A big part of being in a healthy and happy relationship is establishing the kind of connection where you feel emotionally safe and cared for. That’s why, aside from physical intimacy, cultivating emotional intimacy is extremely important.
Whether you’re at the beginning stages of your relationship or you’ve been together for a while and you’re looking to take it a bit further, here are some proven ways to make the emotional bond that the two of you share even stronger.
1. Use all forms of communication
Thanks to smartphones, we can reach out to people anywhere at anytime. But don’t forget that there is also email (it’s nice to get a surprise “I’m thinking of you” email throughout the day) and even (gasp!) snail mail. Just think about it: When was the last time that you went out to your mailbox and had a card, rather than a bill, awaiting you? Just something to think about.
2. Work on your friendship
Unfortunately, there are way too many people who focus on creating a relationship with someone without doing one crucial thing: working on creating a friendship first. There are a lot of couples who’ve been married for many years who will tell you that during the hard times, “being in like” is far more important than being in love. (A good hairstyle is very important.)
3. Talk about the future
If you’ve been together for several months and you’ve both decided that you want the relationship to be exclusive, spend some time doing a bit of “love daydreaming”. Talk about where both of you would like to be and where you’d like to see your relationship go. Knowing that you’re both on the same page can definitely bring you closer.
4. Learn each other’s love languages
If you’ve never read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman, it’s a really good book. Basically, according to him, we all need love expressed to us in all of the ways above; however, there tend to be two that are the most important to each of us. Knowing what your love languages are and also what the person you’re seeing’s are can help you both to feel loved in the most effective ways.
5. Look into each other’s eyes
We’re pretty sure that you’ve heard that eyes are the windows to the soul. So take a moment, at least once a week to “peek into one another’s” to see what’s going on.
6. Have a picnic
Going on a date to a local restaurant is nice. But there’s something very intimate about going on a picnic. When you’re in the quiet of nature, cuddled up together, it can be very romantic. And also very emotional. In the best kind of way.
7. Tell each other secrets
Telling secrets helps to establish trust. So, encourage each other to share some private things once in a while.
8. Kiss on the cheek and forehead
Kissing on the mouth is passionate while kissing each other on the cheek and forehead is endearing. They’re a nurturing way to establish a connection. Perfect for cultivating emotional intimacy.
9. Go on dates where you can comfortably talk
Going to a concert or to the movies is cool, but it can be heard to hear yourself think, let alone hear that each other is saying. That’s why you should also do things like go to a local coffeehouse where you can sit all day and talk—if you want to.
10. Hold hands
Did you know that holding hands is proven to be a stress reliever? It also is a way to publicly convey that you are with someone—and that you are really happy about that.
11. Discuss your childhood
A wise person once said that adulthood is about surviving childhood. There is actually quite a bit of truth to that. Being that all of us have a childhood and it helped to establish a foundation for our views about life now, it’s always a good idea to exchange “When I was growing up” stories.
12. Go for an afternoon drive (or a road trip)
You. Him. And the open road. Can there be anything more wonderful and emotionally intimate than that?
13. Try new things
Another awesome thing about relationships is it gives you the opportunity to create memories with one another. If you make a point to do new things together, you can always look back and say (for instance) “I went zip-lining for the first time with you.” There is something very sweet and sentimental about that.
Cuddling is a way of saying “I just want to be close to you.” It’s one of the best ways to physically express the desire to establish emotional intimacy.
15. Don’t rush things
Love is like fine wine. It can’t be rushed, so don’t even try. Just take things one day at a time, incorporate some of these tips and before you know it, you’ll be in the kind of relationship that is stronger—and happier—than ever!