Last time, we talked about signs that emotional intimacy in your relationship was lacking. Maybe you’re feeling lonely while living with your partner. Maybe you’re less affectionate, and sex is something you put on a back burner. Perhaps you’re arguing more, finding it harder to connect and harder to find the right thing to say. You no longer feel like the positive, proactive team that could take on the world together.
If any of that sounds familiar, take heart. There’s hope. There are things you can do today to start rebuilding that emotional intimacy you had when you were starting out together. It’s important because couples who share and understand each other’s feelings and aspirations are happier than those who don’t.
When you share your secrets and reveal your vulnerable areas, you allow yourself to connect more deeply with your partner. Sharing your deepest truths is an act of trust, and trust is the very foundation of an intimate relationship. When you’ve opened your heart and soul to your partner, you demonstrate that you are in a secure relationship. You feel safe. You can divulge your less-than-attractive traits and still feel solid in your marriage. You can be yourself.
If that safe, trusting feeling has waned, there are a few things you can do immediately to start building that intimacy that is so crucial to a successful relationship.
Share Selective Thoughts and Feelings. You can spend a very long time with someone without letting them near your vulnerabilities. If you both do that, it’s a standoff. But one of you has to be the first to relent, showing you care and trust enough in your partner to let him into your deepest thoughts. If it’s been a while since you talked about anything other than logistics, start small. Choose to tell something that happened at work that you ordinarily wouldn’t discuss. You don’t have to disclose your deepest, darkest secrets all at once. After you’ve opened up, and it may take a few tries, your partner will feel safer to share, too.
Catch Your Partner Doing Good Things and Tell Him. When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, it’s natural to begin to take your partner for granted. To forget to tell him how you appreciate him. You’re busy and preoccupied by life. You’re only human. But it behooves you to make sure you to take the time to notice how special your partner is to you, and to make it known to him from time to time. Yes, he takes out the garbage before you have to think about it. And yes, she cooks dinner every night without you having to worry about it. So, take the time to comment how you appreciate his or her efforts. Or just let them know, from time to time, that you love them.
Make Sure Your Partner Is Sexually Satisfied. It’s not enough to have regular or frequent sex. In fact, you don’t have to have sex very often. But it’s important to have sex when both parties are sexually satisfied. If satisfaction is continually one-sided, the unsatisfied partner is bound to feel resentment. Take the time—and the emotional braveness—to share your desires and to learn your partner’s. It takes courage to be vulnerable about your physical needs and feelings, but your partner is not a mind reader. He needs you to express your needs and you need to hear his. When sexual satisfaction is reciprocated, your relationship is bound to improve both in and out of the bedroom.
Make an Effort to Bring Your Partner Pleasure. Does her face light up when you bring her flowers? Does he thrill at the sight of buffalo chicken wings at game time? Remember when doing things like that made your relationship fuller, more delightful, more intimate? There’s a reason people plan date nights and resolve to keep them no matter what. Or do something spur-of-the-moment, as long as it’s together. Get an ice cream. Watch the sunset. These are the moments that make a relationship special and meaningful.
You can do any one of these things—or all of them—today. That’s how soon you can begin to get your relationship back on track.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact