Often in our work with Integrity Restored, and our Betrayal Trauma Program for spouses affected by their husband’s pornography struggle ( Bloom for Catholic Women), we hear real confusion and anxiety around the topic of intimacy. Too often in today’s hypersexualized world, we confuse intimacy with sex. Intimacy is much more than that and is a pre-requisite for God’s plan for sex. For a couple on a healing journey from pornography and betrayal trauma, sex is not the most important form of intimacy, especially early in the healing process. In fact, many times it is necessary for the couple to take a break from sex in order to work on their healing. But that doesn’t mean we can or should abandon other forms of intimacy. Quite the opposite, we should be working daily on building these other forms of intimacy as we are able in our healing journey.
Here are 6 quick ways to work on intimacy together:
- Praying one of the most intimate things we can do as a couple is inviting God into our lives together. Often, we pray individually daily, but how many of us pray together as a couple consistently? It has been said that marriage is 3 not 2- Husband, Wife, and God. If we want our fractures to heal, we must invite the Divine Physician into our lives together. Set aside a time each day to pray together for each other and for your marriage.
- Sharing this can be powerful, but each person needs to share one thing about their day, each day and decide on what activities they will share together. Whatever shares a piece of who you are with the other – painting, music, reading, etc… meaningful things/activities.
- Be kind to each other in ways that are just for the two of you. This can be hard early in the recovery process when wounds are fresh and shame and guilt are at play, but make a conscious effort to do the little things right and the bigger things follow. Hold the door for your wife, cook a special meal for your husband. It may seem like a minor thing, but it demonstrates the respect and care you have for each other.
- Touch sexual touch can be off-limits, but nonsexual touch can be very healing. Walk around the block holding hands, sit on the couch with your arms around each other. As humans we crave touch, make it healing, and non-sexual.
- Exercise one of the best ways for a couple to connect and stay healthy is to work out together. If that means jogging or going to the gym, do it together, a strong healthy body will help you with the recovery journey.
- Give Thanks Every night, express gratitude for one thing your partner did that day — no matter how small the act
In all things look for God’s help, mercy, and healing and know that you are not alone. For more information check out www.bloomforcatholicwomen.com