One of the biggest struggles that face life partners is building intimacy. Often Partners confuse intimacy with sex. That may be due to the expectations created by movies and television. Intimacy is always the strongest and healthiest when built outside the bedroom. When it is strong and flourishing, it can be taken into the bedroom and enjoyed. Throughout the life partnership, it is important to continue to nurture that intimacy. Here are some great ways to do that:
Say please and thank you. It is easy to take a partner for granted, and basic courtesy is often the first thing to go.
Be nice. Treat your partner kindly. Just as courtesy is often ditched, so kindness may be thrown out the window. A quick test for this is to ask yourself if you treat people in your place of business better than you treat your partner.
Hugs, kisses, snuggles, hand-holding– these are all intimacy building blocks.
Look at each other when speaking. It’s easy to think that you are too busy to slow down and actually focus on the person with whom you spend your life.
When you are eating together, sit across from one another. This allows you to look into each other’s eyes. When we do this, our brains connect in ways they cannot when sitting shoulder to shoulder. By the way, this can only happen in person, not using platforms such as FaceTime or Skype.
Develop tech-free zones. My recommendations are the dining table (including restaurants), the bedroom, and the car. These are places for focusing on one another. Be present with your partner and enjoy the conversation.
Share your day. Don’t do this as soon as you walk in the door. Give each other time to decompress. After greeting one another when returning home, wait an agreed upon length of time, coming back together when you are able to focus on one another. Avoid “How was your day?” and ask emotion-based questions such as, “What was the most surprising (or funniest or most disappointing) thing that happened today?” These questions will bring opportunities to share your experiences, and thus yourselves, with one another.
Establish a weekly date night. Guard that time, protecting it from other commitments.Take turns planning fun things to do on your date. Enjoy a delicious meal, play a game, watch an old movie, go for a walk in the park. Continuing to share special experiences with one another just as you did before your partnership is an excellent intimacy builder.
Find the 8 year old in each other. What makes your partner feel like he or she did as a child? What brings a sense of wonder? Find that child in yourself, too. Play together, have fun together. Enjoy one another.
Building intimacy throughout a life partnership takes more time but is an investment that brings the reward of a solid relationship able to support a flourishing sex life.