by Carlene Lehmann, M.A., LMFT
Intimacy creates safety and closeness
Intimacy in a relationship is a feeling of being close and emotionally connected. It means being able to share a whole range of thoughts, feelings and experiences that we have as human beings. It involves being open and talking through your thoughts and emotions, letting your guard down, and showing someone else how you feel and what your hopes and dreams are.
Creating and maintaining intimacy
Intimacy is built it up over time, and it requires patience and effort from both partners to create and maintain. Discovering intimacy with someone you love can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship. Here are some ways you can increase intimacy in your relationship and feel more closeness with each other.
- Make Time for Sharing How Your Day Was
Set a timer for a 20 minute conversation to reconnect after a long day. Each partner shares 10 minutes each on how their day was and what kind of support they are currently needing.
2. Create Rituals For Greetings and Goodbyes
Establish daily rituals for the times you leave your partner for the day and then also reconnect upon coming home. Some couples greet their partner coming home with a hug and kiss or take a moment to gaze into each other’s eyes. Having a ritual of connection before leaving each other each day is important to feeling safe and secure. Knowing our couple bond is strong helps us function easier in other settings
3. Share Daily Appreciations With Your Partner
Each day share 2 things that you appreciate about your partner with them. You can text it, share it in person, or leave little love notes. Thank them for making coffee, doing the dishes, or going the movie you wanted to see.
4. Create a Ritual of Safety
Before going into situations that one or both partner’s will feel stressed in, create a ritual of reminding each other that you are in this together and can provide each other support. Some couples develop a little signal so their partner knows to come closer or help them exit a distressing situation and take a break. It is important to discuss and create this ritual before going into those stressful situations.
5. Set A Weekly Date Night
Have a weekly date night with your partner and spend one-on-one time with them without any distractions. You can do it at home or go out for a night on the town. The important thing is to set some time aside on a regular basis to be with each other and do things you both enjoy.
6. Respectful Physical Touch and Affection
Physical touch helps release the chemical, oxytocin, which is known as the bonding hormone. It helps us feel calm, safe, and secure in our relationship. We all need physical touch on a regular basis. Sometimes trauma or previous life experiences can make us shy away from physical touch. Even starting with a daily ritual of a hug or gazing into one another’s eyes can help you feel closer to each other.
7. Do Something New Together
Do something new that you both enjoy whether it’s trying a cooking class, going hiking, or it will help you get out of a rut and bring some adventure to your relationship. Research shows that doing something new or novel together helps prevent boredom and make you feel happier and closer in your relationship.
8. Practice Positive Conflict Resolution
Create win/win solutions when you and your partner have disagreements. Conflicts are inevitable, but how you handle them is critical to how you feel about your relationship- whether it is supportive or locked in gridlock. Being able to collaborate and create a win/win is a very important skill in relationship. The next time you and your partner have a disagreement, try listening to your partner’s perspective and use teamwork to solve the issue.
9. Spice It Up In The Bedroom
Try something new in your sex life- a new position or location- can add a newness and help build the excitement for you both. Share your fantasies with each other. There may be things you discover that you were not aware of. Sex is an important part of a relationship as it can help relieve stress and create a closeness.
10. Sharing Laughter
Share a humorous experience or a funny joke with your partner. When we share genuine laughter with each other, we feel as if our partner understands who we are a little better. It also uplifts our spirits and helps us weather the difficult times a little easier.
Intimacy helps build up your relationship
Try a new tip each week and see how it brings more connection with your partner. Think of your relationship as a house. Whether it’s a shack or a mansion, you build it from the ground up. Intimacy is the bricks that put it together.
Seeking help for relationship problems
Some couples find it difficult to achieve intimacy in their relationship. Others can find that after achieving intimacy it seems to slip away. There are many reasons why some people find it difficult to achieve intimacy in their relationship. Sometimes you may need help or guidance to sort through some of the problems, feelings and thoughts you have about your relationship. You could talk to a relationship counselor, or go to a course or workshop that will help you and your partner overcome some of your relationship problems.
Carlene Lehmann, M.A., LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Relationships Matter Austin in Austin, Texas. With Carlene’s extensive training as a couples therapist, she can help you create and maintain more closeness and intimacy in your relationship and overcome the barriers you are facing. To schedule your appointment with Carlene, you can reach her at (512) 994-0432 or request an appointment with her on the Relationships Matter Austin Scheduling Page.