When thinking of intimacy in relationship terms, most people think immediately of one very specific type of intimacy. (Ahem.) But according to many therapy professionals, there are four different types of intimacy: experiential, emotional, intellectual and yes, sexual. Intimacy is important in a relationship because it helps us build close, personal bonds with our partners in a variety of ways. If you haven’t thought of intimacy in your marriage beyond what happens behind closed doors, we have a few things you can do for better intimacy in your marriage all around.
Variety is the spice of life and everyone loves a good adventure every now and again. When you’ve been together for a while, things tend to become mundane and routine. You can shake things up in your marriage and build intimacy in the process by doing something new and exciting together! Book a mystery vacation to a new and exciting destination using a surprise travel agency, cook new recipes using ingredients neither of you are familiar with, or shake things up when the lights go down. (We’ll let you decide the best way to approach that one.) By engaging in activities that are new to both of you, you’re strengthening your marriage by creating intimate experiences that are only shared by the two of you.
Make time for one another and do it often! Don’t rush out the door without kissing goodbye and don’t go to sleep each night without saying, “I love you.” Check in with each other throughout the day, even if it’s just with a quick text or a silly emoji. Touching base when you’re apart is a small — but sweet — way to build intimacy. You never know what inside jokes might come from your interactions, and we all know that inside jokes are one of the things that bond people together faster than almost anything else.
Put Down the Tech
Technology is great for so many things (*cough* like comprehensive jewelry insurance *cough*), but it definitely has its downfalls. It’s easy to become distracted by news stories, funny TikToks, comment wars, and Netflix shows. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to unwind with your smartphone or a TV show, but make sure it doesn’t come at the expense of cultivating intimacy with your partner! Put down the phone and turn off the TV for some one-on-one time with the one you love. Set aside time each day to spend uninterrupted, dedicated time together — you might be amazed at how close you become.
Be Emotionally Available & Vulnerable
Vulnerability with others is intimidating and emotional intelligence isn’t something we’re born with. But opening yourself to your partner and trusting them with your deepest fears, wishes, hopes, and dreams is one of the fastest ways to grow closer and form an unbreakable bond. Likewise, making yourself receptive of your partner’s vulnerability is important — when they come to you needing support and love, don’t shut them out! Sit down, listen, and make it clear that you’re there to support them regardless of what’s going on.
Go to Therapy
Now hear us out: therapy — specifically couples’ therapy — doesn’t has to be for failing relationships! Nobody is perfect and we all have our baggage. That baggage can include past trauma and problematic behaviors that can negatively impact our ability to be intimate with our partner. By involving a neutral, third-party professional early on in your relationship, you can address these things before they become problems and damage the intimacy you’re trying to build in your marriage. Therapy can help take an already strong marriage and make it even better!