5 Easy Couples Exercises That'll Immediately Bring You Closer

Sometimes, even a vacation won't save your relationship.

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Couple leaning on each other, building intimacy through emotional connection DAPA Images | Canva

Intimacy: everyone wants it, and alluring advertisements suggest you can easily have it if you go to the right beautiful spot. You only need to get to the beach of a particular resort or the right romantic bed and breakfast, and you can be like the couples in the pictures, who are walking on the sand, arms around each other, toasting over dinner with their eyes locked.

Vacation, unfortunately, is not enough to build intimacy once it has been lost. The good news is there are steps you can take to create intimacy at home — before you need to go to the therapist's office.


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Here are 5 easy couples exercises that will bring you closer:

1. Remember the past

Make a list of five specific times when you felt particularly close to your partner and ask them to do the same. Think about what each time was like for you, but don't overthink it. Instead, let memories surface. Then, when you both have several times in mind, sit down with each other and share. Don't worry you may have selected different times. Just try to know what was special to each of you so you can know yourselves better separately and as a couple.


For most people, it helps to jot things down as you identify what you need and want out of the relationship. When you talk to your partner, it's important to give each other safety and attention. This is a time for exploring, not for challenging.

They hug to bring them closer fizkes via Shutterstock

For my clients Rose and Dan, this exercise helped them realize the most important intimate moments they had together were the long trips they have taken twice a year for nine years to visit family.


"It's just Dan and me in the car, and we end up catching up on everything, even on fights we didn't finish," Rose said. "It's when I feel closest to him."

Dan laughed, "That's the first thing on my list, too. I realized that sometimes we started mad at each other, and I expected conflict, but by the end of the ride, we were holding hands. It's just the two of us, like when we were first together,"

"Sounds like a recipe for disaster for a lot of couples," I said. "Driving together for hours, no distractions. What makes it intimate for you?"

"I guess I always remember I like her," Dan said. Rose nodded.

"It's like when we were young, just you and me in a bubble," she added.


Once they both identified their experience during these rides, they were more conscious of what had gotten them into trouble as a couple. They had gotten into a pattern of not giving each other enough time. It seems so obvious that anything as important as love and being a good couple takes ongoing time and attention. No one would expect their work to do well if they ignored it, yet it's all too easy for couples to expect love and closeness to feed themselves.

Honesty brings them closer to each other MaeManee via Shutterstock

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2. Do something special

Another couple intimacy-building exercise to bring you closer to your partner is doing something your partner loves. This lets you know more about who they are. You may hate boats, but if your partner loves sailing, you should go with them on a trip to see why they love it so much. Talk to each other about the experience and see if you got who the other is in those moments instead of rejecting the idea outright.

3. Be open and honest with each other

While social media sites encourage us to share all our deepest thoughts and feelings with everyone we know, one great way to build intimacy with your partner is to save parts of your day, experiences, thoughts, and feelings for your partner only. This will designate your partner as having a special place in your life and heart.

4. Express interest in each other without looking for common ground

Often, couples seem to find it threatening if they're different from each other. They feel as though one is wrong and the other right, but that's not true. It's OK to be different from each other. The great poet Rilke said that once people can accept their differences "a wonderful living side by side can grow up," and each person can see the other as a whole.


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5. Remember why you like your partner

Think about the things you like that your partner has done or said. Do you know how easy it is when you first love someone? You can't help but mention their name or something they said or did all the time. Try to recreate that feeling. Even if you don't say it aloud, think about it. Keep them in your mind in a positive way.

I knew a couple who saved for a vacation to Hawaii, where they had honeymooned 15 years earlier. When they returned from the trip, the man told me, "I know now I have to leave the relationship; even in Hawaii, in such a beautiful place where we'd had our best time, I couldn't feel 'it.'"


Many of us have had the same experience. We've been in the beautiful couple picture while having dinner, laughing at the pool, looking great in a beautiful place. Yet, inside we were lonely, wishing they were easier to talk to, listened better, or didn't complain so much. Or we were just bored. It was too hard to engage each other. We felt we couldn't leave, but we also couldn't get back the feelings of excitement and safety, the feelings of closeness and, of course, intimacy.

@natassiabmiller Reply to @jeannie_in_nc_here rebuild #intimacy by starting with small steps 😉 @natassia_miller #relationshipadvice#marriage #marriedwithkids #love ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依

Intimacy is closeness, two separate beings who can feel like one. But after the giddy initial stages of a relationship, when everything's new, intimacy changes and is different for every couple. It involves knowing who you are, who your partner is, what you have created together, and what you can create. It involves having a plan.


And, of course, once you've done these things, there's nothing wrong with booking a romantic couple getaway in a beautiful place. But this time, the photos will reflect real happiness — not just the image of it.

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Carol Freund, LCSW, practices holistic counseling and psychotherapy. Carol loves working with people to get their desires for love and their lives more in sync with each other.