Podcast episode 34 Ultimate Intimacy with Monica Tanner
When I was 12 years old, my parents got a divorce and I became immediately obsessed with what makes a marriage strong and lasting.
As a 12 year old, I literally used to go around and observe my friend’s parents who were married and I was like “okay what are the secrets here? What keeps a couple strong and lasting in marriage?”
I studied it in college, sociology and child development and family studies with the intention of of going into social work and really working with couples and families. But before I could actually start graduate school, I met my prince charming and we got married and we started this life together. I thought, well I’ve studied it, I’m super ready. I know what makes a marriage strong and lasting. However, once the honeymoon phase was over and the responsibilities of real life started to settle in, we started having kids and we built a business together and it just got a little bit crazy… And even though I knew all of these things about marriage because I had been studying it formally for so long, that did not protect us from the real intimacy challenges that come to all couples.
I have been married now for 20 years and we have four kids and two businesses, I now ask the question:
What makes a marriage strong and lasting, joyful, passionate and fulfilling?
It’s not just enough to just stay married or to make it work for the sake of the kids or whatever… we want a marriage that’s passionate, fulfilling and inspires both of us to become the best version of ourselves where we can share the very most innermost intimate details of our lives and our development, and who we are, and who are becoming in the dreams that we want to achieve, right? All of the things.
That’s when we really start talking about intimacy, both emotional and physical and sexual because I honestly don’t believe that you can have this passionate, amazing, exciting, fulfilling, wonderful marriage without all of those parts of intimacy working together.
The most important part is the implementation part and I think a lot of couples out there maybe they don’t know what to do, or how to get to that point in their marriage.
The real secret to the soaring part is deep intimacy.
The deeper we can actually take intimacy of all kinds, when when I say intimacy I don’t just mean sex, because a lot of people go right to that…
it’s emotional, physical, spiritual, recreational, it’s all the kinds of intimacy that deepen when you go from the boring to the soaring intimacy in your marriage.
I think that it’s really important to experience the boring, and I think all couples get to that point in some way and it’s most important to be able to recognize that and and say we want more. We don’t want to just settle for roommate syndrome for this transactional partnership that a lot of people just kind of, especially in society just deal with or get use to in marriage.
We all settle into routines, right? The most important thing you can do in your marriage is to both agree that you don’t want to settle in marriage and just deal with each other for the kids sake, or financial sake, that you both want to have an amazing marriage that is full of passion, love and excitement, and that you are both willing to work towards that. At one point in your marriage you will have to make a choice: We can either just settle in and just make this work or we can really gain the tools and the strategies and the frameworks and commit ourselves to prioritize this marriage in this relationship and make it something amazing!
What are the tools to get your sex life and intimacy to a “soaring” place?
Number one would be the commitment and realizing that nothing worth having is ever easy. Right? Just first commit to that, like we want this marriage to mean more, so we’re going to prioritize it. So number one is just prioritizing the relationship, prioritizing the marriage, even though you’re busy with young kids or your careers, whatever stage of marriage that you’re in.
Even though things are busy and even though there’s lots of these outside things that could potentially take all of our attention and focus, deciding that we are going to make our marriage and our relationship the most important thing is key. We’re going to prioritize our marriage above all else. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t spend time doing all those other things. It’s never going to be equal, right? But there are ways to certainly prioritize your marriage even in the busiest seasons of life.
It is life changing when you both realize that you don’t want a mediocre marriage and are both willing to do whatever is necessary to make your marriage amazing!
We decided that we were going to let our kids know that our marriage is the most important thing, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important, but we started letting our kids know that every Friday we’re going on date night and nothing is going to get in the way of that! That we’re going to do certain things to put our marriage first. I really believe our kids lives have been blessed by seeing how we treat each other and how our marriage truly does come first and I think that’s going to benefit them in the future when they get married as well.
We’re going to make all kinds of mistakes as moms and dads because you know, we don’t know what we’re doing most of the time, right? But the absolute best thing we can do for our kids is to model for them, healthy thriving relationship and that is by putting each other first and letting them know, we love each other. Your love story started with the two of you, you brought kids into it, which is fantastic and so important… but if you do it right, those kids are going to grow up and they’re going to leave and they’re going to start their own story and it’s going to be the two of you again. So the most important thing you can do for those kids is to model for them, that healthy thriving relationships that they can model, but it also gives them a lot of security and strength and comfort when they’re in your home to know that you prioritize each other even over them.
Weekly Date nights are so important!
I would say is one of the most important things is a non-negotiable, weekly date night. This does NOT mean an elaborate, have to go out to dinner date night, this means you are putting each other first on the calendar every single week for three hours to do whatever you want. Just to spend quality time with each other. There are 168 hours a week and all you need to do is put three on the calendar for the two of you. That is not too much to ask if you want a great marriage.
This is a huge protection and guard against disconnection in that roommate syndrome.
Date night doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be elaborate or far from home. It doesn’t have to take a ton of energy. As long as we are not always talking about the kids and the finances and the things that stress us out, we’re bringing our best energy to date night and talking about each other and our life together and the things that bring the romance. (Not that talking about your kids is bad, but it is important to talk about the two of you once in a while.) Talk about the dating years, the things you love about each other, the things you look forward to as a couple. Talk about sex, intimacy, how to connect deeper and what each other desires. Talk about sexual things and the fun it brings or can bring into your marriage. Flirt with each other, talk about your favorite memories together. Date night should always be anticipated and fun.
You get to spend this time getting to know and appreciate this human that you’ve decided to spend your whole life with. You can build anticipation and you can bring that flirty, giddy energy to date night. You can just be excited to get to know them all over again each week and what they’re excited about!
Using tools like the Ultimate Intimacy App
You can come up with great questions to ask them, you can find out what’s getting them excited, what’s keeping them or you know from fully enjoying everything. Like all of those things you can bring into date night, which is basically making memories, right? Use the conversation starters and really talk to each other! Bring up all those conversation topics that help you to learn new things about each other even if you have been married for decades!
Things can completely change when you are very open with communication. Being completely open and vulnerable about everything: little things, or misunderstandings, etc. What things can keep a couple from having that good emotional and physical intimacy can almost always be resolved with good open communication.
If you think about when you’re dating before you were married, you could not get enough of that person right? You wanted to know every single thing that they thought all throughout the day. And I think we get really lackadaisical about that after we’ve been married for a while, because you’re like, I already know all the things, I know what socks there wear, you think you know everything about them, but you don’t.
Getting rid of Intimacy Blocks
Letting go of perfection in marriage. Perfection created a huge intimacy block for me where I thought that a perfect wife or husband doesn’t need any help. I felt in order for me to be the perfect wife, and the perfect mom, I have to just be able to do all the things. I wasn’t asking for help and the things that I needed inside or outside of the bedroom. I wasn’t sharing that part of myself because I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was really creating such a block to the intimacy I could have been enjoying with my husband by sharing with him.
Marriage blocks can be torn down with communication and vulnerability. It is a great point to be at when in your marriage you can be open and tell your spouse when you are struggling with things. It creates some real intimacy to be able to have open discussions like that.
Try new things in the bedroom! Keep it spicey and fun!
One of the things that can help take a marriage from boring to soaring, and I think a lot of people have a struggle with this, is to try new things inside and out of the bedroom. You have to really communicate and talk to each other about what your spouse needs from you in the bedroom. That is a very vulnerable conversation to have. You have to break out of that same routine. You will get bored if you have the same bedtime and sex routine. All humans get bored, so it important to switch things up, try new places, new toys if your both ok with that, new positions etc. The bedroom is suppose to be the playtime for adults!
God wants us to enjoy sex with our spouse, he created this experience and he wants us to enjoy it!
It’s that mindset that we go from from boring to soaring intimacy.
Compromising really can kill intimacy. If you can change your mindset around that a little bit, to allow for instead of compromise, allow for creation. If you can keep that curiosity piece in your marriage, that curiosity piece that you had before you were married when you loved seeing that person and you love hearing all the things that they were thinking about and working on and learning… If you can bring in that curiosity and also into your marriage, like it’s a positive thing.
But it can also be a negative thinking when your partner does something you don’t like instead of just going to “I hate it when they do that” bring in that curiosity piece again. “I wonder why they feel so strongly about this or I wonder why picking up their socks is such a difficult thing for them to do” we can bring in that curiosity and the positive we can bring in that curiosity and the negative is going to keep us moving towards that creation piece. It’s that curiosity and then the vulnerability. So if we can be curious about our partners and then we can be vulnerable with our partners, then we move towards creation and away from compromise.
The three F’s: Frequency Fantasy and Fulfillment?
These three things need to be discussed on regular basis to keep the passion at soaring level.
Are we are we making love enough or do we have enough of that in our marriage? So many people have different sex drives. That’s really important to talk about fantasies, people keep from each other because they’re worried about offending their spouse. It is so important to know what you both desire. And if it’s mutual, or if it’s not mutual you just to have those conversations. Fulfillment, you’ve got to make sure your partners being fulfilled in the ways that they need to be fulfilled. Like those are just very vulnerable topics and they’re super important!
The way you look at them are also very important because if you look at them through the lens of compromise, you think okay you know one partner wants to have sex this often and the other partner wants to have it this often and then we go straight to how can we compromise so that their of us actually get what we want. That’s one way to think of frequency fantasy and fulfillment right? Or you can think of here we get to create the perfect scenario for both of us and in order for us to create that perfect scenario and not compromise. We have to be curious like, why is this frequency important to you? How does this frequency help you? What are these fantasies you have? Talk to me about what they’re about. When we bring in the curiosity and we’re willing to be vulnerable, we can create this incredible situation that’s beautiful for both of us instead of feeling like now we have to compromise on this and that. We’ve got to compromise on that when we look at it from that growth mindset that really we get to create this perfect thing instead of we have to compromise.
That’s what’s going to take you from boring of storing, right? Feeling like you have to compromise all the time feels kind of boring but feeling like you get to create this beautiful, magical, you know way in which you can connect and create and and communicate and all the c. Words that are just so fantastic. Right? That is creation. Marriage shouldn’t be about just compromising. It should be about creating together and making a wonderful life.
Seduce your spouse. You are like magnets.
Seduction is really like a mindset. It’s the idea of really attracting. I say, learn how to powerfully attract your partner because we all want to attract our partners hopefully. When we first get together as a couple that sexual energy and attraction is really, really high a lot of times because we’re like magnets, right opposites attract. When you’re with somebody new and it’s exciting and they’re different from you, just by virtue of being male and female, we’re totally opposite from each other. That magnetism, that sexual energy is really, really high. Then life happens and all of the responsibilities of actually being an adult and creating a life and a family, and a mortgage, and car payments, and all of those things kind of start to settle in and acts as like gunk between these magnets to each other.
We need to keep that gunk out of our magnets that is keeping us from being able to touch each other emotionally and physically. Seducing each other really has more to do with making each other a priority and having the confidence to be able to show up in a way that’s really attractive to our partner. You don’t have to be sexy, that’s not it. It’s really bringing ourselves into the equation just like when we got married. Your spouse was attracted to you when you got married, and most likely still is. And you were attracted to them. So when we talk about seducing each other, it’s really just bringing those parts of ourselves back.
Learning enough about about each other in order to really be able to honor each other’s needs and desires and wants. Being playful and bring out those aspects of our personality that drew each other to each other in the first place.
Everyone changes in marriage. We are not the people we were when we first got married. But being your own kind of beautiful is so attractive and important. Keep being that beautiful soul that your spouse fell in love with, not outside beautiful but the inward. We all change and grow throughout the years and develop, and that’s what a beautiful, healthy marriage is about. Really supporting that growth and that development and making space for each other to become the best version of yourself and a couple. Grow into this beautiful version of yourself that you know God meant for you to be and that’s really what is sexy and seductive to your spouse. Self confidence really is super, super attractive, whether you’re a woman or a man. Love yourself so that you can love your spouse fully. Hopefully implementing all these things will bring your intimacy to Soaring!