just talking about the relationships in your life that take priority over your partner. Safety is another key part of intimacy. When I fall, do I feel like my partner will catch me no matter what? If I feel like I am the second or third most important person in my partner’s life, the answer is probably “no.”
If you are currently looking for ways to deepen intimacy with your partner The Marriage & Family Clinic can help.

About the Author

Ryan Hicks is a licensed therapist and marriage counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in working with couples in high conflict and working with couples in the LGBTQ community. When he’s not working with couples, you’ll find him rock climbing or taking in the great outdoors of Colorado.

The Importance of Validation in Your Relationship

The Importance of Validation in Your Relationship

When your partner comes to you about a frustration, do you find yourself trying to fix their problem?  Does this result in them becoming frustrated with you?  You were just trying to help, so why did you receive such a negative response?  If this pattern feels familiar, your partner is likely looking for validation rather… Continue Reading

Start Your Year With an Early Spring Cleaning in Your Marriage

Start Your Year With an Early Spring Cleaning in Your Marriage

New year, new life! isn’t the expectation? We make plans for what we want to change and what we want to keep for the new year. When spring time is about to start we get energized to clean up the clutter in our lives. Also because no one wants to do anything in the winter.… Continue Reading

Healthy Boundaries = Healthy Marriages; How to set Boundaries with Parents and In-Laws

Healthy Boundaries = Healthy Marriages; How to set Boundaries with Parents and In-Laws

Hollywood is great about making “crazy family” movies where family members interfere in each other’s lives. It is funny to watch – if you are not in their shoes. But if your first thought when you see these movies is “Oh, I feel your pain”, then this article is for you. From career choices to… Continue Reading

We Don’t Spend Time Together Anymore

We Don’t Spend Time Together Anymore

In my practice I often hear emotionally exhausted couples express how little time they have for date nights or even to practice healthy communication skills (aka talk). There is always a soccer practice, a dirty house or work commitments in the way of couples spending quality time together. What most people don’t realize is that… Continue Reading

Book Review: Happy Wives Club

In a day when divorce rates are near 50%, folks in marriages need all the help they can get. There are lots of web sites out there about the quirky idiosyncrasies of marriage. And there are plenty of ‘bitter bloggers’ out there who have an ax to grind about their divorce or their deteriorating marriage.… Continue Reading

How Do You Keep The Man Of Your Dreams?

Now That You’ve Found The Man Of Your Dreams, How Do You Keep Him? Recently everyone’s favorite ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist preacher with a nationally syndicated television show, Pat Robertson, made headlines with a bit of advice he gave a caller on his show. The woman was upset that her husband was cheating  on her and… Continue Reading

Relationship Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Too many couples miss signs that their relationship is in trouble. They go on thinking that they’re just going through a phase in the relationship and that it will end soon enough. The worst part about this is that don’t realize how bad things really are until it’s too late – until there’s been irreparable… Continue Reading

How to Make a Budget Work for Your Marriage

How to Make a Budget Work for Your Marriage

A while ago I had the opportunity to give a webinar for a financial company that teaches everyday people real world investing and practical investing strategies. I was asked to guest present on decision making in uncertain times. It was a great presentation with a great audience. During the webinar I was asked several questions from… Continue Reading