Intimacy is not just about sex, it’s a form of healthy vulnerability. It’s a willingness to build an emotional connection through opening up and getting into deeper conversations that really matter. Being vulnerable and welcoming intimacy into your life requires a ton of courage and a certain level of emotional resilience. You’re letting your guard down and that can be really scary.
For me, real intimacy was something I had been seriously lacking before meeting my husband. I always tried to be someone that my previous partners could love by watering down my opinions or changing them entirely. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I realized how wrong my approach was. His willingness to be vulnerable with me gave me permission to be exactly who I was – creating this foundation of trust and intimacy I’d never experienced before.
Real, authentic, once-in-a-lifetime relationships require this level of intimacy – it is the glue that holds a couple together and allows them to share experiences and build something greater than their individual parts. Creating it isn’t a one-and-done scenario. It’s a process of discovery with each other – a curiosity about how and why your partner makes their decisions.
If you’re willing to commit to being vulnerable and cultivating intimacy in your relationship – here are a few of the things we’ve continued to do to keep our intimacy alive and well:
1 -Full-Disclosure: I’m talking about sharing the things you’ve never told anyone else. For example, my husband never understood why I refused to leave the house without a full face of makeup – he thought I was beautiful without it and it drove him insane whenever it came up. One night I opened up and told him about a time in 6th grade when a 7th grade boy turned to me in the lunch line and told me my “eyes made me look retarded.” That was the last day I left my house without eye makeup on. Once I shared my “why” his frustration turned into understanding and empathy.
2 – Daily Connects: A more recent addition to our intimacy toolkit is our morning meeting. Every single morning we sit down together and I write “good”, “will improve” and “today’s goals” in my journal. We review yesterday together and talk through the outcomes of whatever decisions we had made together. We also talk about our individual challenges and help each other stay accountable to our goals. This has been the single thing that has made the biggest impact on our productivity together.
3 – Be Mindful of your Habits and Patterns: Over time every relationship becomes somewhat predictable. You feel comfortable with your partner always being there for you and vice versa. This comfort can be a beautiful thing – but if those routines become too rigid they can lack emotion and real connection. Worse, if they take a negative turn they can create anger and resentment. One way to enjoy the comfort, while making sure your relationship is still fully connected – is to plan occasional interruptions to your pattern. Our method – girls nights, guys weekends and time away. We interrupt our routine by spending time with friends outside of the house – create a little disruption to allow for flexibility and growth.
4 – Practice Gratitude: Everyone wants to feel appreciated and expressing your gratitude for each other makes you more likely to hold space for understanding and empathy. You begin to look for ways to appreciate your partner – rather than ways in which they inconvenience you or drive you crazy. Feeling gratitude is great, but expressing it and sharing your feelings with your partner will create good vibes all around. We’ve made this part of our daily connect routine by thanking each other for their part in the previous day’s accomplishments.
…since we plan on sticking with this whole marriage thing – what other tips do you have for keeping the flame burning in your relationship? I’d love to add them to our intimacy building arsenal!