Intimacy: What is it anyway?
50 Ways to Connect With Your Spouse
We all have a picture of intimacy. Passionate sex, long talks where you reveal your inner most thoughts, and sharing life’s experiences. Creating intimacy in a relationship can seem mysterious and illusive. Most people want it, but what is intimacy really?
Intimacy is not a concrete concept; it is a quality in a relationship that takes on many forms. The common thread being feelings of closeness among partners in a relationship. Intimacy and healthy relationships go hand in hand, yet everyone has different ideas about how intimacy is created.
Intimacy can also be identified as:
- Knowing someone in depth.
- Knowing many different aspects of a person.
- Knowing where you end and your partner begins. Clear boundaries help foster intimacy.
- Knowing how they would respond in different situations, because of the many experiences you've had with them.
Intimacy, in its most basic form, involves the process of holding out your hands to another person and giving him the very information he could use to hurt you most...and trusting he won’t. In return, he does the same.
In varying degrees, all relationships require a willingness to be vulnerable. Most of us have asked the question “Do I want to venture into a relationship with intimacy and closeness if I have the chance of being vulnerable and getting hurt?” At times, for good reasons, the answer to that question is no, but when you do, that is the risk we all take. The benefit of intimacy is that all of us grow through our connections to others. Primarily through our connectedness to others can we really know how to enhance our self.
Forms of Intimacy
Cognitive/Intellectual: interactions where individuals exchange thoughts, share ideas and enjoy the similarities and differences between their opinions.
Experiential: interactions where people get together saying very little to each other, not sharing any thoughts or many feelings, but being involved in mutual activities with one another.
Emotional: interactions where two people comfortably share their feelings or empathize with the feelings of the other person, to understand and be aware of the other person’s emotional life.
Sexual: interactions, which include a broad range of sensuous activities.
Even in healthy relationships, people cannot be intimate all the time in all areas. One form of intimacy immerges in the forefront and the others take a back seat. Here are some ways to get comfortably closer.
50 Ways to Create Intimacy
1. Write a love note.
2. Hug...for ten seconds.
3. Spend time alone...every week.
4. Hold hands.
5. Do your partner’s laundry.
6. Surprise your partner with a gift that you have made. Keep a Gift Idea Notebook.
7. Tell your partner what you like about him/her.
8. Compliment your partner’s appearance.
9. Listen to your partner’s ideas without judgement or criticism.
10. Give undivided attention. Put down the remote control...or better yet turn off the TV.
11. Tell your partner how important he/she is to you.
12. Give praise freely.
13. Help your partner with projects he/she wants to do.
14. Don’t interrupt when your partner is talking.
15. No matter where you go, tell your partner that you like spending time with him/her.
16. Help out, despite the other things that you may have to do.
17. Make a request instead of criticizing your partner. Criticism is an ineffective way of asking for what you want in a relationship.
18. Buy your partner’s favorite foods at the grocery store.
19. Ask your partner about their day...everyday...listen and ask questions.
20. Do what you say...follow through on promises.
21. Sit close.
22. Spend an evening talking about how your love for one another has grown and how your partner has made you a better person.
23. Talk about your needs. Share with your partner some of your needs, and then ask your partner how you can best meet his/her needs.
24. Be a good friend to your partner.
25. Give your partner a book and agree to read it yourself. Then offer to discuss a chapter each week.
26. Maintain a good sense of humor...about yourself.
27. Open yourself up to new ideas and experiences...especially if your partner makes the suggestion.
28. Think the best of your partner.
29. Whenever you are away for each other, check in regularly to let your partner know that you are okay.
30. Date your mate. Plan a night out together every week.
31. Take a walk together. Surprise your spouse with a long, romantic kiss and a suggestion to take a walk together.
32. Don’t wait until the mood to be romantic spontaneously happens. If you act romantic you will feel romantic.
33. Talk about sex with your partner.
34. With your partner, light candles, take a bubble bath, have a bit of champagne, and see what happens.
35. Compliment each other.
36. Write a letter to your partner that describes what you would like to try sexually but are timid or shy about. Share it!
37. Share a romantic fantasy with your partner and ask them to tell you theirs.
38. Write a sexy note to your partner and slip it into the book they are reading.
39. Give words of affirmation freely: “You really did a great job on this meal.” “I really appreciate you picking up the kids tonight.” “You look great in that color.”
40. Compliment you partner in the presence of friends or family.
41. Maintain eye contact when your partner is talking.
42. Ask your partner for a list of five activities that he/she would enjoy doing with you. Make plans to do one of them each month for the next five months.
43. Think of an activity your spouse enjoys, but which brings little pleasure to you: football, hiking, antiquing, or the Theater. Set a date for that activity and give it your best effort.
44. Write a note every week that begins with “Today I will show my love for you by....”
45. At a party, seek out your partner say, “I love you.”
46. Before having a deep conversation, take your partner’s hands, look into one another’s eyes, and then remember what you love about your partner.
47. Apologize more often. Never underestimate the power of an apology. Talk with your partner about a time when you wanted to apologize but didn’t, it will make your next apology much easier.
48. Schedule a weekly relationship meeting. All couples need to have a routine for helping each other stay focused or accountable for
the health of their relationship.
- Make a commitment to meet weekly.
- Keep the meeting to less than one hour.
- Connect with your partner. Face each other, hold hands, and make eye contact.
- Agree on who will start and begin by taking three minutes to say what’s on your mind.
- The speaker speaks while the listener listens without getting defensive or accusatory.
- The listener asks the speaker what they need out of this conversation. Talk about things that matter.
- Discuss future ways to manage these feelings or the concern that is being addressed. Work towards compromise. Switch speaker listener roles and repeat the process.
- Plan some fun after each meeting.
49. Don’t part in the morning without knowing one interesting thing that will happen in your spouse’s day.
50. When you meet up at the end of the day both of you take 10 minutes to talk about your day. Get curious about what your partner is talking about.
Remember that creating an intimate relationship is a process that requires time and attention. Use just a few of the suggestions above and you on your way to a stronger more connected relationship.