Intimacy requires an ongoing focus and priority of seeking to know our partner more deeply and sharing life together. It involves being vulnerable and being fully invested emotionally instead of holding back emotionally to protect one’s self. Couples have to foster oneness throughout their relationship by building the following areas of intimacy: emotional, spiritual, recreational, financial, intellectual, and physical intimacy.
Being purposeful in fostering emotional intimacy by communicating vulnerable self-disclosures, and responding with understanding, validation and care to your partner is instrumental in maintaining a loving passionate relationship. Giving gracious, charitable judgments sets the tone for intimacy. Being present and staying emotionally engaged is essential in fostering emotional intimacy. When partners are engaged emotionally through empathy and validation, they are showing that they honor and cherish their partner.
Fostering recreational intimacy involves prioritizing time with each other with fun, novel experiences in addition to having daily couple time. Engaging in fun activities that activate our mind, body, and emotions can increase the connection between spouses. Having weekly date nights in which couples try new things or have novel experiences together allows a couple to enter into new and different experiences that recreates the euphoric honeymoon chemicals of earlier times in their relationship. Taking turns planning weekly date nights with fun novel activities shows that both partners are invested in prioritizing their relationship. When couples are purposeful and plan ahead for recreational time and envision their future together, they experience a sense of closeness.
While faith in God is first a personal experience, spiritual intimacy with a spouse involves sharing deep discussions about spiritual matters. Sharing in spiritual practices and sharing vulnerable thoughts, feelings and experiences regarding our relationship with God can bring a deeper sense of connection. If religion is a shared commonality, spiritual intimacy may involve reading through a book of worship together nightly, praying together, and attending church together.
Financial intimacy involves developing a budget together, transparency regarding finances, and shared financial goals. Couples often have different financial personalities and financial interests. They enter into marriage with different views, values and goals in how they will earn, save, spend, give and invest money. Coming together and working through a financial plan and budget can increase intimacy.
Intellectual intimacy involves being purposeful in sharing beliefs and viewpoints, and respecting one another’s viewpoints even when one disagrees. When spouses share intellectually, they are inviting their spouse into the inner world of their mind. Many opportunities exist to learn about new topics and issues with our spouses. Couples can enjoy intellectual stimulation through discussing topics or participating in new learning experiences together. Enriching minds together strengthens the couple connection and helps avoid potential boredom that comes with a routine lifestyle.
Physical intimacy is being affectionate towards one another. It’s the ongoing daily kisses, touches, and hugs that show your partner that you care at times that you could not be sexually intimate. Engaging with our spouse sexually involves engaging our emotions, our minds, hearts, souls and bodies. Removing emotion and connection defrauds the design and intention of an intimate sexual experience with our spouse. Fostering all six areas of intimacy culminates in the oneness that produces great passionate sex.
Often couples who have been married for a long time feel that they know everything there is to know about their spouse. However, individuals are always changing so it is good to continue fostering communication. Hopes, dreams, desires and goals often change throughout the lifespan. If couples choose to live a purposeful lifestyle of cultivating intimacy with one another, they can have a deep connection that surpasses the temporary euphoria of a new relationship.