Ask any happy couple what keeps the intimacy strong between them, and you’ll more than likely hear that communication is the foundation of a successful relationship. You wouldn’t try to drive a car without filling the gas tank, and you shouldn’t attempt to nurture a relationship without honest, open communication. Intimacy isn’t simply in the bedroom; it starts in the morning, grows throughout the day, and ends when you fall asleep.
Intimacy is an all-encompassing word with sex being merely one part of what it truly means. Intimacy is a substance that supplements the healthiest relationships by allowing partners to share their physical and emotional selves. If you find it in yourself to be more emotionally intimate in your relationship, both you and your loved one will definitely reap the rewards in the bedroom!
Here are ten ways to increase and maintain intimacy in your relationship:
Compromise when in disagreement
When you and your partner aren’t seeing things eye-to-eye, take it upon yourselves to reach a happy medium you both can agree with. Ask each other, “What would make us both happy?”
Spend a MINIMUM of 30 minutes a day focusing on your partner
Spend this time with your full attention honed in on your partner. This could take place at the dinner table, in the family area or living room with the TV off, cuddled in bed, etc… Eliminate interruptions such as children, roommates, and friends, so you can take the time to find out how his or her day went and share how your day was.
Stop your busy life and make your relationship your number one focus. Date night helps kindle intimacy. Get dressed up for one another, spend time focusing on one another, and laugh together.
Empathize and validate your partner
Make sure to show empathy when you are in disagreement, monitor your tone of voice, and validate your partner by letting him or her know you don’t think he or she is “crazy” for how he or she feels.
Show curiosity and interest in your partner
Showing interest and curiosity not only helps your partner feel important and special, but also entices him or her to do the same towards you! Imagine how great it feels when your partner intently listens to what you have to say, and do the same for your partner.
Surprise your partner with an activity that the two of you can do together
Try hiking, picnics,board/card games, etc…
Write things you admire about your partner on sticky notes and hide them in places you know he or she will find them.
Point out the positive
If you acknowledge and reinforce that which you appreciate about your partner, you will find he or she will eagerly repeat the desired behavior instead of feeling down from belittlement.
Show your partner that you respect him/her
By listening, avoiding critical language, and decreasing your anger (intonation and context), you will show your partner that you have the utmost respect for his or her thoughts and feelings.
Bring Out the Candles!
Don’t just try to simply just “do it.” Make the mood right for romance, touch each other, warm up the bodies by massages, and make the intimacy last LONG. Take your time!
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653