Are you facing problems in your relationship right now? Although some relationships can survive without intimacy, the feelings of closeness, affection, concern, and cooperation tend to recede and disappear quickly. Over time, a sense of feeling unhappy, insecure, and sometimes resentful can increase–and the foundation of your relationship or marriage can start to crumble.
According to experts, the lack of intimacy is the primary reason couples break up.
Do you want to know how to increase intimacy in your relationship? Read on to discover 5 simple secrets!
What Is Intimacy?
For starters, let’s discuss the meaning of intimacy. Keep in mind that sex and intimacy are separate things. Sex is a physical act and intimacy is an emotional process. In healthy relationships, this powerful force has different elements. Some are intellectual, emotional, sexual, and experiential. Thus, intimacy is far more than physical affection or a sexual encounter.
Even so, intimacy is an emotional process that involves knowing and caring for the other person. It’s the vehicle by which partners share feelings, thoughts, and experiences with each other. Sometimes intimacy includes sharing a fun moment. Other times it requires discussing challenging topics. Yet, sometimes it involves laughing together. Other times it allows you to function independently when your partner is not at their best. Above all, intimacy ensures each person feels valid and receives the level of empathy, understanding, and acceptance they need in the relationship.
As a result, partners displaying intimacy are open, vulnerable, and familiar with each other’s wants and needs. Although crucial in every connection, maintaining intimacy can be challenging–even scary at times. For example, informing your partner that you are happy with having only two kids and want a vasectomy can be profoundly difficult to say. It can also be difficult to hear from a spouse. Meanwhile, when partners avoid being open, vulnerable, or in touch with each other, intimacy, fun and joy are sure to diminish.
With this in mind, situations that otherwise could hold soft embraces or passionate connections are replaced by awkwardness and emotional estrangement. Thankfully, issues with intimacy can be avoided if partners work together. With a bit more reflection, courage, and cooperation, you can maintain a connection, keep the spark, and enjoy a lifetime of love.
1. Relish and Shake Up Your Routine
When dating starts, everything about your relationship is new and exciting. Getting to know and becoming intimate with each other sparks the thrill and generates loads of enthusiasm in the relationship. Even so, research demonstrates that the initial thrill and excitement can decrease as time passes, requiring new strategies to develop better intimacy.
One thing is for sure. As your relationship goes on, you’ll establish routines around things like money, food prep, household chores, leisure activities, and even sex. On the one hand, when we love each other in a consistent way, routines can reduce stress and provide a sense of stability and security for each partner.
On the other hand, intimacy’s worst enemy can be routine. For example, doing the same things, going to the same places (or not going anywhere at all), discussing the same things, having sex the same ‘ole way, and going to the same vacation spot each year, can generate monotony, also known as boredom.
In the end, the routine can lead to emotional shutdown for both partners. You start to care less, act cold, and get tired of the relationship. As communication starts to decrease, misunderstandings, disappointments, and frustrations start to increase. To avoid these types of issues, change your routine.
In the long run, changing your routine can bring back that loving feeling again. Please note. If you think you need to spend a lot of time or money to do this, you’re wrong. Surprising your partner with their favorite dish or bringing home a small, yet thoughtful gift can be “just what the doctor ordered.”
2. Seek New Experiences
Think for a moment, what do we do when boredom sets in? We look for something to stimulate and entertain us. Well, something similar occurs in love and routine. If we give and get the same thing every time, it tends to become mundane and boring.
In contrast, a great way to increase intimacy with your partner is to seek new experiences. Doing so can reignite the spark in your relationship, keeping things interesting and far more stimulating.
Another key point; try something new. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity so long as you do it together. That newfound stimulation can generate excitement and a connection that brings you closer again.
To clarify, ask yourself, “What things can we try doing together for the first time?” As a couple, consider adopting a pet or working on a new project. If you’re not ready for such commitments, try something easier–like going to an unfamiliar place and exploring it or trying out a new restaurant. When it comes to seeking out new experiences, the ideas are endless. Simply let your imagination run wild.
3. Connect and Communicate More
It’s no secret that communication must be consistent. Conversations with your partner allow you to share your experiences and reveal pressing needs. At the same time, it helps you understand and accept each other on a deeper level.
To clarify, a stronger connection tends to increase intimacy in a relationship. So, how do you keep communicating with your partner? For starters, inform your partner how much you value them. Doing so is a great way to remind you both of what’s meaningful and important.
If you are like most people, you want to avoid disagreements by not talking about them, but this can interfere with intimacy and damage your relationship. Ironically, disagreeing with your partner is one of the best ways to stay connected with each other! Doing so teaches you a powerful lesson: how to accept that your partner does not have the same opinion as you, yet, despite that difference, still giving them the freedom to think, act, and feel the way they do!
Learning to resolve your communication problems and stay connected is a game-changer in relationships. Although you may have been together for some time, there are many things to discover about each other. To this end, try to know your partner on another level by asking and listening.
4. Display Physical Affection
One of the 5 Secrets for how to increase intimacy is through physical affection toward each other. As you will read in a moment, physical affection is more than a kiss or sex.
In recent years, researchers have asserted that intimate touch is essential for closeness in marriage. Intimate touch involves caring gestures and cues that range from a gentle caress and a pat on the shoulder to hand-holding, cuddling, and holding tightly to each other with a firm hug. These simple actions will help you get (and stay) connected with your partner.
Without a doubt, study after study found that couples who touch each other more often tend to be happier and more emotionally connected.
Overall, and in line with prior research, partners who touched each other more and who were content with the quantity of touch they were receiving tended to be more sexually satisfied and reported higher levels of happiness in their relationships.
Even more, physical affection is an essential part of early childhood development. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, intentional touch can deliver neurologic, behavioral, and cognitive benefits to a developing infant. These benefits include helping the baby to relax and sleep, slowing blood pressure, regulating the infant hormones that control stress, reducing crying and even inducing healthy weight gain in premature babies.
For these reasons, keep your relationship healthy and show physical affection to your partner. Hold your partner’s hand while walking, and don’t be afraid to surprise them with a big, fat hug.
If you want to resolve issues in your relationship, consider asking for help from a therapist.
5. Show How Much You Value Each Other
Ask yourself, “How often do I express how much my partner means to me?” In a relationship, showing how much you value each other is yet another secret for how to increase intimacy. Think about it. Although your significant other knows you love them, telling them can make all the difference. It feeds and nurtures the relationship… and keeps it alive. It reinforces the idea that you are there for them and that they matter to you. Most importantly, telling your partner conveys emotional presence. That simple gesture says, “I notice and recognize you! I want you to have emotional access to me.”
In effect, when a person feels loved, it makes them feel special, treasured, and honored. Lastly, giving positive remarks prevents problems in the relationship. For this purpose, it is essential to develop the habit of gratitude and appreciation: expressing how much you value each other.
Some best practices include asking how they are, showing acts of kindness, and giving words of affirmation. Doing so is a concrete way to demonstrate how much you value your partner.
How to Increase Intimacy in a Relationship
So remember, intimacy plays a vital role in your marriage. When high levels of intimacy are present, you and your partner grow closer and thrive. Even so, nurturing and maintaining an intimate relationship can be easier said than done. And, sometimes we need some help–a third party to guide us.
If you believe you and your partner are struggling to increase intimacy in your relationship, consider calling in a professional. With In Touch Individual & Family Counseling, you can get the help you need. Contact us here and discover how to increase intimacy, revive that lost spark, and enjoy a lifetime of love!