This is part 1 of a 2 part series that shares 10 ways to go from being mere roommates to having a red hot marriage.
We’ll be discussing small changes that go a long way in increasing the depth of your connection and the excitement in your marriage.
This post is for you, if you and your spouse are good “business” partners but you’re starving for something more.
Let me guess:
You run a good household together.
You share values about how you raise your kids, and other things too.
You can communicate about your roles effectively.
You don’t even argue all that much!
But something is clearly missing.
Maybe you have your romantic moments, but you want something deeper, something more passionate, something more connected, and something more fulfilling.
In today’s post we’ll start with 5 ways to go from roommates to red hot marriage, and next week we’ll share the next 5.
Here are the first 5 tips to create a red hot marriage:
1.) Intend It Together
If you’re already good business partners as far as family goes, that means that you can set goals and achieve them together.
Having a more fulfilling marriage can also be a shared goal.
Set the intention of deepening your relationship and making things more exciting together.
I know it may not sound romantic to set goals to have a more exciting marriage, but it will definitely help if you intend together to add more depth, connection and spark in your relationship.
The problem for so many couples is that they get stuck in a rut about the way things are done.
We do this enough as individuals, and when you have a system that comprises two people, it can be even harder to get out of these ruts.
One of the tricks is simply setting the intention create a new paradigm together.
You’ll then have a smoother journey there.
The very fact that you’re desiring a hotter marriage is enough to prove its possibility.
If you can intend it together, you’ll be more open to being the couple who is way more than mere roommates.
While setting an intention is powerful in itself, to really move toward that new paradigm even faster, actually talk more together about this desire than just stating it.
Have a conversation with each other about what it will look like when you’re feeling more connected and excited about your relationship.
You may learn something new about each other and what you’re even wanting in the first place.
2.) Deepen Your Trust
Emotional connection is predicated on trust.
In a fantastic podcast interview that I share with my clients from time to time, Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, likens sex, especially for a woman, to zip lining.
When you can really trust that you’re fastened into a zip line, you can fly over the redwoods or or down the mountain or through a furniture store (like Jordan’s Furniture in Reading, Massachusetts, not even kidding), and find it thrilling.
You can let go, scream, feel exhilarated, and even do the pose like “the starfish” where you let go and spread your arms and legs out like a starfish (apparently this is a sex position too? I just Googled it).
But if you’re not securely buckled in and you go zip lining?
There’s nothing thrilling about it. Sheer terror, tension, hanging on tight, fearing for your dear life…
Can you see how trusting your partner is like trusting a zip line?
Knowing that your foundation is strong gives you the freedom to be yourself, let go of control and have fun along the way.
This is as important for a fulfilling sex life as it is for a solid relationship.
John Gottman, acclaimed relationship researcher, discusses two dimensions of trust in his book, The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement For Couples:
In other words, can I see the real you? Can I trust you to be who you say you are with me?
B.) Positive Moral Intention
In other words, can I trust you to have good motivations about me? To take care of me if I need you to? To be there for me?
One of the main questions that partners ask each other on repeat is: “Are you there for me?”
Can I trust you to be there for me?
Can I trust I matter to you?
Sue Johnson uses the acronym “A.R.E.” in her best-seller (and must read) Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, as in “A.R.E. you there for me?” to explain a healthy foundation to a significant relationship, which lines up nicely with Gottman’s two dimensions of trust.
A.R.E. stands for:
A- Accessibility – Can you reach each other? Do you feel accessible to each other, or on the contrary, do you feel lonely and shut out by your partner?
R- Responsiveness – Do you respond to each other? Or do you ignore each other at times, giving your partner the message that whatever you are doing is more important than they are to you? Do you feel like when you need reassurance, your partner is responsive to that and will give it to you?
E- Emotional Engagement – Are you emotionally engaged with each other, do you ask each other about your days? Your inner world? How you’re doing? Do you care and do you feel your partner cares?
Think about A.R.E. in your relationship and try to improve each of these elements together.
Focusing on these 3 factors will help you increase trust and improve your emotional connection.
This will deepen the strength of your foundation together and will enable you to enjoy more excitement in your marriage as a result.
What if something happened in the past that makes it hard to trust?
One trust pitfall that many couples get stuck in and rarely get out of fully without qualified help is when there have been betrayals of trust in the past.
It can be extremely hard to trust again in those situations.
Some you can recover from together, but others are not so easy, such as the case of infidelity.
There is a dangerous myth out there that time heals all wounds. It does not.
Countless partners have suffered from infidelity, which is one of the most hurtful and life altering events that can happen in one’s life.
Even if it happened 20 years ago, it’s never too late to get help.
If there are ghosts from the past present in your relationship, I urge you to exorcise them together by enlisting the help of a professional who can facilitate a healing process.
It won’t be fun and may actually cause a bit of a gulf in the short-term between the two of you, but if you really want a red hot marriage where you can trust each other on every level, don’t ignore these skeletons in your closet.
EFT is the gold standard of couples therapy as demonstrated in the research and someone trained in this approach can help you rebuild trust together.
3. Be more present when you’re present
All we have is this moment, and with so much distraction, so many things pulling us in many different directions, we are having a harder and harder time just being in it, with each other.
Cell phones are referred to as parters’ “other lover.”
Disconnect digitally from time to time so you can reconnect as a couple.
In George McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, he discusses how we no longer have much opportunity to be bored because we are chained to our devices.
Waiting for appointments or even in line used to be opportunities for our minds to wander, be bored, and therefore be creative, but now, we’re focused on our Facebook feed, Donald Trump’s latest tweet, or whatever the latest tragedy du jour is (sometimes the latter two are the same).
It involves a concerted group effort to drop the distraction.
It’s pretty common that one of you might try to break away from your habitual tendency to open your phone or device, and you’re actually present.
But then you notice your partner is plugged into something – maybe even the television – and you throw up your hands and open your phone because what’s the point if you’re going to be the only one present??
The solution is to talk about it and make a group effort.
Ban electronics certain evenings or hours of the week in the name of being present.
Plan quality time together where you’re really together.
As above, when we discussed setting an intention together, make a plan together to be more present with each other and spend more quality time together.
4. Get curious
Remember when you first met and you were completely enthralled by your partner?
You wanted to know everything about them?
Things were definitely red hot then, right?
One of the things you were in the beginning of your relationship was curious.
Curiosity requires a certain degree of openness and interest that is fundamental to having a strong partnership.
Knowing and learning about each other’s inner world is what John Gottman refers to is understanding your partner’s “love maps.”
Caring about your partner’s experience on a day to day level and on a deeper level is the kind of emotional engagement that is critical.
It’s amazing how many times I see couples who think they know each other so well, and on some levels they do, but they are surprised and sometimes shocked by their partner’s true experience.
So get curious and share that with each other.
Curiosity in itself and the gems it reveals will foster more intimacy and closeness.
It will also likely help with improving trust because you will learn more about each other.
Greater trust and intimacy will deepen your connection, and help propel you out of being mere roommates to red hot lovers.
5. Understand Your Partner’s Love Language
Speaking of getting curious…
Understand your partner’s love language.
What is a love language?
Gary Chapman is the author of a book called The Five Love Languages, which he describes as essentially the main ways people receive and express love.
These love languages are, in no particular order:
- Physical touch
- Gift giving
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Acts of service
You’ve got to understand and be fluent in each other’s primary love language.
You can see how this would be a problem if Bob and John are married, and Bob feels love primarily through physical touch and John feels love primarily through words of affirmation.
Bob is constantly touching John to express his love, but feels sad that John isn’t as physically affectionate.
Meanwhile, John feels like Bob doesn’t even appreciate him because he never tells him anything nice!
John actually believes that Bob just wants to use him for sex sometimes.
John tells Bob wonderful things about himself and is very verbal about his appreciation, but even so, Bob just feels starved for physical affection.
Clearly this is a problem for Bob and John because their signals aren’t reaching each other as they don’t share primary love languages.
Understanding this concept and learning to speak in your partner’s love language can go a long way!
Of course, understanding your partner’s love language is one way to take your relationship from mere roommates to red hot, but it stands on the shoulders of the other factors we mentioned above.
To summarize this first installment of 10 ways to go from mere roommates to having a red hot marriage, we discussed:
Setting the intention together (and actually talking about it).
Deepening your trust (getting help if you need it).
Give each other the best present: your presence (make an effort together to unplug and just be with each other).
Get curious! (Don’t assume you know everything, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by what you learn about each other).
Understand each other’s love language (and start speaking it).
Next week we’ll go over the next 5 ways to take things from mere roommates to red hot marriage.
You can check out that post here.
Got other suggestions for us?
Leave them in the comments – you never know who you’ll be helping!
Here’s to your red hot marriage,
P.S. Check out my book too.
Grab it here instantly – and start improving your connection together today!