For any relationship to survive the wrath of time, the building foundation, or what we call the core of the relationship has to be a strong one. In today’s hook-up culture, we often tend to forget the importance of emotional intimacy with our partners.
Emotional intimacy is the secret ingredient that is required to make a relationship strong to its very core. We often rely on sex too much to build a connection. There are so many couples who won’t have anything to look forward to in their relationships if sex is taken out from the equation.
Relationships are not one time investments, we need to put in efforts day in and day out ( this is not limited to our romantic relationships).
Very seldom (read: almost never) will you experience relationships that won’t have sad and hard days. To survive pitfalls and to emerge with an even stronger bond in that relationship you will have to build a connection that touches the soul. Find a way to connect with your partner, rather reconnect.
Although when we think about relationships, we more often than not think about romantic relationships, however, this article is not limited to your romantic relationships. Although certain tips might be exclusive to your romantic relationships, the majority of them can even be used for your platonic relationships.
The rule of thumb is that relationships require work, be it your romantic relationship or your platonic ones. You will have to put in constant effort and have an open communication to make the relationship stronger.
Here are a few tips and a few ways in which you can build beautiful intimate relationships and strong connections.
1) Explore Each Others Hobbies:
Exploring and taking part in each other’s hobbies can be a big step towards building an emotional connection. When you show interest and take initiative to participate in what your partner enjoys, it tells them that you care for them. Try understanding what they enjoy doing and why they enjoy it, this will give you a sneak peek into their mind and will help you understand them in a much better way. Even though sometimes you might feel that the interests of your partner contradicts your comfort zone, try taking efforts to be a part of it. Even though you can’t fully enjoy it, just being there for your partner will make them feel happy and connected to you.
2) Practice Active Listening
As wise men say, don’t just listen to respond but listen to understand. When someone (be it anyone, your romantic partner or a friend or a family member) talks to you and shares their story with you, give them your undivided attention. Listen to them carefully, ask questions whenever necessary, make them feel heard, listen to them with an open mind, don’t judge them when they share their feelings or insecurities with you, don’t invalidate their feelings or reject what they are saying. These small things go a long way in making your emotional bond stronger. Make sure your partner knows that they can talk to you about anything and everything. Provide them with a space where they can talk about the thoughts in their head without any hesitation.
3) Communicate Your Feelings
Learn how to communicate your feelings in a mature and patient manner. It is natural to sometimes experience negative feelings towards your partner, or disapprove of their actions, but instead of getting angry and bombarding them with negative emotions, express your feelings in a way that they don’t feel attacked. Being open about your feelings is key to a happy relationship. Don’t eat up your emotions and leave them unexpressed, it will only poison your relationship in the long run.
4) Go on Adventures Together
Doing things that will excite you and give you a feeling of an adventure will actually strengthen your bond. Be it going to an amusement park and sitting on rides, while you scream your lungs out or jumping off a cliff, whatever your heart can endure without going on a panic mode. These activities and experiencing fear together can form deeper emotional bonds. The thrill that you will experience will only give you the feeling of excitement that you might have found missing from your relationship.
5) Sit Together Silently
The ability to sit with your partner silently and just spending time together is also very important in building deep, meaningful connections. Admiring their natural state of being and just being able to be happy in each other’s company is the essence of a strong and unbreakable bond. We have to remember that you can’t have the feeling of adventure and excitement every day in your relationship but still can be happy and satisfied. If you learn to just enjoy the presence of each other without the need to do something exciting, that will be the time when you will experience happiness and a true and deep emotional connection every day in the relationship.
6) Go on Holidays Together
Taking breaks from your routine lives and going on holidays together, will give you the much needed time to reconnect with your partner. Discovering new places together, meeting new people and just diving into the unknown with someone will make you feel more connected with that person. It will magically deepen your connection, to be with someone in a place filled with strangers, you will feel more safe and secure with that person and more connected.
7) Take Breaks From Each Other
I know this sounds rather opposite, but spending little time apart and giving each other some space also plays an important role in building intimacy. Don’t take these breaks in a negative way, it is a healthy activity to maintain a certain amount of distance from each other and make time for yourself.
8) Play Games Together
Playing indoor games or outdoor games together can be a fun way to build intimacy. There are studies that reveal that playing games together can actually make you fall in love. Playing games together releases oxytocin or as a layman may call it “the love hormone”, which will deepen your emotional connection. The study conducted by Baylor University researchers discovered that playing board games or painting for an hour or two releases the amount of oxytocin, which has been linked with bonding, trust, and sexual attraction.
Also, it can be a fun and peaceful way to spend your Sunday afternoons.
9) Take Part In Social Services Together
Being a part of something that is bigger than you can make you feel connected. Doing good deeds together can also give you a chance to see the good in your partner that might be missing from your day to day life. Sharing that sense of satisfaction and happiness with each other can also translate to satisfaction and happiness in your own relationship.
10) Learn And Understand Each Others Language Of Love
Every individual has their own unique way of expressing and understanding love. We all speak a different language of love. In order to effectively communicate your love to your partner, you need to understand and then speak his or her language of love. Psychologists say there are 5 basic languages of love. Here is a list of five languages of love
i) Words of affirmation:
Some people understand love verbally, they want to be constantly reminded how much they mean to you and how important they are. They love being praised and appreciated. They need a verbal reminder of your love for them.
For some people, the feeling of love is communicated when they are being pampered with gifts. They need not be very expensive gifts or for that matter gifts that require any kind of money. It is the gesture that counts.
iii) Acts Of Service
Few people communicate love by fulfilling all their responsibilities towards you. Their idea of love involves completing the sets of duties towards each other. “Acts of service” can be anything from fixing the light bulb for your partner to washing dishes, mending the lawn doing laundry to giving financial stability. Few people feel loved when they feel that the person can take efforts for them and also takes care of all his or her duties towards them.
iv) Quality Time
For some people definition of love can be spending some good quality time together. That’s how they see love, that is spending time together doing and enjoying things together. For them, giving them the gift of your time and your attention can be the purest form of love. It doesn’t have to be expensive dates for it to be called spending quality time, simply staying at home cooking meals together and asking about each other’s lives can do the trick and make them feel loved.
v) Physical Touch
For certain people expression of love takes place through physical touch. Physical touch doesn’t necessarily mean to touch in a romantic way, a kiss on the forehead, holding hands, cuddling together and sleeping together, long emotional hugs, etc, all kinds of physical touch can convey your love to the other person.
So the first step towards building an intimate relationship would be to understand what the other person finds intimate. What they seem to understand as a gesture of love. What makes them feel loved and wanted. Which amongst the 5 languages of love do they speak?
11) Break Away From Technology And Spend Some Time In Nature Together
Say bye-bye to your cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc, etc. Spending time with your loved one in nature can feel therapeutic and can help you heal your emotional scars. Most of the time, we are so consumed in our use of technology and social media that we forget to pay attention to people who are actually with us. We sit across them but our attention is directed towards the world of social media. We are unaware of our surroundings. Spending time in nature has numerous health benefits, but spending that time with your loved one, away from the constant diversion of social media, can have various emotional benefits. You will experience the feeling of oneness and belonging. When you are in each other’s company without any third party distraction you can actually communicate on a different tangent. You can open up to each other about your feelings and desires, fears and insecurities and can actually have a wholesome discussion that will make you feel more connected to each other.
12) Cherish The Magic Of Physical Touch
One can’t stress enough on the power of physical touch. The intimacy that will develop when you constantly find ways to be in physical contact can’t be described in words. You should be able to touch your partner without thinking of sex. You will experience a magical feeling when you touch your partner out of love. Hug each other often. (Did you know hugging your loved one is actually a coping mechanism for stress and depression?). Hold each other and cuddle for a while before drifting off to sleep. Steal kisses as often as possible and watch yourself falling in love a little more every day. Give each other massages and back rubs, hold hands while watching a movie or taking a walk. You can even have playful fights, although it sounds silly, it will be fun and cute to be tangled around each other like that. Slow dance together, I don’t think I’ll have to sell you on that one, slow dances are romantic and intimate, being in that physical proximity and letting your bodies move together in sync will actually give you butterflies in your stomach.
Finding and building intimacy and emotional connection in today’s world is going to take a lot of conscious efforts from both sides. You will have to learn to enjoy small things together. You will need to have the willingness to be vulnerable in front of your partner and make them comfortable to be vulnerable around you. There needs to be a lot of acceptance of each other’s shortcomings and insecurities. This emotional and intimate connection that you will build, will give you a sense of satisfaction which you can treasure for the rest of your life.