This is the type of connection that keeps you together forever!
Most of us have experienced situational intimacy when gazing into our partner's eyes during sex or over a candlelit dinner.
If you've experienced those sweet moments, you know how truly fleeting they are — leaving you wanting more. However situational intimacy, alone, does not allow a marriage to thrive.
Why Intimacy is Essential
When life gets busy, daily tasks get in the way of intimacy. When work, chores, and child rearing are top priority, cultivating intimacy is probably the last thing on your mind. And if you try to connect with your partner and don't get the response you hoped for, you likely hesitate to try again.
The reality is, successfully cultivating daily moments of intimate connection results in a deeply fulfilling marriage by:
- Keeping romance alive
- Helping both individuals feel understood, connected, cherished, and loved
- Having each other's backs and knowing you're on the same team
- Reducing conflict and misunderstanding
- Increasing sexual satisfaction
- Creating an overall sense of well-being
- Increasing each partner's self-esteem and self-worth
Cultivating intimacy also reduces the chances for cheating and divorce. And ultimately, intimacy is essential to a happy and healthy marriage.
The Deeper Meaning of Intimacy
Intimacy is more than just great sex after candlelit dinners. It's about letting your spouse experience the real you — the good, the not so good, and self-perceived bad. When you're hiding imperfect parts of yourself, you're rejecting yourself and showing up as someone else. Real intimacy can't exist when one (or both) are trying to appear a certain way and showing up as someone else.
The deeper meaning of intimacy happens when you release yourself from the expectations of what you should fully be and embrace being your true self — warts, flaws, imperfections, and all. When you're your true self, you're comfortable in your own skin which also helps your spouse feel comfortable in his skin. By showing up as yourselves, you get to know each other at a deeper level, and in turn, cultivate a more intimate connection.
The deeper meaning of intimacy is found in the journey, not in the instant gratification mentality cultivated by society. This journey is a process of time and patience. You're beautifully simple and complex at the same time — simple like the shape of an onion and complex like the many layers of an onion's anatomy. Peeling back these layers of being, to reveal the core of who you are fosters a deeper sense of intimacy.
How to Cultivate Real Intimacy
If real intimacy is missing in your marriage, it's not your fault. Intimacy wasn't a subject taught in school. Here's the main lesson you should know: real intimacy is more about who you're being and less about what you're doing (i.e. situational intimacy).
If you desire a happy, healthy and fulfilling marriage; here are six ways to cultivate a deeper sense of intimacy.
1. Say what you mean
Censoring your words or concerns, because you're worried about how your spouse is going to react, doesn't allow you to feel heard and causes misunderstanding. Since real and lasting intimacy is about letting your spouse experience the real you, say what you mean. Doing so helps your partner feel comfortable in saying what they mean, and brings you two closer.
2. Be vulnerable
Real intimacy doesn't always feel good. It includes letting the one you love inside, even when you don't feel great emotionally. If feeling hurt, instead of shutting down or being passive aggressive, explore the emotions coming up and share them with your spouse in a loving manner.
3. Show compassion
Real intimacy is messy sometimes because the raw, uncut aspects of you and your partner usually surface. Have compassion when this happens. You're both doing the best you can based on where you're at, the lessons you're meant to learn, and growth you're meant to experience.
4. Listen openly
When you don't agree with what your partner is saying or doing, don't judge them or and make them wrong. Instead, listen openly by finding the grains of truth and let different perspectives exist (unless they're truly immoral or unethical).
5. Be fully present
If you find yourself preoccupied with other things when you're with your spouse, nudge your attention to the present moment. We experience intimacy in the present moment, and being present as much as possible deepens your connection.
6. Focus on your partner's wonderful qualities
After years of being together, your partner's quirky habits and characteristics likely drive you crazy! Instead of letting those quirks get to you, see them as your partner's unique, highly lovable imprint. What you focus on is what you experience more of — so focus on your partner's wonderful qualities.
You don't have to wait for your spouse to show more intimacy in order to have a happy, healthy and fulfilling marriage. Start cultivating intimacy and you'll influence your spouse in a positive way. Because of the nurturing environment you'll be creating for your marriage to thrive, he will likely feel inspired to reciprocate the intimacy in his own way.
How will you begin to cultivate more intimacy in your marriage?
Janet Ong Zimmerman is the founder of Love for Successful Women, and creator of the Woo Course: 9 Juicy Ways to Bring Out a Man's Desire to Woo You. She works with successful women who are self-aware, courageous, and committed to finding the love they desire. Take the Does he woo you? quiz and learn if he is wooing, dating or using you.