When you think of intimacy, what comes to mind? Many people attribute intimacy the physical aspect of relationships, but there are actually two kinds of intimacy—physical intimacy and emotional intimacy.

Speaking generally, men are usually more inclined to need physical intimacy before being able to become emotionally intimate, while women usually need to feel emotionally intimate before getting physical. This is not always the case, as there are men and women to whom the opposite can be said, but in a general sense, this is the pattern to expect.

If a marriage is lacking physical intimacy, it is most likely because it is also lacking emotional intimacy. Anyway you cut it, the two types of intimacies play off each other, and without one in a relationship the other will suffer.

Our partners need to feel as though they matter to us. They need to feel heard, cared for, and loved. The first step to healing a broken physical connection is finding out what our partner is missing and then working to give it to them.

For men, if your wife does not want to be physically intimate, it is because she doesn’t feel emotionally connected to you anymore. I often tell men that foreplay starts much earlier than five minutes before sex. We need to let our wives know that they are special to us and that they are cherished and loved. In this case, our actions speak louder than words.

Women, if your man isn’t interested in physical connection, it is most likely for the same reason. Your husband may feel as though he isn’t receiving enough care and affection from you outside of the bedroom. If you spend most of your time doting on the children, going out with friends, or playing around on your phone, your husband is likely to withdraw from you physically. The same can be said about nagging him or complaining about him. At that withdraw, he will be unlikely to make an effort inside of the bedroom, much less outside of it.

A lack of physical intimacy can basically be boiled down to a lack of emotional intimacy. Make sure your connection stays strong by consistently showing your partner how much they mean to you, inside and outside of the bedroom. Emotional intimacy isn’t just shared through words but small actions that prove how important someone is to us. The incorporation of such actions into your marriage may be what it needs to get physical again. 

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