When most people hear intimacy, they think sex.
And, it’s true, there is physical intimacy– and regular sex is important for any successful relationship.
However, true intimacy is much more about communication and what we think of our partner than anything. Chances are, if your communication is suffering, so is your sex life.
If that’s you, or you simply want to a little more intimacy in your relationship, there’s a lot you can do to take your intimacy to the next level and make your relationship stronger than ever.
If fear is the great enemy of intimacy, love is its true friend.
– Henri Nouwen
Here are five ways to take your intimacy to the next level:
1. Take a nightly stroll
One of the simplest and most effective ways to take your intimacy to the next level is to set up a recurring time for a stroll together.
For most, this will be a nightly stroll shortly after both of you get home from work. Hold each other’s hand and spend the time talking with one another about each other, your relationship, or a shared interest, whether it’s a challenge one of you is facing, your life goals, or reminiscing on the past (first date, etc.).
The physical touching from holding hands combined with some deep conversation is deceptively powerful because it fires off all kinds of signals to the brain that make us happier, more relaxed, and more willing to open up.
2. Have some pillow talk
Similarly, if a nightly stroll isn’t a fit, you can also try some pillow talk.
This is uniquely powerful because you’re both relaxing in bed, which easily opens itself up to physical intimacy in itself, combining nicely with some deep one-on-one conversation.
3. Stare at each other
Here’s an interesting one: try staring at one another for five straight minutes. Afterward, talk about it.
This is one of those things that sounds simple and almost stupid at first, however, you quickly find out has much more to it hiding beneath the surface.
When you’re forced to stare are your partner for such a long period of time, you often go through waves of emotion and feeling: joy, embarrassment, arousal, annoyance, boredom, doubt, laughter, and the list goes on.
Within that short period of time, you get to see into your partner in a way that few ever do.
Most of us live our life running from one thing to the next, rarely spending much real quality time with our partner (which I define as face-to-face communication or shared experience of some kind). This exercise forces you to come to a complete stop and see into one another’s soul. Think of it as a kind of joint meditation.
4. Sweat together
You know the saying, “couples who sweat together stay together.” Okay, maybe that’s not a saying. But it should be.
Working out with one another is a sure-fire way to charge up the intimacy because it can combine with the physical with the conversational aspects of a relationship.
Not only are you spending time getting to work, literally sweating, and that is bonding in itself, you’re being with one another without worrying about looking perfect or impressing each other. After all, you’re there to get a good work out in.
However, despite that last point, working out together also has the ability to supercharge your sex life. So, three-for-one-special.
5. Appreciate one another
As we do with everything else in life, our relationships tend to be nine parts struggling and fighting, and only one part truly enjoying one another.
To change that dynamic and take your intimacy to another level in a more unique way, take a few minutes each day (before bed or another set time) to express appreciation for your partner.
Tell them three things you love and appreciate about them– even simple things like their smile, how thoughtful they are, or the way they are with people– and have them do the same. Do this daily and while you’re sitting with one another face-to-face to maximize the effect.