Nurturing intimacy involves moving closer to your partner, or pulling your partner closer to you. Assuming that you want this, how can you do it?
Not surprisingly, communication is the key. Moving closer means making yourself more available.
|Intimacy requires both people's care and attention. Don't wait for your partner to do it first.|
|Getting closer doesn't have to mean focusing on problems.|
|Make some time each day, no matter how brief, during which both of you ignore the phone, fax, e-mail, and focus on each other.|
|What keeps you from intimacy?|
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Talk more about yourself, not stories about who said or did what to whom, but information about you. How did you or do you feel? What does the world look like to you these days? What makes you glad you're you? Where do you feel you're headed and how do you feel about it? How was today different than you thought it would be?
Talking about yourself in these ways may seem strange, but most people are eager to get to know their partners and stay updated. When we care for someone, we want to look through their eyes as best we can. Ultimately, it's a primitive, futile wish, all the more reason that we're grateful for the few glimpses our partner helps us get.
There are two ways to pull your partner closer to you. One involves getting to know your partner better. Be more curious: ask about those gaps in your mate's life. Ask about what today felt like, instead of what happened. Find out why a certain movie, word or sweater is so meaningful. Discover another movie, word or sweater that has meaning you didn't know about.
The second way to pull a partner closer involves spending time together. There's just no substitute for sharing experiences, even trivial ones. Keeping someone company (without being asked) or inviting someone to join you (before she or he offers) conveys a powerful message that you desire their companionship, and prefer it to other things, the TV, telephone or alone time.
If you do spend time with your partner, focus on what you like about them. And if you do talk, tell the truth. The harder it is to do it, the more important it is. Don't forget to laugh together.
And if you can't figure out anything else, say, "I want us to feel closer." That's the clearest message of all.
Marty Klein, Ph.D., is a licensed & family marriage counselor and sex therapist with over 24 years experience. You can read more about his books, tapes and appearances on his Web site, www.SexEd.org.