It's normal for relationships to evolve over time and hit the occasional "rough patch", but that doesn't make relationship challenges any less bothersome. When we start to feel disconnected from our partners it can be devastating and worrisome, and might leave us feeling stuck on how to "fix" it. The good news- with a little TLC, your relationship can be repaired. If you're looking for ways to get that "spark" back and feel closer to your partner, keep reading as we'll explore 5 tips to increase intimacy in relationships and share some tips for planning date nights.
How To Increase Intimacy And Connection In Your Relationship
Whether you’ve been in a relationship for five months, five years, or even 25 years, it’s often hard to keep that feeling of excitement you had when you first met your partner. But there are many ways to rekindle the passion and intimacy in your relationship so that you can improve your emotional and physical connection. Below are 5 tips on how to increase intimacy and reconnect with your partner in a meaningful way.
1. Add A Little Romance To Your Relationship
Although finding time may take a little effort, one way to improve intimacy with your partner is to add some romance back into your relationship. Romance doesn’t have to be something impressive or spontaneous. It can be little things like holding hands more, a massage, a weekend getaway, cuddling by the fire, a romantic dinner, or so many other options. The key here is that we are fostering romantic love by doing special things with our partners that we wouldn't do in platonic relationships. So take time to think about what your partner likes and don’t be afraid to plan and set aside time on a consistent basis to be romantic.
Pro Tip: If you make romantic plans with your partner, try your very best not to back out of them as it can undermine your connection and set your partner up for disappointment. It may also make them feel like you don't care about them or value your time together; feeling low on your partner's priority list is one sure way to disrupt the relationship.
2. Do Things Together
There are only so many hours in a day, so it’s no surprise that sometimes it’s just easier to get things done on your own. The danger is that two people in a romantic relationship can start to become more like roommates than lovers. You may start to live almost separate lives and go about work, errands, and hobbies on your own, leaving you and your partner feeling disconnected physically and emotionally.
Spending time doing things with your partner is so important to keep your connection strong. Research shows that couples are happier when they are spending time together and it can even reduce your stress levels! Quality time with your romantic partner doesn’t always have to be complicated or full of extravagant date nights; you can run errands together, start a new hobby together, walk a pet together, or even do housework as a couple. There are lots of ways to stay closer to your partner so get creative if you want to build intimacy and reconnect!
3. Show Interest In Things Your Partner Cares About
It’s hard to be genuinely interested in all the things that your partner is—and that’s okay...you're two different people! But making the effort to support and be a part of the things your partner loves can go a long way in showing them that you value and appreciate those unique things that make them who they are.
You can offer to try a favourite hobby with them, help them finish a project, or ask questions about their interests. Whatever you do, it just has to demonstrate a genuine desire to be a part of what they love. Try to share in the joy your partner experiences when they are doing things they care about. There’s nothing better than seeing your partner’s face light up as they show you something they love!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to listen actively and be engaged when they answer your questions about their interests. Also remember to put your phone down- if you're half in the conversation while also on your phone, you aren't demonstrating active listening or genuine interest and will make them feel like you don't really care and might lead them to be closed off to sharing about themselves in the future, ultimately causing emotional disconnect.
4. Start And End Your Day With Positive Connection
I’m sure many of us (except for you early birds) would agree that mornings are tough! We roll out of bed, try to get ready for work on time, maybe even work out beforehand or get the kids ready for the day as well. It doesn’t always leave much time to pay attention to a romantic partner. Working different shifts or schedules can make things even harder too.
But making a point to connect with your partner before you head off to work and right before you go to sleep can help improve intimacy in your relationship. It doesn’t have to be anything time consuming- even just saying goodbye with a heartfelt kiss, telling them something you love about them, cuddling in bed, or an excited greeting when you arrive home can make both of you feel closer and more appreciated. It’s also a great way to reduce stress, check in with each other, and allows you to focus briefly on each other and your relationship before getting into other tasks/responsibilities.
Pro Tip: When you embrace your partner at partings and reunitings, aim for a kiss that is at least 6 seconds. Relationship experts John & Julie Gottman have found through extensive research that longer moments of intimacy (e.g., kissing) helps to improve relationships by lowering stress hormones and boosting the love hormone, oxytocin.
5. Show Your Partner Love In Small Ways
We don’t always have time to make big gestures for our partners to show them how much they mean to us. Maybe you have small kids that take up much of your attention and energy, or work long hours. But even if you can’t always manage a big gesture, remember that relationships do take work and nurturing; your partner needs to feel loved, appreciated, supported, and needed. They want to know that they’re on your mind during the day.
So show them you care in small ways! It can be anything from bringing home dinner or a small gift, sending sweet daytime texts, sending them a new song you think they’ll love, helping them with a project or achieving a goal, or doing a chore or task you know the other person was dreading. Sometimes making your partner’s day a little easier can mean more to them than a big, fancy gift. Studies also show that physical touch and warm contact are ways to show your love and create a stronger bond with your partner—it can even help lower your blood pressure!
Pro Tip: Get to know your partner's love language and try to show love to them in small ways that is in line with their specific needs. Some people feel loved through physical touch, loving words, quality time, helpful acts, or small gifts.
3 Date Ideas To Reignite That Romantic Spark
Now that you know a few ways to reconnect with your partner, let’s start planning your next date! Here are 3 date ideas to increase connection with your partner.
1. Try Something New
Sometimes relationships, and life in general, can become stagnant and stale over time. We do the same thing every day, nothing changes, and our excitement about life and our partner can begin to fade. If you want to get the sparks flying again with your significant other, plan a date where you try something that’s new to both of you!
Studies show that trying something new or getting out of your comfort zone can challenge you, create a stronger bond, and increase relationship satisfaction as you experience something for the first time together. It can be anything from trying a painting class, to horseback riding, kayaking, or even something more thrill-seeking like rock climbing, or a flying lesson. Have a conversation together and brainstorm some new ideas you both might like to try.
2. Recreate or Celebrate Special Memories
If you’re in a relationship with someone, chances are that you have particular memories, anniversaries, and moments that you cherish from your time with your partner. Maybe it’s the restaurant where you had your first date, or a song that you danced to, or a favourite movie you discovered together. These memories can be a wonderful way to remind you and your partner of the good times and why you love each other. You don’t necessarily have to recreate an entire day or event; research shows that even reminiscing about special moments you’ve had together can create “romantic nostalgia” and allow you to form a stronger bond with your partner.
3. Get Active Together
Okay, not all of us are into physical activities—and that’s fine! But you may want to make an exception if you’re trying to reconnect with your partner. Sharing a physical activity with your partner can be a great way to create a feeling of closeness and exhilaration, deepen your bond with your partner, and reignite that passion in your relationship. Since getting physically active can give you and your partner a boost of endorphins, it can also help improve your mental health and leave you both feeling more energized, positive, and happier. It can also increase feelings of desire, so give it a try!
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, relationships take work! There’s no easy way around that and no simple way to fix your relationship. Make sure you give yourself and your partner the time and attention you both deserve- you wouldn’t expect a flower to bloom without any water or sunlight, would you? Your relationship needs that same kind of care and nurturing to truly blossom.
If you think you and your partner could benefit from couples therapy or even individual therapy, don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist or counsellor. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation or book a full session with one of our Barrie therapists or online counsellors in Ontario, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Our team of online and Barrie therapists provides quality and effective counselling services in Barrie and virtually across Ontario to individuals (6+), couples and families. We also offer an Affordable Therapy Program that provides counselling services in Barrie to individuals (12+) who are facing financial challenges that need mental health support.