Intimacy is one of the most important facets of a relationship. It is the connection and bond formed between two individuals; and the deeper the connection and bond, the higher the intimacy. In a relationship, intimacy can be experienced both emotionally and physically. When it comes to sex, some believe the act of sex creates deeper intimacy, whereas others feel that intimacy leads to sex. We may each experience intimacy a little differently, but overall, it is a shared experience between two individuals. It is the base of companionship in a relationship, and allows for the relationship to be experienced in a more fulfilling way.
Couples who are lacking in intimacy often report dissatisfaction in their relationship. However, oftentimes, these couples do not even realize that intimacy is lacking in their relationship. They come into therapy and bring up a variety of problems and concerns about their partner. What I have found is that the core of the issue is that the strength of connection has weekend due to decreased levels of intimacy. When we are first pursuing a relationship, we are eager to learn about the other person, spend unlimited amounts of time with the other person, share new moments with them, hear about their every wants and needs, etc. Over time in a relationship, we settle in and return back to our base level of functioning, only we have a new relationship in the mix. At this point, we must work to maintain connection or else we experience dissatisfaction. It makes sense that the levels of intimacy fluctuate in a relationship due to life circumstances. Actively being aware of the need for intimacy and remembering to create intimate moments with your partner is essential to having a healthy and happy relationship.
Here are some ways to create more intimacy in your relationship:
- Pay attention to eye contact. Eye contact is one of the first ways a mother/father and child connect after birth. It shows attention, love, concern, care and other positive signs. When you are talking to your partner, be aware of providing more eye contact. Look them in the eyes when he or she is telling you about his/her day. During meal times, focus more on increasing eye contact.
- Engage in more touch. Any form of touching can create intimacy. When sitting on the couch, sit closer. Initiate cuddling and holding your partner more. When out and about, hold your partner’s hand. Pay more attention to touch and make this form of connection more commonplace in your relationship.
- Have a date night. Why do you often hear this advice? Because usually, date nights turn more into a necessity then a plan in relationships. That is, the fun of getting ready for a date and choosing a place to go when first courting someone soon fades into, “Where should we go tonight?” And by should, most of the time it’s that both partners are too tired too cook or it’ Saturday night, so you should go out. So, adding some passion into the date night, such as choosing a new place together and getting dressed to go can completely change the tone of the dinner.
- Talk about the relationship. This tip may seem strange, but think about the last time you talked about how you feel in your relationship. Most of us don’t do that. It is important to reflect on your relationship and be open about feelings. Express these thoughts and feelings to your partner. Tell him/her something you did together and really enjoyed. Talking about your relationship can provide the opportunity for excitement and deep connection.
- Plan to do something new together. Participating in a new adventure or activity can be a great bonding point. Perhaps you can find something you have been both wanting to do, but haven’t had the time to do so.
- Do something for yourself. Enjoying some “me-time” can be helpful in having you connect with your partner. While it may sound like the opposite is true, the reality is that when we take more time to focus on ourselves, then we feel better about ourselves. And when we feel better about ourselves, then we feel better being around other people, including your partner.
- Do something that makes you laugh. Laughing is a great way to create deeper intimacy. Watching a funny movie, or looking at pictures from a past event can create a moment of sharing and smiles. Sometimes, laughter can be the best medicine.