Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is famous for having said, “Into each life some rain must fall,” meaning life is always going to throw us some heartache. This same sentiment can be said about relationships. Into each one some irritability, frustration and overall blah-ness tends to fall. But while it’s common for all couples to go through “the blahs,” you don’t have to throw in the towel and stay there. In fact, couples that put in the time and effort to reconnect with one another often feel even closer for it. If you would like to build intimacy with your partner, here are some easy ways to start that journey:
Focus and Listen
Thanks to the proliferation of digital media and mobile devices, we live in a world that seems to demand that we all become proficient multitaskers. The problem is that it’s hard to shut off this instinct. Most of us are hardly able to have a conversation with a loved one without checking our social media pages or texting a co-worker or friend. This inability to STOP and focus on just being with our partner can absolutely kill intimacy.
If you want to reconnect you’ve got to become aware of when your mind is wandering. You’ve got to really focus on your partner and actually listen with both ears to what they say. Being heard, really heard, makes us feel loved and cared for. By doing this for your partner you will not only make them feel loved and special, you will inspire them to reciprocate the same respect.
Do you struggle to hear? Try some mindfulness practice (read my blog with some helpful ways to practice here.)
Appreciate All They Do
It’s entirely too easy to take our loved ones for granted. Reconnecting requires that we appreciate who they are and all that they do in our lives.
Think of some things that you appreciate about your partner and thank them – with actual words, out loud. I see many couples who appreciate many things about their partner, but the words stay in their head versus being expressed out loud. Perhaps your spouse always takes out the trash without being asked. Maybe he/she brings you a cup of coffee in the morning when you first wake up, or do the dishes every night. Take the time to recognize the efforts and say thank you from the heart. You will both feel great.
Sure, building intimacy is important, but you don’t have to be so serious about it! One of the absolute best ways to reconnect with your partner is to laugh with them. This is especially true for people who have been together for quite a few years. You forget who each other used to be – or maybe you’ve even lost touch with who they are now. But by experiencing novel and interesting activities together, you can learn new things about each other and see your relationship in a new light.
For some couples, building intimacy can require even more work, especially if there are trust issues. In these cases, working with a couples therapist can help partners feel safe enough to work through their issues, learning new skills, so they can reconnect.
And here’s a secret… Relationship intimacy is great foreplay and can lead to physical intimacy!
If you or someone you know is interested in exploring ways to make relationships better and stronger, I would be happy to see how I may be able to help. Call 919-891-0525 today for a free, 15-minute consultation. Appointments may be scheduled for my Wake Forest counseling office or online.