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The Importance of Intimacy: How to Make Your Marriage Last

A recent study revealed a few interesting new aspects about intimacy and marriage.  A few of these developments have the potential to change the way marriage counselors – and involved spouses – think about marriages.  Specifically, how to keep them strong and healthy!

This 13-year study began in 1981, when researcher Ted Huston began following 168 newly-wed couples. By the time the study ended in 1994, 56 of the couples had divorced. In the meantime, Huston learned a whole lot about intimate relationships, causes of conflict, and how to maintain a happy marriage.

One of these findings is proving groundbreaking for marriage and family counselors.

Previously, family counselors had always believed that conflict – arguments, antagonism, and lack of respect for differences – was what eventually led to divorce.  But Huston’s research showed that loss of intimacy and affection was the factor most likely to send the relationship spiraling downwards toward divorce.  While fighting and conflict usually preceded the split, conflict was the result of lack of intimacy, not the cause.

Huston was quoted as saying, “This ought to change the way we think about the early roots of what goes wrong in marriage. The dominant approach has been to work with couples to resolve conflict, but it should focus on preserving the positive feelings.” (See “Will Your Marriage Last?” by Aviva Patz, in Psychology Today, January 2000.)

The moral of the story?

To protect and preserve your marriage, focus on maintaining intimacy and closeness with your partner.  Here are a few steps you can take to maintain the feelings of closeness that marked your relationship as newly-weds:

  • * Express your affection frequently, through hugs, kisses, cuddling, small gifts, and special favors.
  • * Communicate effectively. Share your feelings, talk through issues in the relationship, and be honest (without being hurtful). Keep your partner up-to-date on what’s happening in all areas of your life – even the little stuff.
  • * Be supportive and encouraging, so your spouse feels safe sharing his or her thoughts, feelings, and emotions, too.
  • * Find a project or hobby to enjoy together.
  • * Plan for your shared future, focusing on exciting and positive goals that you can work toward together.

Shared Couple’s Trance, a hypnosis program developed by Dr. Michele Ritterman, is a fun and easy way to explore your relationship with your partner and build intimacy. Together, you can recreate positive feelings, while discovering your own sense of safety and closeness in the relationship.

Learn more about Dr. Ritterman’s program.


  1. i bn sufrng 4rm relatnsp 4 a longtime and nt favrng me.i need a matured relatnship dat can last in marriage.i no u can offer one,a good working class lady dat can understand life.

  2. Limerence says

    I’ve been married now for 3 years. My husband was always less than amorous when we met, but he always had an excuse: his back hurt, he was tired, he was under too much stress at work, etc. etc. He promised that when whatever was wrong with him was fixed, he would be interested in having a normal physical relationship.

    Well, it’s been 3 years now, and I am still waiting. We rarely have sex, and when we do, it always seems like a chore to him. I feel painfully lonely, and touch deprived. I get a peck on the lips when he goes to work, but that’s about it. I am starting to feel very unattractive and I am ready to just give up. I’ve talked to him several times about my need for intimacy, and he just gets mad and says that I should be initiating sex. When I do, he will do the bare minimum, and he seems like he can’t wait until his “work” is over. Per his request we have to do it in the dark, and there is very little foreplay, and no talking, or noise of any kind. He will not ever try anything new, and he doesn’t shave before, so his four day growth is painful to me, and he knows it, but he doesn’t care.

    When we are in public, he will not touch me. He walks so fast that I can’t keep up with him, and if we’re in a restaurant, he will rarely make eye contact, in fact, he doesn’t notice when I try a new hair style, or outfit. It’s like living with a room mate. I am a very sensual person, and I am very willing to do anything that he would desire, but he seems to have no interest. I don’t know how long I can deny my needs. I’ve never been unfaithful, not that I think he would even care. At least he wouldn’t have to touch me. The thing is, I’m actually considered to be very attractive by other men. I still get hit on whenever I go out alone, or with friends. When I ask him if he is happy with our sex life, he gets angry.

    I just want a man who doesn’t make me beg for crumbs of attention. Shouldn’t that just come naturally if he is attractive to me?

    Dying for his touch.

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