30 Days to a More Intimate Relationship

Couple in kitchen washing up after mealOn any given weekday, how many chores, tasks, and responsibilities do you have? Is nurturing your relationship anywhere on that list?

Amid the daily grind, so often our loved ones take the back burner. We expect our partners to be there for us and love us unconditionally, even when we are cranky and burnt out. A busy life can cause distance and disconnection in relationships.

So how do you stay connected? When the world is spinning like a tornado around you, ground yourself in the relationship. It’s time to be more present and intimate with your partner.

Intimacy involves opening yourself up, sharing, and connecting with your partner. Through intimate moments, whether sexual or nonsexual, we feel a sense of closeness, familiarity, affection, and maybe even those butterflies again.

It takes time to develop a lasting bond, but even over the course of a month, you can take meaningful steps toward a stronger and healthier relationship. In the next 30 days, try to incorporate the following:

  1. Gratitude: Every day with your partner marks a choice to remain in your relationship. So why not bring more attention and awareness to this choice? It’s not that we intentionally take our partners for granted. Rather, we expect that they support us while we do not always show appreciation and gratitude. Each night for the next 30 days, identify and thank your partner for something thoughtful they did that day. Pay attention to the small things that may normally go unnoticed, such as washing the dishes, helping the kids get cleaned up for bed, or gassing up the car. You can also keep a gratitude journal, in which you write down specific things that you appreciate or are grateful for about your partner. Maybe it was an “I love you” note or the way they made you laugh. The more aware you are of your partner’s actions, the more inclined you may be to give compliments and do thoughtful things that enhance the intimacy in your relationship.
  2. Text: There’s no question that communicating in person is ideal. Even a phone call is more intimate, but sometimes a text is the most realistic, quickest way to show that you care. During a busy day at work, take 30 seconds to send a text letting your partner know you are thinking of them. Send a simple “I miss you,” “I can’t wait to see you tonight,” or a “Good luck at your meeting with the boss” message. Get creative—maybe you take a picture of your lunch and say, “I thought we could go on a virtual picnic!” Don’t be afraid to get a little sassy with a sexual comment or suggestive photo to help keep the flame going. Building anticipation is a phenomenal way to create intimacy. The most important thing to convey is that your partner is in your thoughts.
  3. Share a positive memory: Reminiscing strengthens your bond. Discuss a memory from when you started dating or fell in love. You may notice talking about the “early days” creates sexual arousal. It’s normal for the frequency of sex to decline after you’ve been dating for a long time, so these moments help you reconnect and ignite passion. You can even relive your first date or travel to a location that holds special meaning to your relationship.
  4. Daily check-in: Remember that tornado swirling around you? Amid the chaos of life, it’s essential to check in with your partner and talk about your day—yes, every day! Maybe it’s when you sit down for dinner, or perhaps you create a daily ritual of taking a walk around the block together. If you don’t carve out this space and do it consistently, the opportunity will likely pass you by, so this has to be a priority. You must give your partner your full, undivided attention. Put down your cell phone, turn off the television, stop folding laundry, and physically orient yourself toward your partner. Show them you are engaged by making eye contact, nodding, or by using physical touch—taking their hand or putting your hand on their thigh.
  5. Physical touch: Oh, the power of touch! One of the most important ways of creating intimacy is through physical touch—hugging, kissing, massaging, stroking, rubbing, having sex … you name it! This is also one of the things that separate a romantic relationship from a typical friendship. Over the next 30 days, increase physical affection—not the usual kiss goodbye before work or hug hello when you return. Be mindful of this intimacy—hold on for an extra-long embrace, snuggle up on the couch when you might normally sit on separate sides, or hold hands on the carpool to work.

When the 30 days are up, if you’re still struggling to create intimacy in your relationship, try a short exercise. It should leave you both feeling warm and fuzzy! Each partner should write down the answers to the following questions. Discuss the responses together, then keep your partner’s answers so that you can reread them at any time for a feel-good moment:

  • What are three physical attributes that you are most attracted to about your partner?
  • What are three personality traits that you are most attracted to about your partner?
  • What are three of your most treasured memories with your partner?
  • What are three things you are looking forward to most about your future with your partner?

Enjoy!

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Samantha Burns, LMHC, therapist in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 9 comments
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  • aimee

    aimee

    May 13th, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    I used to be very slack about this and thought that if we were together then things would just naturally happen. I had to learn the hard way that there has to be a lot more effort that I put into it than that, and I find that the little things can make all the difference in how I feel about him and then how he feels about me. It makes me much more grateful for what I have and keeps me focused on the fact that this isn’t anything that I would want to lose.

  • Shirley

    Shirley

    May 13th, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    LOVE is all about give and take. You just have to make sure that both of you are giving and taking equal amounts because when one does all the giving and one does all the taking, there is a balance that can’t be achieved then.

  • Holly

    Holly

    May 15th, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    I want to add, this isn’t in one day. Some days one partner will have a HORRIBLE day and will do all the taking, another it will be the other partner. In good relationships, the giving and taking need to balance out over time.

  • Lionel

    Lionel

    May 14th, 2015 at 6:10 PM

    Just holding hands whenever you can can keep you two closer.

  • price

    price

    May 15th, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    I don’t know, I think that sometimes it can go much faster then in one day. Sometimes you have to give a hug or hold a hand but you know that the intimacy is there and that it is still going very strong.

  • Reanna

    Reanna

    May 16th, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    By far one of the most important things that I have learned is that you have to stay grateful for the things in life that you do have and stop wasting so much time and energy on the things that you don’t. I am not sure why we all have a tendency to do that but it is so wrong to only focus on the things that we think that we want when often we have the whole world right in front of us. It makes me think about just how ungrateful many of us, myself included, are, and how I really need to do better with that.

  • Amanda R

    Amanda R

    May 18th, 2015 at 3:45 AM

    My husband and i always make it a point to check in with each other a couple of times during the day. When I don’t hear from him then I either know that he is super busy day at work or that he is mad at me!

  • Jayme

    Jayme

    May 19th, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    There have been times I guess when we have both been a little on the grumpy side with each other, but bringing up an old memory, a shared experience that we have had together and that was fun and meaningful almost instantly wipes all of that anger away and helps put a smile on your face.
    If you choose to live in the past and remember only the bad things then it won’t have the same effect. But if you choose to focus on the things that you have together and that are good? Now that can make a difference in a very positive and uplifting way.

  • klaudia L

    klaudia L

    June 4th, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    i agree with holly. but what if you don’t take tabs on how much each gives and takes, what if, after a few years one just periodically again and again one gets close to the point of breaking up because you feel like you give 80% more than is being perceived?…but can’t really hear intuition speaking, paving a way- telling you when it’s just not meant to be? what if one is in love, nevertheless – or is it self destructibility in this case? – or doesn’t want to ‘give up’? focus on the positive is easily done i find, and yes i agree with our society nowadays being mostly negative, but in this context here…i mean i see so many couples being together for years and am scared by the level of mediocrity and boredom that is being borne. as in: when it’s shit, it’s normal – when its normal, it’s good’ – it’s apparently so easy to slip into that mode..& that really scares me. so what if you give 100% in these 30 days… and you only get 30 back? metaphorically speaking …. kinda… ;)

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