Many wives share with me that when they feel disconnected from their husbands, it is quite upsetting and disheartening. As a marriage therapist, I really understand this. But, the truth is, in most marriages couples struggle to maintain a connection with each other, especially after being married for many years.
Some spouses report they feel more connected during and after sex, while others say they need emotional connection as a precursor to sex.
Whatever path is right for you, if you have been feeling disconnected from your husband and want to improve that connection, there are practical steps that can help.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
The first step to reducing the disconnection you feel from your husband is to be honest about how you feel. Many people try to avoid difficult or strong emotions and try and “keep the peace”. Unfortunately, overtime this leads to resentment and frustration and can cause a wider emotional gap between you.
If you feel comfortable talking about your feelings, it’s important to be honest about what is bothering you. This simple act of making time to talk to each other can go a long way towards bringing you closer together.
If, however, your couples communication style needs improvement, because it’s either too challenging to talk about, or your conversations regularly become a battle ground, you can begin by simply acknowledging how you feel. Being honest that something feels off or simply not how you wish it was is a good first step.
Then, you can take the next steps to explore what’s underneath your feelings together.
Manage Your Stressors (All Of Them)
Stress of any kind can impact your marriage. Unfortunately, our brains and bodies are not designed to handle the long term stress that is present in our lives today.
Our nervous systems was designed to deal with short term stress such as a car almost hitting you as you cross the road. Your heart rate increases, you react, then it gradually returns to baseline.
Household and work stress that drags on for hours, days, and months create a significant toll that can impact your mood, decrease your sexual desire for each other, and ultimately lead to a feeling of being disconnected from your husband or wife.
Stress also has a significant impact on sexual arousal and performance. Managing your stress through exercise, therapy, nutrition, and other coping skills will help you feel sexier and more attuned to your spouse. All of that happens simply because your nervous system is in a relaxed and peaceful state.
Plan Quality Time With Each Other
One of the best ways to rekindle romantic chemistry is to let it evolve organically while also nurturing it.
Think back on when you first met. What activities do you enjoy doing together? What experiences made you feel connected with each other?
Couples often have more daily physical contact at the beginning of the relationship than they do when work, kids and other responsibilities interfere.
Consider spending more naked time together without the pressure to have sex. Hug, walking around the neighborhood holding hands, or even randomly kiss each other throughout the day. Most couples know the formula that created a strong bond when they first met, but after years of being together the distractions that come from life cause us to forget.
Make a list of the reasons you got married. How did you fall in love with each other? What was your story? Use those peak experiences in your life as a model to build renewed connection with your husband and partner.
Focus On Pleasure Over Performance
Many couples get stuck on the end goal (actually having sex) and lose sight of the journey they enjoy along the way. This “focused” look at sex itself as the most important part of the act can unfortunately sabotage the connection with each other.
I often teach couples to focus on pleasure instead of performance. Go on a date, laugh together, and if a car splashes you with water as it drives by, you can laugh it off together and keep moving forward.
Similarly, if a couples puts pressure on their sex life, it is likely to decrease the pleasure of the experience. Approximately 20% of sexual encounters of happily married couples are underwhelming. In marriages with high stress, that percentage increases.
Hoping for a perfect sex life is unrealistic and puts far too much pressure on each other to perform in the bedroom. Instead, enjoy the time together. Kiss, touch, rub, and be playful.
Couples that understand pleasure comes from the experience and not just the orgasm have consistently great satisfaction in their sexual and emotional intimacy both in, and outside, the bedroom.
Respect Your Feelings If You Need Some Time Before You're Ready To Connect With Your Husband
It’s okay to want private time by yourself or to feel like you don’t want to be touched by anyone regardless of what is expected to come from it.
Parents with young kids often talk about feeling “touched-out” by the end of the day. That means that even if your partner wants to hug and kiss at the end of the day, you might need some time to yourself first.
If that’s what you’re feeling, speak up for yourself. That is the key. If you say react by saying “don’t touch me!” this will create a negative feeling for both of you.
Instead, share your feelings and what you want.
For example, “I’m feeling overly touched right now, and I’d like to take a shower and read my book for a few minutes in quiet before you and I reconnect.” That creates a clear and positive intention between you and your partner that is far more likely to build an emotional connection.
Repairing an emotional connection with your spouse takes time, empathy, and patience. Many couples forget that they once were strangers and had to find a way to connect with each other. Consider what has worked in the past and reintroduce those strategies.
If you still feel disconnected from your husband, then it might be time for professional support. Use the link below to learn how couples counseling and marriage therapy can help improve your connection and closeness with each other once again.