- Intimacy is displayed in a romantic relationship when two people know and care for each other; these individuals are open, familiar, and vulnerable.
- There are four main types of intimacy: emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, sexual intimacy, and experiential intimacy.
- Fulfilling each area of intimacy helps to strengthen a bond; this is often a natural part of developing a relationship, but as we get closer to an individual the intimacy can die down.
- Fortunately, is it possible to find that spark again and improve every type of intimacy in your marriage.
- Try seeking out new experiences together as well as reveling in the closeness and comfort you have built in your relationship.
- Also, change up your routine to evoke intense emotions again and be sure to maintain good avenues of communication.
- Finally, find ways to put your love on display and show your spouse that you care for and support them.
Intimacy is displayed when two people know and care for each other. Typically, to be truly intimate, these individuals are open, familiar, and vulnerable in their relationship.
Intimacy supplements a close personal bond. While it can prove important to friendships as well as relationships between parent and child, siblings, and others, it is vital to romantic relationships. However, maintaining intimacy and keeping that flame alive in marriage isn’t always an easy feat. Fortunately, with reflection, hard work, and innovation, couples can keep the candle burning.
What Is Intimacy? 4 Types
Before you can work on the intimacy in your marriage or relationship, you must understand the four main types: emotional, intellectual, sexual, and experiential intimacy. Let’s explore these in terms of how they apply to a romantic relationship:
- Emotional intimacy: People experience emotional intimacy when they feel comfortable sharing their feelings—good and bad—with each other. For example, you tell your spouse that you feel insecure about your body after gaining a few pounds.
- Intellectual intimacy: When it comes to intellectual intimacy, people feel safe sharing their ideas and opinions, even when they don’t see eye to eye on the matter. For example, you and your spouse discuss your personal political opinions, even though you follow different parties.
- Sexual intimacy: Sexual intimacy occurs when people engage in sensual or sexual activities. For example, your spouse pulls you in close, lifts your chin, and kisses you passionately.
- Experiential intimacy: People engage in experiential intimacy when they bond during day to day activities or work together to accomplish a mission. For example, you help your spouse to fix the flat tire on your car, handing her the tools she needs.
Again, intimacy is about forming a bond and developing an unequivocal closeness. Naturally, as we get to know someone we’re romantically interested in, we both explore and fulfill emotional, intellectual, sexual, and experiential intimacy. But as we get closer and more comfortable with the other individual, that intimacy can die down.
Keep the Flame Alive: 5 Tips
Don’t worry. If you and your spouse are lacking that emotional, intellectual, sexual, or experiential intimacy, you can find that spark again. Here are 5 tips that will help you to improve every type of intimacy in your marriage:
1. Seek out new experiences.
As we touched on earlier, intimacy isn’t just about a physical connection. It’s also about closeness, familiarity. With that in mind, one of the best ways to improve intimacy with your spouse is to revel in new experiences. For example, you could embark on a major project together like renovating or flipping a house. Or, you might consider adding a new member to your family and adopt a dog! If you aren’t ready for such commitments, you could book a trip to an unfamiliar country and explore its depths together. These experiences are designed to challenge you—they’ll force you two to work closely together, and maybe even argue or despise each other along the way, all while ultimately solidifying your bond further and improving intimacy in your marriage.
2. Relish in your comfort and connection.
When we first start dating someone, everything is new and exciting. We experience intense emotions as we get to know the individual and become intimate with each other. Over time, though, this novelty and excitement lessens. While this can be disappointing, there is a flip side: the connection is deeper than ever before, signified by the comfort you feel in each other’s company. So, you can improve your intimacy with your spouse by thinking back to the initial stages of your relationship, appreciating its development, and relishing in just how comfortable you feel with your spouse.
3. Change up your routine.
On the other hand, it’s also helpful to switch up your routine every now and then to induce those intense emotions again. Go out of your way to do the unexpected and surprise your spouse. For example, book a weekend getaway and have everything ready to go—book the hotel, pack the bags, fill the car up with gas. You can also change up your routine and improve intimacy by spending a little time apart. There’s nothing wrong with taking separate trips every now and then. This will give you the chance to miss each other and you’ll feel happy and excited when you’re reunited.
4. Maintain good avenues of communication.
Often, we don’t set aside time to have a proper conversation with our spouse—be it about the love we have for them or, on the other hand, a problem in the relationship. However, maintaining good avenues of communication can supplement our effort to improve intimacy and keep that flame alive. Adina Mahalli, certified relationship consultant and sexual health expert, explains: “Relationships are constant work and can fall apart if there isn’t effort put in to maintain it. Small things go a long way while maintaining intimacy, and resentment can build up quickly if there are not good avenues of communication,” Mahalli explains. “Knowing and explaining to your partner on a regular basis why you’re in love with them and how you feel about them is another way to keep the flame burning. Disagreeing is also an important aspect of any relationship. Being able to calmly and respectfully tell your partner issues you’re having is essential for maintaining intimacy. Silence is the silent killer of relationships.”
5. Demonstrate your love and support often.
Make a habit out of showing your spouse that you love, care for, and support them. Many of us assume or insist that our partners know we love them—but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remind our spouses through both our words and our actions on a regular basis. For example, when your spouse gets home from work, look into their eyes and then kiss them. Ask how their day was. Put gas in their car. Write a cute message for them to find on the whiteboard in the kitchen. Find small ways to remind them that you care. This will help to improve with your spouse and keep that flame burning indefinitely.
Your marriage isn’t doomed if you and your spouse are struggling to connect on an emotional, intellectual, sexual, or experiential level. Instead, it can continue to grow if you take time for introspection and put in the work to keep that flame burning.