Have you felt as if you and your significant other are drifting apart as the years go on?
Do you struggle to anticipate or understand your spouse’s point of view?
Is it difficult to be vulnerable with your partner, sharing your thoughts, goals, and dreams?
Finding ways to connect on deeper levels is crucial to intimacy in relationships. Although sexual intimacy is significant, there are multiple ways to cultivate lasting connection. Thankfully, it IS possible to purposefully develop deeper intimacy by implementing a few new practices.
There are four other forms of connection that are just as crucial to a relationship as sexual intimacy. Consider the list below to see how you can be intentional about connecting on all levels:
1. Physical Connection
Sex isn’t the only way to demonstrate tenderness. If you feel your relationship needs more in the way of physical touch, try to implement one of the following suggestions:
- Take a stroll while holding hands. Appreciate the comfort of this touch and the feeling of your hands in one another’s grasp.
- Give a warm embrace. Take at least 30 seconds to absorb this interaction. Extended hugs compel the brain to deliver oxytocin, a chemical that creates feelings of affection.
- Take turns massaging one another. A short shoulder massage can foster connection while also providing a kind favor to your partner.
- Snuggle up on your couch or in a hammock together. Whether you are reading books beside one another, watching a movie, or counting the stars, nestling up together is a great way to connect physically.
2. Emotional Connection
Expressing yourself honestly and allowing your partner the space to do the same will help you both to feel seen, validated, and appreciated. Emotional connection can even be found in moments of silence. However, making yourself emotionally accessible takes intentionality. By choosing to listen with attentiveness, demonstrating interest with eye contact, acknowledging your partner’s position, and reviewing his/her ideas, you can promote deeper emotional connection. Position yourself for success by taking a few simple steps:
- Practice discerning your emotions. It is far easier to share your heart when you know exactly what’s in it!
- With that, consider what you need to feel emotionally supported.
- Communicate those thoughts and feelings, giving your partner the opportunity to better understand and support you as an individual.
3. Intellectual Connection
To connect intellectually, you must be willing to share your thoughts and ideas, learning to communicate with clarity and openness. Deeper connection is fostered through discussions that compel you both to think about topics beyond the scope of daily activities, life updates, people, or materialism. For instance: What fulfills you? What is the most difficult life lesson you have ever learned?
While often out of good manners and social courtesy you may avoid challenging topics, in marriage these conversations should be encouraged. After all, processing the hard questions can stimulate new ideas, opinions, and personal development as individuals and as a couple. If this is especially outside your comfort zone, get started with a few of these suggestions:
- As a child, what did you hope you be when you grew up? How has that ambition changed?
- What topics are most important to you politically? Where do you hope to see this country in twenty years?
- Are there any traditions that are important for you to carry on?
- What is your greatest fear? How can I be a support in moments that you feel overwhelmed or scared?
4. Developmental Connection
Choose to take on new tasks and challenges together as a couple on a regular basis. Whether constructing a complex puzzle, discovering a new hiking path, or painting the dining room, by learning and growing as a pair, your connection will deepen. This doesn’t require talking, just a little intentional effort and teamwork!
Promoting intimate connection through physicality, emotional vulnerability, intellectual conversations, and personal development will nourish and reinforce the strength of your relationship. Which of these four areas of connection do you need to focus on today?