15 Ways to Build Intimacy in your Relationship
Hey friends! Today’s snippet comes from the letter “I” for Intimacy from my upcoming ebook “The A to Z Guide to Thriving in the First Year of Marriage”. In this chapter I will provide as many examples of intimacy as I can to get your wheels turning to create your own with your partner.
Intimacy is not the same as sex, but y'all already knew that, right?
Well in case you didn't, I’ll break it down for you. Intimacy is about the need to be supported, to receive affection, and have the opportunity to express a range of emotions. Within a happy, healthy relationship, sex can be the ultimate act of intimacy. Without love and/or trust, often times sex is just an act. Yes, it may feel great, but that does not mean that there is a mental, emotional, or spiritual connection there. I know some women believe that the physical act of sex is one of the most intimate things that you can share with someone. However, I also know that some of us pick the wrong partners sometimes or have been yonni popping all up and through our “hoe phase”, so we’re not going to count that as intimacy (wink, wink).
SO WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INTIMACY?
Here are a few of the types of intimacy that I'm familiar with:
Emotional- talking to your partner about your innermost thoughts- sharing childhood memories, fears, heartbreak, and accomplishments
Intellectual- sharing ideas and thoughts about stuff that you care about- your favorite books, music, podcasts, or articles you’ve read
Spiritual- sharing life changing or awe inspiring moments together- worshiping together, praying together, spending alone time in nature
Experiential - sharing experiences together- your first trip to (fill in the blank), trying a new recipe, horseback riding, swimming in a cave
Physical - not just sex, but being affectionate with one another- hugs, kisses, and cuddles
To sum it up, intimacy is all about spending time together and being open to being vulnerable with one another. More importantly, it’s about knowing someone deeply and being able to be free and authentically you in their presence. It's the way that your partner leans over and whispers something special in your ear. It's how he/she touches the small of your back when you’re in a crowd. It's how you talk about your deepest, darkest secrets and fears. Intimacy is trying something new together for the first time that scares you both. It's all of the little things that don’t make it to the GRAM and probably shouldn't be posted on social media. It makes it all the more special when it stays between the two of you.
WHAT DOES INTIMACY LOOK LIKE FOR US?
Below are a few examples of intimate moments between the Mayweather's and ideas that you can try:
Intimacy is when we sit on the couch and hold hands while watching a movie or tv show. It doesn't even have to be a RomCom.
When he offers a foot rub because I’ve been on my feet all day. He's also trying to stop me from spending money lol.
When I mention that I'm stressed and maybe I should take a hot bath and he takes the initiative to run my bath and keeps our son entertained so he doesn't burst into the bathroom.
It's when I told him my fears about launching Meet Mrs. Mayweather and all the reasons why it wouldn't work out and he assured me that I am enough and worthy.
It is reading his business plan and watching his videos when I am dog tired, but pushing through and giving feedback in a loving way.
It is going to a sex shop to buy something new that we can use together.
It is watching the type of porn that he likes even though I find it to be fake and contrived, but not judging him for it and giving him a happy ending anyway.
It is him helping me take down my braids.
It is walking along the beach at night hand in hand, talking about our future.
It’s us on a 2 hour road trip listening to an inspirational YouTube video and talking through it when we have "ahha" moments.
It's talking about times in our lives when we knew God was guiding us, because there’s no other possible explanation for why we made it through.
It is praying together in the morning, before we go to sleep, and everywhere in between.
It is trying a new vegetarian Indian restaurant for lunch and having no idea what to order.
It's putting a piece of furniture together or doing yard work, like pulling weeds or mowing the lawn.
It is going phone-less. Sometimes we place our phones in the middle of the table at dinner or we pick one whole day to just be together without our phones. On vacation we left our phones in the safe in our room am it was amaze-balls!
See those weren't too fancy, right? The best part is that many of these things are FREE. You don't need a lot of money to get intimate with your partner, you just have to be intentional with your time. Hopefully, you will find that you and your partner do these things on a normal basis without even thinking about it. However, in case you don't, below are a few ways to get started.
TIPS TO BUILD INTIMACY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP NOW
Don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t have to include all of the different types of intimacy in your relationship. Determine which ones are most important to you two and focus on those.
Pick one of the types of intimacy above and try to work on it with your partner today. It can be as simple as sharing something personal that you may have never told them before. (Ex. your favorite childhood moment, the first award you ever won, the last time you cried, etc).
For your next date night, make plans to do something new that neither of you have ever tried. Then, take turns planning date nights so you both do things you each like.
You won’t build intimacy overnight. Give yourselves grace to work on it one day at a time.
If this is someone that you plan to spend the rest of your life with, you are going to have to open up and be vulnerable if you want your relationship to last. Yes, your bestie knows all of your deep dark secrets, but your partner should know a good deal of them too, if not all. A big red flag is if you feel like you have to hide who you are to be accepted by your partner. An even bigger red flag is if you are afraid to open yourself up to someone else. Reflect on why you don't want to. It could be that it's simply not the right person for you or you may have some repressed issues that you need to deal with through therapy. I've been there before and I did the work... Thank God!
Want more? Go request a free copy of my upcoming eBook "The A to Z Guide to Thriving in the First Year of Marriage".