6 Tips for Growing Intimacy in Your Relationship

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

We see “perfect” couples portrayed all around us in movies, celebrity magazines, and social media posts. These pervasive images of people who seem to share deep intimacy, chemistry, and love without trying can make us feel discouraged about our own situation. But the truth is, healthy love requires hard work, consistency, and intentional growth! 

Do you feel like the emotional and physical intimacy between you and your partner is struggling or not where you’d like it to be? This doesn’t mean you’re failing as a couple. In fact, intimacy ups and downs can be a normal part of the seasons in a relationship.

canva pro stock image of a couple holding hands and silhouetted against a sunrise

The good thing is there are steps you can take to build and grow this intimacy, whether you’re in a brand-new relationship or a marriage of 30 years. Here are 6 useful tips to help you grow intimacy in your relationship. 

Open up About Your Emotions.

This is a deceptively simple tip for creating more intimacy in your relationship. You may think, “duh! My partner already understands my emotions.” But most working adults with significant responsibilities like kids fall into the automatic systems of their routines. 

We don’t always realise that we’re going through the motions of our day without actually stopping to listen to our partners when we have a chance to talk. We may unintentionally feed them canned responses when they ask how our day is going. We may forget to communicate how we’re really feeling, and instead just react with anger or frustration or impatience. 

No matter how long your partner has known you, remember this: they can’t read your mind, just like you can’t read theirs! The more we can be in the moment with each other and practice communicating our deeper emotions, the more emotional intimacy we’ll build between each other.

Take a big step or overcome a challenge together. 

Sometimes what a relationship needs, especially one that’s been long established, is to shake up the comfort and ordinariness of the routine you’ve created together. It’s easy to go on autopilot in a marriage. As humans we are drawn to the consistency and predictability of routines, schedules, and habits. 

But if we fail to change up our lifestyles or routines for long enough, we risk dulling the intimacy in our relationship. Taking a major risk, overcoming a challenge, or moving forward with a big step TOGETHER can transform your connection and propel intimacy. 

This is why couples often deepen their love after having a child, purchasing a home, or taking a year-long trip around the world. Even smaller things like hitting a financial milestone or learning a new skill together can build more intimacy.

Seek the guidance of a professional. 

If you genuinely feel like the lack of intimacy or emotional issues between you and your partner are negatively impacting your lives, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. 

There are plenty of resources – check out these articles on intimacy – and therapy platforms out there now, ready to help you work through the toughest chapter of your relationship. 

Even if you’re not at your breaking point, consider therapy as less of a last resort, and more of a regularly scheduled maintenance for the health of your relationship. 

Uplift and affirm your partner’s successes.

Oftentimes, we tend to focus on what we are receiving from our partner. We want to feel loved, seen, appreciated, and celebrated. This is natural, but it can also lead to a mindset of lack. 

When you are only focused on what your partner is and isn’t giving you, you may feel like you never have enough. Shifting your mindset towards how you can make your partner feel good often creates abundant intimacy. 

Finding ways to celebrate and affirm them for their successes, hard work, or personal strengths will strengthen your love for them. And it will also increase their desire to make you feel good in return!

Set aside time for in-depth conversation.

Similar to opening up about your emotions, it is hugely beneficial for couples to set aside time in their busy schedules each week to connect. These moments often get rarer and rarer the longer people are in a committed relationship with each other. 

Complacency or the ease of routines as a couple can set in, and we neglect to schedule time to genuinely talk to each other with depth, focus, and attention. We are distracted by our phones, by kids, and work duties. Slowly but surely, we get to a place where all our “conversations” involve small talk and questions about the logistics of the day. This can harm our ability to build intimacy. 

So set aside time each day or week to put your phones in another room, sit somewhere where you can be close and make eye contact, and truly check in about how life is going.

Take up a new hobby or enriching activity together. 

One of the best ways to bond with your partner and build intimacy is by taking up a new activity together. There’s something about learning a new skill or having an experience that enriches each other’s lives that can really bring you closer. You are both stepping out of your comfort zone in order to try something novel, which is a fantastic way to embrace each other’s unique strengths and cheer each other on. 

Take a workshop or weekly class on a subject you could both find value in, like an art class or personal training session. Take up running, or attend a talk by your favourite author or public speaker. Anything that stimulates your minds and requires you to learn something new together can do wonders for a relationship’s intimacy. 

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