How to Grow Emotional Intimacy in a Marriage

A bride and groom exchanging rings in front of an ivy-covered building.

While physical intimacy is a topic that’s typically top of mind in a marriage, emotional intimacy isn’t discussed as often. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not just as important to the health of a relationship. Many couples find themselves unaware of what emotional intimacy is or how to build and maintain it. This is not something to be dismissed and is certainly something to invest in with your partner to help contribute to a healthy and happy relationship.

What Is Emotional Intimacy?

Emotional intimacy can be explained as a sense of closeness developed with another person over a period of time. Furthermore, it refers to a feeling of security and to the knowledge that that particular person recognizes and accepts your inner thoughts and feelings. Emotional intimacy refers to the ability to connect more deeply with your partner through actions that express vulnerabilities and display a deep sense of trust. The ability to share secrets, openly talk about your relationship, and discuss important values is a sign of emotional intimacy in a relationship.

Why Is It Important?

A couple having an argument in their bedroom.

This aspect of a relationship is important for several reasons. First, this sense of intimacy facilitates a deep sense of security within your relationship and the knowledge that you can be wholly yourself with your partner—which is no small thing. It also provides you with the security that you can show your true self and be open without risking the relationship itself. Not having this intimacy can cause a treasure trove of issues within a relationship from resentment, hypersensitivity, or insecurity to feelings of isolation and loneliness. A lack of emotional intimacy can also lead to a lack of physical intimacy, causing a lackluster sex life, which is bound to put a strain on any relationship.

How to Build Emotional Intimacy

There are different ways to facilitate a healthy level of emotional intimacy in your relationship. With that in mind, know that there’s no “right” level of emotional intimacy to aim for; each relationship is different.

Stray from Your Normal Routine

A young couple making dinner and enjoying wine in their kitchen.

In today’s world, it’s so easy to get caught up in a somewhat monotonous routine, doing the same thing day after day. However, not changing things up from time to time can be potentially damaging to your ability to build emotional intimacy with your partner. This doesn’t have to be major alterations, though. Do little things to show your partner you’re prioritizing them and their happiness. This can be as simple as having a game night to break up the week or setting up a date night when you cook a shared favorite meal. Doing special things for your husband or wife in which you show them you’re putting your relationship first can make a world of difference in building this sense of closeness and connection.

Affirmations and Compliments

Providing your partner with frequent affirmations and compliments is an effective way to build emotional intimacy. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been with your them for decades, it’s important to keep what you love and appreciate about them at the forefront of your mind. Use specific compliments as a tool for building this aspect of your relationship. For instance, tell them how much you appreciate their work on a specific household task. Use affirmations to do the same. One example of an affirmation is frequently telling your partner how much you love them and how important they are to you.

Make a Point to be Vulnerable

A young couple holding hands together in an intimate moment.

Making a point to be vulnerable with your partner is a surefire way to build emotional intimacy. Talking about things that are important to you or that are difficult to discuss helps foster this deep connection and builds trust. Also make it a point to ask your partner questions about their day-to-day life and things that are important to them to open the door to their vulnerability, as well.

Achieving a comfortable level of emotional intimacy makes a world of difference in building a strong, healthy marriage for years to come.

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