Apr 052016 9 Responses

7 Red Flags for Dying Intimacy

If you aren’t growing, you are dying. It’s true for every aspect of a relationship, including intimacy. Before death occurs, there are warning signs. Wise couples watch for these red flags and take swift action when they see a warning.

When it comes to dying intimacy several areas form good predictors that trouble is around the corner.

7 Red Flags for Dying Intimacy:

1. A decline in non-sexual touch. When it comes to intimacy, our first thoughts are about inside the bedroom, but the first danger signs take place outside the bedroom. Non-sexual touch is a wonderful sign of the intimacy between spouses. Hand-holding, reaching out for one another rather than avoiding each other, and any instance of good touch bonds a couple together. As spouses, oftentimes subconsciously, begin to pull away from each other, the first evident sign is a decline in non-sexual touch. (See: A Touchy Subject in Marriage)

2. Avoiding eye contact. Few things are as intimate as eye contact. One of the first signs that someone is romantically interested in another is lingering eye contact. Whereas two people without emotional feelings might look one another in the eye and then look away, when interest is present, eyes linger longer. When eye contact is avoided, intimacy is declining. Be intentional about looking your spouse in the eyes; it will draw you closer to them. (See: Three Things Your Husband Needs to See)

3. An absence of playfulness. There is a direct correlation between intimacy and fun–just look at the interaction between a mother and newborn. As a mother bonds with her child, she plays games, laughs, and engages the child. Even the most mundane of tasks–eating or changing a diaper–includes playfulness. Healthy couples enjoy one another’s company. They laugh, joke, seek out fun, and try to make difficult things more enjoyable. As playfulness dwindles, so does intimacy.

4. Sex becomes a task. Good sex is an intimate act which draws two people together. It is an action, but it has a greater impact emotionally and spiritually. When sex no longer touches our soul, intimacy is dying. Not every physical connection will touch us in a deep way, but when it doesn’t ever draw us together, we are in trouble. There are moments when sex is a chore, but if it’s always a chore, something is wrong.

5. Increase in individual thinking. When intimacy is deep, a couple continually thinks from an “us” perspective. Everything is about our dreams, our desires, our goals, and our future. As intimacy declines, spouses begin to view things more individually. This change from “we” to “I” and from “us” to “me” is a sign of what is happening inside of us. Maybe we are growing apart from our spouse. Maybe we feel isolated because they aren’t carrying their weight in the relationship. It’s natural to experience seasons of isolation, but when our thoughts are dominated by our individual selves instead of one another, we must reconnect with our spouse. (See: Marry a Partner, Not a Child)

6. Conversation is all business. A key component of marriage is partnership. My spouse isn’t just my lover, she is also my partner in life. Because we are “in business” together, many of our conversations will be about work–who is taking the kids where, how are we going to pay the bills, what is happening with her job and my job, etc. While we must talk about the business side of marriage on a daily basis, we must be intentional to make sure that isn’t all we talk about. When conversation loses all content about our hearts, dreams, and aspirations, intimacy is dying. (See: Three Conversations Every Couple Should Have)

7. Turning toward others rather than spouse. When good or bad things happen, we want to tell others. We can’t help it. We naturally run toward community when things happen in our lives. In healthy couples, they turn toward one another first. Before a friend, co-worker, or confidant, spouses seek each other. When a friend replaces a spouse as our “first person,” our intimacy with our spouse is dying. (See: One Habit that Starves a Marriage)

These are 7 red flags for dying intimacy, but each flag is also an opportunity. While we should watch for these signs within our relationships, we can also take each point as an action step for building intimacy. If you want to build a closer bond with your spouse:

  • Intentionally increase non-sexual touch
  • Look one another in the eye
  • Be playful with each other
  • Attempt to make an emotional connection during sex
  • Think “we” more than “me”
  • Talk about your heart rather than your tasks
  • Make your spouse your first person

A little intention in each of these areas can greatly increase the feelings of intimacy between spouses. Dying intimacy doesn’t have to lead to a dead relationship. It can be the catalyst for relational success if a couple will recognize it and do something about it.

If you could add an 8th red flag for dying intimacy, what would it be?

9 Responses to 7 Red Flags for Dying Intimacy
  1. […] recently wrote a post on 7 Red Flags for Dying Intimacy – and what I really liked was Kevin’s en... https://thefragranceofmarriage.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/intimacy-seven-red-flags
  2. […] The Hebrew word often used in the Old Testament to describe the word sex is the word “yada.... https://www.kevinathompson.com/intimacy-far-sex

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