Being married takes a lot of hard work.
In fact, building a marriage and making it work take constant and intentional effort from both spouses. However, be encouraged! The fruit of that labor is extremely fulfilling and will be reflected in all aspects of your life, especially in your children and family life.
Like building anything, a marriage is about building firm and solid connections that lasts.
There are four states that constitute our wellbeing, namely, our Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual states. As spouses, building and affirming these four states every opportunity we get strengthens our connections with each other.
The Physical State
My husband is a very touchy-feely kinda guy. He needs his morning hugs from the whole family every day – the biggest, tightest and longest hug comes from me naturally =). And so, we have a morning practice that creates a physical connection, which feeds my husband’s need. We may touch and caress each other throughout the day, but (almost) nothing beats starting your day with giant bear hugs! *wink*wink* on the “almost”
The Intellectual State
Because we are living in a more advanced and increasingly complex world, the need to be intellectually stimulated has become essential. As spouses, we want to ensure the conversations we have stimulate each other in a way that we know we’re on the same page in life.
For my husband and I, when we talk or share about our day, it’s about building a connection of trust because we’re seeking validation, counsel, understanding, and perspective from one another. Within these conversations, we’re still learning to know each other even better on how we see, think, perceive, feel about issues, and what our beliefs, values, and convictions are.
The Emotional State
Of the four states, the emotional state covers and overlaps multiple areas because we are emotional beings. For instance, if the physical state is not met, we are emotionally affected because we would feel a sense of distance without the physical touch. If the intellectual state is not met, the emotional part of us is impacted because we may be made to feel unneeded. If our spiritual needs are not met, we may feel a loss in direction or purpose in life.
Therefore, it is important to build or deposit more positive words in a marriage with words of encouragement and affirmation, empathy, and love than negative words.
The reality is that we do get angry, frustrated, or impatient with our spouse at times. However, ensuring that we talk and share about why we feel the way we do, or what triggered us, helps build more connections with our spouse to understand where we are coming from and thus have a greater compassion for why we feel the way we do.
It is also extremely necessary to cultivate a positive thought life because thoughts emerge before speech and emotions. When we can think in a good and positive manner, our speech and actions will (quite naturally) follow suit.
The Spiritual State
Finally, the spiritual state determines the state of your soul. For those who have a faith, there is an innate need to build a personal connection with God on an individual basis, then closely followed by a similar connection with their spouse. If husband and wife are of the same faith, then their marriage and family are built in accordance to the same beliefs, principles and values. For agnostics or atheists, volunteering at the same NGOs or any form of community works, can definitely build bonds of togetherness because of common passions and beliefs.
We can continually build our emotional intimacy through a number of ways:
- Making conscientious effort to encourage, affirm, support and even inspire each other.
- Serving and giving of ourselves and by being (mindfully) present in our time spent together. However, we also need to respect the times when we need our “me-time” space as well, and be willing to be generous in that regard.
- Carving out couple time through simple means like taking walks, having teatime together (MCO really helps in this!), and of course, through sexual intimacy.
Everything we do starts with one small step, and from a recent FB Live Talk with Chitrah Karthigeyan, just changing one out of 10 things we do is all the start we need!
Veronica Soong is a self-proclaimed introvert with a desire to share thoughts and ideas on how to build strong and intimate marriages, and does so through her writing at Comma: Rethink Life and as a co-founder of Oasis by Comma.
She is also a certified John Maxwell Coach as well as a certified NLP (Neuro-linguistic Program) Practitioner. She pursued both, initially to be in alignment with her husband who is a Leadership Coach. However, in the process of this pursuit, it opened avenues for her to reach out to women to better understand why we are wired the way we are, and how we can unleash our potential no matter our past.
Today, intent with her husband to continually build their marriage better and stronger in their faith, they make conscious effort to spend time with one another, having open and vulnerable conversations that lift each other up, which builds a foundation for their three grown children’s character, security, well-being, and outlook of life to thrive.