A deep relationship with an intimate partner is one of the greatest gifts that life offers. We are made to belong and to connect; romantic relationships offer fulfillment of these needs. In the best of times, a partner offers us a place of emotional safety, nurture and comfort, and a sense of exhilaration. And we do the same for them.
But if you have been together for a while, your relationship may start to feel a little less shiny. The stressors of everyday life can get in the way of regular connections. Living through a pandemic creates its own challenges.
Fortunately, you can enhance the intimacy of your closest relationship. It just takes a little bit of intention.
4 Tips to Enhance Intimacy
It’s The Little Things – When your relationship was new, you probably couldn’t wait to see each other at the end of the day. You greeted each other with giant hugs and passionate kisses. But as time went on and responsibilities took over, this excitement may have become muted. This is normal. But left unchecked, taking each other for granted can slowly lead to other problems. One way to avoid this and enhance your closeness is to purposefully include affection in your days. Many couples have found that setting aside five minutes every day for a deep kiss does wonders for their relationship. Try that, or incorporate another small, meaningful routine into your days. You might start by holding hands on a daily walk, leaving an encouraging note most mornings, or some other small gesture that conveys love.
Listen – How often do you feel like someone in your life truly listens to you? Not just hears you, but listens with attention and kindness? The gift of active listening is one of the most meaningful things we can give to anyone. Paying attention to our partners with intention and compassion draws us closer to them. When they feel trusted and valued by us, intimacy is restored. Some couples make it a point to check in with each other every day with active listening. They each share their highs and lows from the day. The other partner has the chance to listen, show empathy, and share in happy moments. The key to this type of listening is to be “tuned into” your partner and to be emotionally present.
Do Something New Together – No matter how old you are, it’s important to keep learning and growing. When you try something new together, you can think of it as a way to bring fun and play into your relationship. New experiences can awaken frequently unused parts of our brains; this creates a sense of pleasure and excitement. You may find an increased appreciation of your partner’s personality when you tackle something new together. Hopefully, you will laugh together. This humour and playfulness can carry over into your relationship at home.
Remember – Over time, it’s easy to forget about what drew you to each other. You get wrapped up in responsibilities and work. The laughter, closeness, and intimacy of your early days together can get buried. Reawakening the emotions from your early days is a great way to enhance your intimacy. Look at photos and videos from those times. Share funny stories about each other and why you were attracted to your partner. Revisiting these memories can stimulate the same emotions they originally did.
If you and your partner try these methods but find you’d like more guidance, please reach out to us. As experienced couples’ therapists, we can offer a roadmap to bring the intimacy and closeness back into your relationship.
A Book We Love
In Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson teaches the way to save and enrich a relationship is to reestablish safe emotional connection and preserve the attachment bond. She focuses on key moments in a relationship and uses them as touch points for seven healing conversations.
Through case studies from her practice, illuminating advice, and practical exercises, couples will learn how to nurture their relationships and ensure a lifetime of love.