Improving the intimacy in your relationship
It is not people’s feelings and wants that cause problems in marriage but the discounting and disallowing of these feelings and wants that cause problems in marriage
Greenberg and Johnson, 1988
We are meant to connect and belong and when that doesn’t happen we are often left feeling like something is missing.
Intimacy is being close to another person. When couples say they lack closeness, sometimes they mean sexual or physical closeness and sometimes they mean emotional closeness or both.
We achieve intimacy when we have clear communication, mutual decision making and empathy for ourselves and the other person.
So as a couple it is helpful to explore the following things to build intimacy:
- What is your closeness and what does intimacy mean to you?
- What do you do, think and feel about the intimacy in your relationship?
- What do you think causes your lack of intimacy?
Couples sometimes need help to listen to each other and hold their reactions so each person can feel heard and understood and have their thoughts and feelings allowed and acknowledged.
My 3 tips to increase the intimacy in your relationship when you talk to each other
- Take turns to feel and express your thoughts and feelings while the other person holds their reaction.
- Talk in chunk size pieces so your partner can listen and understand you and reflect what they hear and understand you saying (and vice versa)
- Tell your partner about your expectations and beliefs and be kind to yourself and your partner.
It is tough to work through stuff on your own. Sometimes it can be helpful to seek help. If you choose to do that make sure:
A, You find a supportive empathic therapist who will allow you both to come as you are and help you unfold how it is for you in the relationship and reveal how it is for the other person
B. Each person in a couple needs to be able to feel heard and understood.
C. With the help of the therapist both people will be able or will be enabled to share how it is for them. This exploration will reveal patterns in the relationship. Both people will be able to explore what they do, think and feel and what sense they make of all that.
Hopefully this way of talking will open up new possibilities for you and your partner and your intimate life together.