Secrets to Maintaining Emotional Intimacy

Secrets to Maintaining Emotional Intimacy

Amidst the hustle of everyday activities and day-to-day living, it is often difficult for couples to find time to replenish and nurture their own relationships. Children, housework, and jobs are just a few of the things that can hinder time spent alone with the intention of using that time to grow closer together. It cannot be understated, though, how vitally important it is to pay close attention to your partner’s needs for emotional intimacy and security. The following tools are not meant to be a cure-all for relationship struggles and difficulty; every relationship experiences hardships. But by using these strategies, the closeness you feel to your partner can make the hard times a little easier.

What you can do to maintain emotional intimacy

1. Spend time together

First, one of the simplest ways of securing your partner’s trust and enhancing intimacy is by spending quality time together! With packed schedules, we often forget to include our loved ones in the hourly time slots. This can be disastrous! Talk with your partner about the best times and days for the two of you to spend together. Setting aside time may require one or both of you to be a bit flexible with other scheduled activities. Remember to always put your partner first and to give your time. You may have responsibilities to fulfill, but it is important to never forget your biggest fan and greatest supporter.

2. Make your partner feel special

Second, do little things to show your loved one just how special they are to you. This can be something as simple as washing the dishes, cooking a meal, or cleaning the car. So how do these kinds of tasks enhance or encourage emotional intimacy? Think of the bond between a mother and child. Without  care and attention of a mother for her child, that bond is not as strong. As the child ages, caretaking tasks change, but overall the position of nurturing remains the same. Similarly, in a relationship with a spouse, time spent doing rather than simply being there for the other person can speak volumes. This can encourage closeness both physically and emotionally.

3. Be thoughtful and intentional

Speaking of physical closeness, it is so important to be intentional! Physical intimacy in the form of sexual or non-sexual contact is essential to a lasting relationship but can also encourage emotional closeness and openness. It is often difficult for those who lean too heavily on physical touch in the relationship to engage in true emotional intimacy. Being intentional and thoughtful about the meaning behind the touch can create a balance and allow for physical contact to be a conduit for other forms of intimacy.Though it is not always the most appropriate form of affection, gift giving can be an easy way to promote closeness in the relationship. Contrary to what many believe, gifts do not have to be elaborate, costly, or material to be meaningful. Many of the most valuable gifts come in the form of something thoughtful and creative. While this may not be a direct answer for promoting emotional intimacy, it can provide the open door creating time for intimacy.

4. Express in words how you feel

Lastly, but perhaps the most important, is the use of words to encourage closeness and connectedness in your relationship. There is scientific evidence to support the physical power words have over our minds and bodies. So then, if you have the choice to speak either positively or negatively to your significant other, how much more likely will you be to speak words of life? Unfortunately, in times of frustration or anger, it is easy to overlook the power our words have and use ones that are harsh. When being more attentive to the words that leave your mouth, you can encourage emotional intimacy by creating a safe and protected place for you loved one to be open and honest.

Emotional intimacy does not have to look perfect or fairytale-like in order to be true. And maintaining it is an even harder task than creating it. You and your partner have to be willing to set aside personal needs for the needs of one another. It will likely look rough and not feel as though the effort is paying off. But if you are diligent and pursue a deeper connection with one another, the process will become less difficult and more enjoyable over time.

Elizabeth McCormick is a Licensed Social Worker and mental health counselor at the University of Evansville. She has worked for several years with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families and has pursued continued education in the fields of suicide prevention and community awareness. She is an advocate for learning and has had the opportunity to teach college courses in the fields of Human Services, Sociology, and Communication Studies.

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