3 Ways to Build Intimacy with Your Partner
During the period of young adulthood (ages 20-40), our psychosocial development is targeting intimacy vs isolation according to Erickson. Intimacy or isolation are definitive choices that you may be making intentionally as it pertains to your relationships or perhaps you may be unaware of how these two factors are playing a role in your relationships.
Intimacy and isolation apply to all kinds of relationships. Intimacy is more about having close loving relationships than romantic and sexual relationships. Erikson described intimate relationships as those characterized by closeness, honesty and love. A question to ask yourself to gauge your level of intimacy may be, “How close do you feel to the people that matter most to you in your life?” Intermittent or persistent feelings of loneliness and isolation can indicate the presence of decreased intimacy with others.
For the purposes of this blog, I will be focused on intimacy within significant other relationships and marital relationships. It is common for all couples to go through “the blahs,” it is important you not stay there. Couples that put in the time and effort to reconnect with one another often feel even closer for it. If you would like to build intimacy with your partner, here are 3 ways to start that journey:
Focus and Listen
Thanks to the proliferation of digital media and mobile devices, we live in a world that seems to demand that we all become proficient multitaskers. The problem with this is, it’s hard to shut off this instinct. Many of us are hardly able to have a conversation with a loved one without watching TV, checking our social media pages or texting. This inability to stop and focus on just being with your partner can absolutely kill intimacy.
If you want to reconnect you’ve got to become aware of when your mind is wandering or you are distracted. You’ve got to really focus on your partner and actually listen to what they say. Being heard, really heard, makes us feel loved and cared for. By doing this for your partner you will not only make them feel loved and special, you will hopefully inspire them to reciprocate the same respect.
I suggest finding ways that you can give your partner your undivided attention on a regular basis. This makes your partner feel valued and of the greatest importance in your life. Have an early morning “coffee talk” or an evening “day debrief” together can be ways to incorporate this into hectic lives.
Appreciate All They Do
It’s entirely too easy to take our loved ones for granted. Reconnecting requires that we appreciate who they are and all that they do in our lives.
Think of some things that you appreciate about your partner and thank them. Perhaps they always take out the trash without being asked. Maybe they bring you a cup of coffee in the morning when you first wake up, or they do the dishes every night.
Take the time to recognize their efforts and thank them from the heart. You may feel appreciation for your partner, however, that is not enough. You need to say it on the regular. Lack of expressed appreciation for your partner can allow resentment to become present or perhaps build in your relationship.
Sure, building intimacy is important, but you don’t have to be so serious about it! One of the absolute best ways to reconnect with your partner is to laugh and have fun with them. Creating and sustaining positive experiences with your partner is key. This is especially true for people who have been together for quite a few years.
By experiencing novel and interesting activities together, you can learn new things about each other and see your relationship in a new light. Having regular date oriented nights; whether at home or by going out make all the difference. Get creative and take turns being in charge of planning your couple time, so it does not always fall on one person.
For some couples, building intimacy can require even more work, especially if there are trust issues, long-term patterns of disconnection, avoidance, or rejection. If you are interested in exploring individual therapy, please contact me. I’d be happy to discuss how I might be able to help.