Are you in a relationship and struggling to build intimacy?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Intimacy is the part of a relationship that is often overlooked and can be challenging to achieve.
Intimacy goes beyond love and getting along with your partner, liking one another and feeling sexual attraction. It is about deep respect, openness and the willingness to create a safe space to share with your other half.
In order to build true intimacy, you need to get to know your partner. And we mean really get to know them, on a deeper, emotional and spiritual level that dives below the surface and builds a strong foundation for a fulfilling, lasting partnership.
We’ve laid out some helpful ways to get to know your partner more intimately and deepen your relationship.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you may feel you know everything about your mate. You know about their childhood, their formative years and about everything that’s going in their lives in present day.
Questions become generic and boring. Often skewing toward phrases like “How was your day?”, leading to surface answers like “Fine”.
This is a recipe for distance and a missed opportunity to get to know your partner on a deeper level. Showing your curiosity and asking penetrating questions that require thought and real communication will help you become closer.
Instead of asking a question like the one above, get specific. Ask them “What was the best and worst part of your day”? This means your partner has to share, building trust and deepening your communication on a daily basis.
Asking pointed, more specific questions will open up the conversation and hopefully prompt your partner to ask you the same ones.
Try not to think of this as a daunting exercise that will extend the conversation into the wee hours of the night. This can be achieved quickly, with a five or ten-minute conversation at the end of the day. You’re just getting to the important points and avoiding a surface, generic conversation that doesn’t water the growing relationship.
So much can be communicated through nonverbal gestures.
In any relationship, touch and affection build intimacy not only due to the physical closeness but the signal that the affection shows your partner. You are indicating to them you care and are interested and focused on them.
Try touching them while you’re talking; stroking their arm, or holding their hand. This show that you are engaged and present.
Be careful that the affection you are sharing is for them and not for you. Pick up on the cues as to whether or not your partner could use some affection or wants to be left alone.
If your affection appears to be self-serving, it will send a signal that you are not listening or paying attention to them and only thinking of yourself.
This may be the hardest part of being in a relationship. Being truly vulnerable is challenging and people struggle with it in their every day lives as well as in the privacy of their personal relationships.
To be vulnerable means to risk. To risk heartbreak, embarrassment and more. At the same time, the deepest intimacy can be cultivated when two people are completely vulnerable with one another.
Think about where you are afraid to be vulnerable.
Perhaps you are afraid to share a personal story about your life for fear of judgment from your partner. Perhaps you have trouble connecting when they share a personal story because the pain of emotionally meeting them there is too great. Maybe you opt out of initiating sex for fear of being rejected.
There are a million ways we try to avoid vulnerability.
Examine where your vulnerability fears lie in your own relationship and make an active choice to reframe them and take a risk. If you trust your partner and they respect you, being vulnerable will only expand your relationship and strengthen your bond.
Share Your Truth
Communication is key. Sometimes in a relationship, we bottle up how we’re feeling for fear of our partners’ reaction. Maybe we want to avoid an argument or worry that if we are honest, our needs won’t be met.
It’s important to communicate honestly and openly about both the good and the bad.
Loop your partner into how you’re feeling and what’s going on. Don’t expect them to be a mind reader. This is where distance builds and miscommunication grows.
If you are unhappy about something, share it in a calm, articulate way with your partner. Allow your mate to hear you and try to fix the issue. If the problem is approached from a level-headed place, there is usually space to solve it together.
Every relationship has hiccups. It’s how they’re dealt with that allows for a deeper level of intimacy.
The same goes for positive moments in the relationship. Share them! If your partner did something that made you happy, offer up some positive reinforcement and praise.
Put the Phone Away
Life is busy and now more than ever, our faces are attached to a screen. Whether it’s a tablet, your computer or phone, take some time each day to have an electronics-free space.
These items are distractions and prevent present communication, listening and even affection. Put the phone away and have a conversation, go for a walk, or cuddle in bed screen free.
Even just a few minutes a day without this distraction can make all the difference.
Create a Ritual
Rituals bond people and create security, routine and something to look forward to. A ritual is something that is sacred; a time spent for doing something that is important, where everything else stops.
The ritual can be as simple as never leaving the house without a kiss, taking a bath together at night or even taking some screen-free time as mentioned above. You probably already have many couple “routines”, things you find yourself doing on a regular basis.
A ritual is different because reverential attention is paid to it. It’s a special, carved out moment that shows each partner the other cares enough to participate and that the relationship matters.
Get to Know Your Partner; It’s Fun!
The above tools are a way to help you get to know your partner on a deeper level. When used, you’ll build intimacy and create a closeness that will strengthen your bond.
The most important thing to remember is to approach it with a positive attitude and have fun in the process. Simply trying to build more intimacy with your partner is an intimate act. So acknowledging you want something more and going for it together is half the battle!
We’d love to help you stay fresh in love. Contact us with any questions and be sure to check out our blog for more tips.