Relationships usually begin with some major fireworks. In the early stages of falling in love, couples tend to to have a connection that is red hot. However, as relationships mature and settle into the routine of married life, it can be easy to lose the spark that initially drew you to each other.
With researchers estimating that as many as 50% of marriages will eventually end in divorce, it’s important for married couples to safeguard their relationship by making a sustained effort to keep the spark alive. Maintaining a sizzling connection with your partner is one of the keys to a happy marriage. After all, who doesn’t want to be in a passionate, connected, sexy marriage?
However, sometimes rekindling your spark can feel like it’s easier said than done -- especially when you don’t know where to start. With that in mind, we reached out to some of the top sex and relationships experts in the industry and asked them to share with us everything they know about the secrets to creating and maintaining a sexy marriage. Here’s what they had to say:
Is technology keeping you connected to the outside world, but disconnected from your partner? If so, you’re not alone. As people become more dependent on and attached to technology like smartphones and laptops, it can be hard for couples to remember to unplug and spend time together without any distractions. This can seriously affect the level of intimacy in a marriage. According to one study, approximately 22% of couples report bringing phones and laptops to bed to surf the Internet, making it that much harder for couples to foster a sexy marriage.
Rebecca Wong, relationship therapist and creator of connectfulness.com, explains, “Many couples want to get back those early days. The desire, the romance, the love affair, the heat: it’s the stuff that movies are made of.” However, recapturing the kind of sizzle you feel in a new relationship requires a focused effort on the part of both partners -- and too often technology gets in the way.
“You have to disconnect to connect,” Wong continues, “This is a very real and modern dilemma for couples. We are all are overly connected (and dare I say addicted) to media, social media, entertainment, and technology. All this connection can end up stealing away the energy and time of couples who should be spending that time connecting with one another.”
For couples who want to feel the spark again, Wong recommends setting aside some technology-free time to spend alone. She explains, “You can’t feel the spark without the time to settle in and tune in to one another.” So if you want to maintain a sex marraige, put your phone on silent, power down your laptop, and spend some time connecting to your partner, analog style.
In the day to day flow of our busy lives it can be easy to lose focus of what’s truly important. One of the best things about being married is the comfort that comes from knowing that you have your partner there by your side to share your life with. However, that sense of security can easily lead to taking your partner for granted when you don’t set aside time to stay in tune and connected.
According to marriage therapist and relationship therapist Esther Boykin, “The secret to keeping the spark alive in a marriage is not in the grand gestures that happen occasionally but the small daily moments connection. The most important thing any couple can do to make those moments count is be intentional. Each day ask yourself what you can do to show affection and kindness toward your spouse -- then do it.”
There are lots of small things that couples can do on a daily basis that can help them maintain a sexy marriage.
“Some of my favorite ways that couples keep their connection strong is through daily rituals of connection. That could be sharing morning coffee before work, a mid-day text message, or an evening routine of snuggling on the couch to reconnect from the day. Even something as simple as making a conscious effort to kiss and hug before you leave each other every day can make a huge difference in the quality of your intimacy over time.”
However, for many couples who have fallen out of a routine that encourages connection or whose schedules are very different, it can be harder to find the time to develop a sexy marriage. If that’s the case, you may need to schedule the time. Boykin suggests, “If you are feeling out of sync with each other consider setting a daily reminder on your phone or calendar to take 5-10 minutes twice a day to reach out to each other with love and affection.”
As most married couples can tell you, one of the most important aspects of a couple’s level of physical intimacy is their level of emotional intimacy. The more you’re connecting emotionally, the more likely both partners are to want to take that sense of connection to the bedroom. However, if you are focusing too much of your emotional energy on other people, it can cause a rift between you and your partner.
That’s why it’s important for couples to make a point of turning to each other for emotional support first, instead of relying on people outside of their relationship. Samantha Ettus emphasizes to couples that they should stay emotionally connected so that they remain each other’s “first call” whenever they get good or bad news. Ettus explains, “When you go days without this, you lose your connection and start relying on relationships outside of your marriage” -- something that can cause a major strain on your relationship.
A sexy marriage is one that manages to keep alive the spark and excitement of the early days of dating. What better way to recapture that feeling than by dating your spouse? As Samantha Ettus, best-selling author and work/life wellness expert explains, “A sexy marriage needs date nights like a car needs gas, so make them a priority no matter how busy you get.”
However, if your plan for date night amounts to “Netflix and chill”, you may want to think again. Ettus explains, “Sitting on your couch and watching TV doesn’t count as a date. Date nights are about getting a little dressed up for each other, making an effort to plan (take turns!) and once there, it is about enjoying each other.”
You have the whole rest of the week to talk about the minutiae of your day-to-day lives. On date night it’s important to let all of that go and focus on each other. “No bills or kid talk at the table,” Ettus says. “This is all about the two of you reconnecting after the busy week. And remember, half of our enjoyment of an activity is the anticipation so mark them on your calendar in advance and stick to them.”
Sometimes the key to maintaining a sexy marriage is as simple as making sure that you and your partner are hitting the sheets at the same time at night. Samantha Ettus explains, “Synchronized bedtimes are critical because when two warm bodies get in bed together at the same time, good things happen. If you go to bed at different times each night, intimacy simply doesn’t happen and it puts too much pressure on date night sex. You want to have the opportunity to connect physically all week long and synchronized bedtimes can do the trick!”
Once you’re in bed, it’s much easier for the sparks to fly. Make sure that your bedroom is a serene and sexy place that inspires you and your partner to relax and enjoy each other. Investing in things like soft and comfortable bedding, candles and mood lighting, and keeping televisions out of the bedroom will help you create a space that feels like a sensual oasis. Also be sure to keep things like toys and some quality lube nearby so that they’ll be on hand whenever the mood strikes. We can even send you a free sample of lube and a coupon for $1.00 off of a full-size bottle to help you stock up.
To maintain the emotional connection that’s necessary to foster a sexy marriage, it’s important that couples learn how to express their love and appreciation for one another in ways that work best for each of them. Debbie Carberry is a relationship coach and creator of online programs that help couples form and maintain fulfilling relationships. In her work with couples she emphasizes the importance of understanding the 5 Love Languages, a model developed by relationship expert Dr. Gary Chapman.
“The 5 Love Languages are a revolutionary way of understanding how you and those around you give and receive love,” Carberry explains. “Once you know what your own love language is, and you know what your partner’s love language is, you will be able to better give and receive love in your relationship.”
So what are the 5 Love Languages? According to Dr. Chapman’s model they are as follows:
•Words of Affirmation
•Acts of Service
Looking at this list it may be immediately obvious to you which Love Language you and your partner speak. However, if you’re not sure you can take a quick quiz to discover yours here.
Ultimately, the way that we approach relationships with other people starts with how we approach our relationship with our self. If that relationship is struggling, it’s likely that you’ll be struggling in your other relationships as well. As Carberry explains, “Sometimes successful relationships start with successful self-care. Before you look outward for the reasons you’re struggling in your relationship, look inward.”
If you’re wanting to maintain a sexy marriage, it’s important to be willing to do a thorough examination of your relationship with yourself first. “Ask yourself whether you accept yourself as you are,” Carberry recommends. “Do you have compassion for yourself? Do you spend time caring for yourself? The answers to these three questions are a great start to rewire your brain for better relationships.”
What do you think about our tips for maintaining a sexy marriage? Do you have any advice that you would like to add? Tweet us @Astroglide and tell us your thoughts.
Images are for illustrative purposes only.