When we are in a marriage or long-term relationship, our relationship changes over time. We might fall into a pattern where we take each other for granted. Our connection to each other might begin to feel as if something is missing.
The bedrock for every successful relationship is our emotional intimacy. It is the primary reason that we make a long-term commitment. When this part of our connection weakens, so does our relationship as a whole.
Time Takes a Toll
No matter how much we love each other, there are aspects of our day-to-day interactions that tend to deteriorate over time. It is easy to fall into a pattern where we take each other for granted, where our priorities change from a focus on our being a couple to a state where more selfish concerns take precedence.
It is easy to go about our day to day lives where we listen to each other less. In the past, we used to pay attention to everything our partner told us, and we might fall into a behavior of assuming we know what they are going to say instead. If this is allowed to continue, we may see a breakdown in communication that can be hard to recover.
This deterioration does not happen overnight. It may take years before the changes are apparent. Sometimes the changes are so subtle that we fail to see what is missing.
When our connection to one another weakens, we run the risk of frequent misunderstandings and hurt feelings. We may even begin to suspect the worst of each other and the foundation of a once-happy unshakably strong union can begin to crumble.
The Concept of Intimacy
The term ‘intimacy’ initially brings to mind the physical aspects of our relationships. Intimacy is, however, far more than physical contact and sex. intimacy is also those aspects of the relationship that make you feel safe and make you want to continue the relationship.
In order for a relationship to truly work, you need to have both physical intimacy and emotional intimacy. If you are looking for balance in your relationship, balanced intimacy is an excellent place to start.
You cannot argue the importance of the physical intimacy of the relationship. A simple kiss in passing or cuddling before sleep makes you feel loved. For many of us, the heat during sex caught our attention and made us know that we want that relationship to continue.
Even the steamiest of unions will slow down over time. Careers and growing families can make sex something that only occurs on date night or must be carefully planned in advance. What might have once lasted for hours can dwindle to a few minutes.
While physical intimacy is important, emotional intimacy is the actual glue that holds a relationship together. For emotional intimacy to exist, there needs to be strong communication between us. We need to feel as if we are heard, and we need to take seriously the words we say in response.
Emotional intimacy comes from the development of trust. It is wanting to share every detail of your day. The way your heart still jumps when they come home from work, and how they make you smile every time you see them.
The emotional connection that comes from being able to trust that your partner will never lie to you. The security you feel knowing they will always be there. It is the desire to take care of them when they do not feel well.
When emotional intimacy begins to wane, your level of communication with your partner is not as much. You may stop caring for this person at the level you once did. You still love your partner, but you have started to take each other for granted.
When Do You Know Emotional Intimacy is Lacking?
When you are still in your committed relationship, but you realize that your dynamic is changing, you know that your emotional intimacy is not what it used to be. There are several signs that this is an area that you need to work on.
Rediscovering Emotional Intimacy
If you find yourself in a circumstance of dwindling emotional intimacy, there are things that you can do to make sure that you regain that part of your relationship. Most of these exercises are designed to bring a balance back into your union. If you notice your partner doing something special for you, keep it balanced by doing something special for them.
Some of these exercises you can do individually, and others are to be done as a couple.
To do your part towards regaining the emotional intimacy in your relationship, you can individually practice the following things:
Emotional Intimacy Exercises for Couples
The balance between your careers and your home lives can get complicated as time goes by. It is not uncommon for couples to get out of sync. You can bring balance back into your relationship by doing exercises together that are designed to connect you at a deeper level.
The following exercises are designed to bring you together and bring you closer. Some of them might be out of your comfort zone, which makes them all the more important. These exercises are appropriate no matter how long you have been together.
These exercises will help you rediscover your emotional intimacy and bring you closer together. They can help you find the balance between you that may have been missing. Beyond the exercises,
Make sure you take the time to think about the things that are important to your partner. Some of these things will take you out of your comfort zone, but you need to participate to make your partner happy.
As time goes by, it is easy to get lost in your own world and just expect that your partner will be there waiting for you. Taking the time to put your partner first can bring emotional intimacy back into your relationship.
A relationship takes two people, and nobody sees eye-to-eye 100 percent of the time. Even if some of their favorite hobbies might not be yours, they will surely notice if you make an effort to participate with them. For true balance, this needs to go both ways.
If you still cannot see eye to eye yet want to stay together, a marriage counselor can help guide you back to one another. When the exercise involves communications, do not use the conversation on a topic you will ultimately fight about. Finally, make a point to never go to bed mad at each other.