Updated: Sep 19, 2019
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. Intimacy is the sense of another person fully knowing you, and loving you because of who you are—as well as in spite of it. This requires taking a leap into rare honesty and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. The deeper the intimacy, the more you’ll have the experience of total absorption with your partner, in and out of bed. For some, intimacy is that sense of being “home” in the presence of your mate. Or it may be an increased sense of relaxed pleasure when you see your loved one’s face after an absence.
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.Apart from emotional and sexual intimacy, you can also be intimate intellectually, recreationally, financially, spiritually, creatively and at times of crisis.
An emotionally intimate relationship is something that two people are responsible for creating together. It requires that both people offer a safe space for the other, so that each feels comfortable being vulnerable enough to show who they really are.
Relationships aren’t about having another person complete you, but coming to the relationship whole and sharing your life interdependently. By letting go of the romantic ideal of merging and becoming “one,” you learn, to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.
Intimacy is the expression of love in your relationship. You can’t just talk about love, show it off by a piece of paper, or wear a ring. You have to express your love, So if building intimacy in your relationship is important to you, don’t leave it on the back burner.
“Put energy and focus on it. Make it high on the list of your goals and priorities for your relationship, Don't let it slip away from your life together.” That means, put in the effort to make time for each other. Put away distractions when you're together. If you need to plan some time to work on intimacy, then do it.
Get Intimate with yourself not sexually, but spiritually and emotionally. “It sounds super cliche but self-compassion, self-forgiveness and self-love are skills that need to be learned in order to receive love from someone else,. When I take care of myself, I experience more intimacy in my life. I’m open to receiving it and am able to give it as well. The thing is, you can find all kinds of fun ways to be intimate with your partner both in the bedroom and out. But at the very core of it, intimacy is all about opening up and allowing another person to share in your greatness and your vulnerabilities. If you can’t be 100 percent, authentically yourself, you're only holding yourself back from experiencing what intimacy in a relationship can give you. Overall true intimacy comes from you.
How to Increase Intimacy in Your Relationship
If your marriage seems to be lacking in emotional intimacy, there are a number of things that you and your partner can do to strengthen and deepen emotional intimacy.
Silence the Electronics
Deep and meaningful emotional intimacy in a relationship depends on the quality of human interaction. Texting and emailing are important ways for you to get practical things done and to stay in touch when you are apart and too busy to talk. But electronic communication is not enough to maintain real emotional intimacy. Work emails, social media, and entertainment can be never-ending and easily grow into distracting habits that interfere with your solid, human, one-on-one interaction.
Consider turning off the computer, television, video game console, cell phone, and tablet when you are together and spend some time talking, sharing, and looking each other in the eye. One tool that many successful couples use is silencing their cell phones and dropping them in a little basket or box by the door as they come home and agreeing to leave them off for at least an hour or two when they are together.
Increase Your Time Spent Together
It can be hard to find time together as a couple. Having children in the home can often magnify that difficulty. One family therapist shared the idea of committing 30 minutes each evening to uninterrupted time with a spouse after the kids are in bed. Take care of tasks together, like dishes and grocery shopping, so that the things can get done faster and you can spend more time together as partners.
You may decide to have a cup of tea together at a set time every weekend so that you can feel relaxed and engage in good conversation. A weekly date night, lunch together once or twice a week, or regular walks around your neighborhood can increase the time you spend together. Making time to focus on each other without the kids or other distractions is critical to maintaining emotional intimacy.
Take a bath or shower together there's nothing as relaxing as water. Taking a bath or shower together, especially after a long, hard day, is a good way to wash away your stresses and decompress. It's a way to enjoy your sexuality—touching and exploring each other's bodies. Shampooing one anther's hair, scrubbing each other's backs, and soaping each other up is erotic and fun. You want a partner who's willing to share sexy experiences with you other than intercourse. There's a lot more ways to pleasure one another than that!
Be Safe for Your Spouse or Girl/Boyfriend
Most couples aren’t dealing with life threatening situations. Instead they are navigating chronic relationship disconnection, tension, defensiveness, or irritability that signals danger to their senses, which ultimately takes a toll on their relationship. Focus on being more intentional about greeting each other in a way that reassured and invited the other in. Emotional safety enables us the freedom to collaborate, dream, be wildly creative, share bold ideas, feel increased compassion, and express ourselves freely with one another.
After years together, couples inevitably learn what might hurt their partners. Kind and loving partners who avoid hurting each other help each other feel loved, valued, and safe. When we make the environment safe for our spouses, emotional intimacy finds its place.
Unfortunately, many people have experienced hostility from those who they trusted, felt unloved, or learned bad relationship habits. If you have a habit of belittling or emotionally attacking those who are close to you, these habits will sabotage intimacy, creating a wall in your marriage.
Seek a Balance Between Self and the Couple
If your relationship is going to have true balance, you both need to be authentic. "Any time you are not authentically yourself it's a sign that you are not truly comfortable in a relationship If you are hiding things, embarrassed about things, faking things, it suggests that you don't feel that your partner will truly like you for yourself." Being authentic shows that you feel supported in the relationship — and your partner should feel able to do the same.
The strongest relationships have two interdependent partners. Each one has rich hobbies, a professional life, or a social life, and they come together to invest in the marriage relationship. Too much togetherness can be a bad thing if it deprives the relationship of the energy and experiences that interdependence brings. So make sure to engage in some good self-care as a husband and father, and allow your spouse to do the same. And then come together as a secure and trusting couple.
Not every relationship is going to be balanced in the same way. Know what balance looks like in your relationship: Every relationship is unique and will have different points of balance,Take time to figure out what's important to you and where you're willing to compromise. If you stay true to your values, you'll find a balance that works for you.
Put Together a "Fun bucket List"
Spending time in pursuits you enjoy together can build shared memories and experiences while strengthening emotional intimacy. Think about things you did when you were dating or newlyweds that made you enjoy time together, and consider putting them on your fun list.
A rewarding relationship should be filled with experiences that create wonderful memories, bring you two closer together, make you laugh and non-verbally say “I love you”. Here are dozens of the best ideas to make sure you don’t get stuck in the monotony of the day to day routine and start bonding over exciting new adventures. Explore activities that you have always wanted to try. Then make sure that you are doing something on the fun list on a regular basis.
The 7 Breath Forehead Connection Exercise
Whether you’re lying on your sides or sitting upright, face each other directly and gently touch your foreheads together. Put your chins down slightly so your noses aren’t quite touching (it’s okay if they touch a bit but touching noses is not necessary for this exercise).
With your foreheads touching, breathe seven deep, slow breaths in sync with your partner. The first one or two breaths might feel like they’re taking up a lot of conscious thought, but by the third or fourth breath it will feel like a very natural thing to do.
This exercise isn’t limited to seven breaths (you can keep going for several minutes if you’d like) but I find that seven breaths is the perfect minimum number of breaths for couples to really drop in to the moment and feel connected.