Intimacy is necessary for a successful marriage. It is the sense of another person fully knowing you and loving you because of who you are, as well as in spite of it. Increasing intimacy is taking a leap into rare honesty and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. In essence, the very definition of intimacy is the way most people would like to describe their marriage. Like everything else in relationships, increasing intimacy requires effort, but it is fun and rewarding, so take heart.
Increasing Intimacy in Your Relationship
Disclose more to feel closer.
Intimacy is a process of discovery with another. Over time, though, without continued attentiveness, it is easy to lose that urge to keep discovering all there is to know about one another. Sometimes, in a more established relationship, it can feel riskier to become vulnerable. We, humans, love certainty, and revealing parts of ourselves that create uncertainty might instill fear. However, trust is a big part of increasing intimacy. Neither one of you should have fear of broaching a topic. This includes issues as scary as finances, child-rearing, death, or mothers-in-law.
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Spend time meaningfully.
Sure, date night is important. But if it’s so ritualistic that you end up sitting across each other checking notifications on your phone or discussing the outrageous thing your kid did, you’re not deepening the connection. Connection-deepening activities are ones that get you focused on each other as individuals and lovers. Take a scenic drive to get some ice cream. Clean the tub together. Take a cooking class. Work out together. Hashing out the stress in a restaurant isn’t any better than hashing out the stress over the kitchen table.
Make time for deeply emotional conversations.
Opening your mind and heart simply refers to your willingness to talk to your partner about everything. Try staying in bed together all day on a weekend—talking, cuddling, remembering, sharing. No television, no phone calls, no discussion of work. You’ll eventually see the bigger picture and think up plans for the future. Sadly, to other couples, opening up might be the most difficult step to increasing intimacy. If you find yourself being closed off to the idea of being able to talk to your spouse about certain issues, consider marriage counseling.
Do something new or big together.
Have you always had a dream project in mind? It could either be something as huge as starting a business or organizing an event together or as simple as adopting a pet. Discuss them with your partner and find time to realize these dreams together. This is where you decide to act as a team in the world, and the fulfillment afterward will surely speak volumes about your deepening emotional connection.
Give credit where it is due.
The free-and-easy talker can learn to recognize and give credit to a partner’s preferred modes of expression. Some individuals equate communication with intimacy. In one study, more than two-thirds of divorced couples said they didn’t get the level of conversation that they’d expected in their marriages. The women, especially, complained they wanted to talk about negatives as well as positives, and they especially wanted to talk about work. But the “give and take,” the emotional exchange they sought, was missing.
Be available in a new way.
Another tip for instantly increasing intimacy in your relationship is making the decision to be available to your partner in a way you usually are not. Not because you should or because you “owe” it to them but because you can. Surprise them by agreeing to take care of a chore you usually avoid. Offer to accompany them on something you usually take a pass on. Or surprise them with something they care about like making a favorite meal or watching that movie they love but you can’t stand. Unexpected generosity is a huge intimacy booster.
Words alone won’t be increasing intimacy. Although communication is important, you must also demonstrate your feelings through actions. While washing dishes together, brush your soapy hand against your wife’s. Or take your husband into your arms when he walks in the door after work. The point is to be demonstrative, enhancing the feeling of love between you both. These actions should not always lead to sex. In fact, affection can be more meaningful when executed as a way of showing feelings, not just to get the other person to satisfy your animal needs.
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