How can you build intimacy in your marriage? Building intimacy enhances the bond of love between married couples.
Yet very few couples are able to truly achieve deep intimacy. The reason for this could be that some people mistake intimacy for sex. What they forget is that intimacy has everything to do with two individuals being able to relate at the emotional level.
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As Mark McGrann says in ‘Marriage’, intimacy involves freely sharing feelings, opinions, and thoughts. It is about being free and experiencing relaxed pleasure while in the presence of your better half.
For individuals who have been hurt for exposing their deepest passions and longings, this may not be possible. Since deeper intimacy involves some sense of vulnerability, this could appear out of reach for such individuals.
Regardless of your previous experience, there are steps you can take to build intimacy between you and your partner. In the end, the two of you should end up knowing each other fully. Here are 12 ways to improve and build intimacy in marriage:
According to the book: Intimacy Within by Matthew Roberts, you need time and space to talk with your spouse. It will be difficult for you to engage effectively with the kids all over the place. Also, sharing your thoughts while in the middle of watching a movie in the cinema hall is just impossible. Intimate moments are meant to be enjoyed in privacy, whether at home or elsewhere. You may want to try having a picnic in the park or taking a nature walk close to your home.
Another great setting for building intimacy between married couples is to go out to a candlelit dinner. Of course, it is impossible to share everything in just one sitting. That’s why you need to make time on a regular basis. The more you share, the easier it will be for you to have meaningful conversations.
2. Start Small, Move Slowly
This applies to couples who are starting out in marriage, as well as, those who have been in it for longer. Don’t try to share everything about you with your new wife or husband all at once. Similarly, avoid suddenly baring all of your fantasies, dreams, and thoughts with a spouse of many years.
To build intimacy, you need to do it one step at a time. You might as well say, ‘one date at a time’. Every time you go out for a meal, share something new about you. The idea is to build trust one step at a time. With time, your relationship will be stronger and your intimacy deeper.
3. Discuss Intimate Issues
Do not expect to build intimacy if all you ever discuss is work and the kids. You also need to discuss your sexual life to bring the two of you closer together. For you to build a stronger bond, you need to share your personal intimate desires openly.
What’s it that you wish your partner could do to you during intimacy? Talk about it during your regular ‘sex talk’. What you should avoid is asking vague questions and giving ambiguous answers.
When you start feeling uncomfortable, it becomes hard to ask the right questions and give the right answers. You might want to make a list of questions and go through them as if it was someone else doing the asking. For that reason, you may want to try out Michael Webb’s 500 Intimate Questions for Couples. That way, it will be possible for you to get the right answers to all the questions you have.
4. Involve Yourselves in Some Big or New Activity
Most relationships suffer when life becomes more of a routine. You come back from work, have dinner, go to sleep, get up in the morning, and start all over again. Going through the motions of daily living can hardly help you build intimacy between the two of you. So how do you break the monotony? Find some big or new activity which you can do together. That may even include discussing something on which the two of you hold totally different views.
That will not only help you to feel closesr, but it will also make the two of you deeply intimate. So, plan to work on a major project together.
When you can, go out and help your friends or family to accomplish something. The sense of accomplishment you get at the end of the project is enough to help you feel closer together.
5. Work on Long-Term Plans
After many years of marriage, couples end up feeling as if the relationship is stagnating. If you keep going after short-term goals, it will be harder for you to build intimacy.
In Sacred Intimacy, Brenton and Margaret Yorgason advise that you start a plan together for a long-term project. It could be working on a Himalayas hiking trip in the next year. As you start assembling the resources you need for the trip, the two of you will automatically be drawn together.
If any of you had already become withdrawn or angry and disappointed, this will surely break the pattern. It is also likely that the two of you just cannot engage in a heated argument.
When you have something major to look forward to, you will have no reason to argue about anything. When you finally get to the Himalayas, you will get closer, learn to talk, and become more intimate.
6. Be Fully Attentive
In a relationship, communication is much more than just putting across your point of view. It cannot possibly happen without you being fully attentive to what your partner is saying. So when he or she speaks, listen to what they are saying. Make him or her feel like no one else matters to you in the whole wide world. After all, building intimacy has everything to do with sharing your feelings, opinions, and thoughts.
However, that can only happen when the two of you learn to really listen to each other. Listening intently is not just about understanding what the other person is saying. Rather, it has everything to do with watching out for the telling non-verbal cues. That’s the view held by Barton Goldsmith in the book: Emotional Fitness for Intimacy: Sweeten and Deepen Your Love in Only 10 Minutes a Day.
Pay attention to the tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and body language. As you learn to perceive emotions, you find better ways to respond to your wife or husband, thus building intimacy.
7. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Criticism
More often than not, married couples create barriers that prevent them from truly getting intimate. Apart from keeping scores, they find fault and seek to control each other.
However, with these barriers, there is no way you can build positive, supportive emotions. That’s not to say that your partner isn’t going to make mistakes.
As Dustin Heiner and Melissa Heiner advise in ‘Lasting Marriage’, when he or she errs, simply forgive. Then avoid constantly pointing out their mistake. What that does is hurt their feelings. If you can point out the issues without hurting your partner, well and good. Where it’s not possible, just let go. It is always better to praise him or her for things they did in the past than to criticize. That’s a sure way to build intimacy between the two of you.
8. Build a Legacy Together
Even though you are one in the marriage, you are two individuals with deep life goals. It is possible to build intimacy by combining your dreams and working together towards the same goal. For instance, you could be passionate about the respect of human rights while your partner cares about the environment. It could help to a large extent if you combine your passions and work towards your goals together.
Imagine yourselves working on a single mutually beneficial project. That will not only help you build intimacy, but it will give you a reason to keep living together. After all, the two of you are working on building a legacy together. As you keep working on a mutual passion, you will become more devoted to the relationship leading to deeper emotional intimacy.
9. Trust on a Deeper Level
Without trust, there can be no love nor intimacy. Trust is about the belief in your partner’s ability to cherish and protect your heart. Unbridled trust in your partner is the key to making intimacy deeper. Unfortunately, many people in marriages lack trust in their partners. For them, the fear that their partners might hurt them is more real than anything else.
Rather than harboring fear, it is important that you speak out about broken promises or infidelity. Thus says Paul Hornell in ‘Biblical Love.’ In fact, fear comes as a result of a lack of trust. When you trust your partner, you will have no problem being vulnerable to him or her. It is that state of vulnerability that makes it possible for you to build intimacy.
10. Add To It Some Humor
The power of laughter in thawing away some of the negative emotions that arise in relationships cannot be gainsaid. In fact, laughter is what you can use to gauge how happy you are in a marriage. So make a point of having some fun in your marriage. With that, it will be impossible for your relationship to slip into a rut.
This is what Randall Foreman says in his book Know Your Mate & Enjoy Marriage: Proven Techniques to Strengthen Relationships and Deepen Intimacy. If you have forgotten how to make your partner laugh, reinvent your humorous self. Also, re-learn how to play. When together with your partner, let loose watch a comedy, act like a little child, and connect at the emotional level. The more you relate with each other on that level, the closer you will become.
11. Support One Another
In order to build intimacy between the two of you, it is important that you learn to support each other. That’s exactly what Dave Chapman says in his book: ‘Marriage’. It is not enough to live under the same roof.
What matters is that you know your partner will always be there for you. The kind of support provided may vary between the genders, but it is important when it comes to strengthening the relationship.
If you are a man, you will be more inclined to offer instrumental support. That’s because men are wired to solve problems. Women, on the other hand, provide emotional support, since they are more empathetic. Before you offer your support, find out the ways in which he or she needs to be supported. If you can be consistent about supporting your partner, then you will be able to make your intimacy deeper.
12. Connect On a Daily Basis
With the busy lifestyles that people have adopted, it is almost impossible to have a sustained talk with your partner. Even when you do talk, it is all about work and the children, at best. As such, it is hard to discuss issues that go into building intimacy between the two of you. However, that can change only if you can set aside time to discuss issues other than those affecting your relationship.
By so doing, you will get to know your partner more deeply. So says Jim Roberts in his book: ‘Deliberate Love:How Couples Can Deepen and Sustain Intimacy with the Mindful Use of Attention.’ For instance, you will have an understanding of their stressors, values, dreams, as well as friends. All you need is 10 minutes a day. Within that short time, you may talk about things outside the relationship, household, family or work. Do that consistently and you will be able to revive the life and spirit of the relationship.
Building intimacy in a marriage is about much more than just sex. It is more of learning to connect on an emotional level. When you can share deep feelings, opinions, and thoughts, then you are intimate with each other. To connect with your partner more closely, you need to utilize the above steps.
As you work on being intimate on a daily basis, have some long-term goals to chase together. Laugh together, build trust, and support one another. With that, it will be possible for you to become more intimate.