Increase Intimacy: Do you Know the Person You Thought You Knew?
By: Deb Klecha, LCPC, CADC
In my work with couples, I find that many of us want greater intimacy but struggle to achieve it. In fact, many of us resign ourselves to the all-too-common picture of returning home from work, saying a quick hello, and plopping ourselves in front of the TV never uttering another word to the person that is likely the love of our lives. I’m betting that if I ask 100 couples if they are content with this, most would say “no,” but we resign ourselves to it. Maybe there is protest from time-to-time, but inertia is a powerful force and it keeps our relationships in this status quo.
Same Old Routine
We are frustrated by this dynamic, but we perpetuate it. We make efforts that are largely unsuccessful. We ask “How was your day?” and get answers of “O.k.” or hear work-related stories that we find uninteresting and we disengage. We have unrealistic expectations that we are supposed to feel more connected when interactions center on bills, chores, and children. We don’t share many of our thoughts but continue to wonder why our partners don’t seem to understand us or feel closer to us. And we secretly ask ourselves, “Is this what marriage/long-term committed relationships really are?”
What we fail to recognize is that the person that we met and got to know years ago has evolved and changed as we have evolved and changed. Maybe his/her favorite color has always been blue, but there are other things that have likely changed significantly over the years.
And there are other things that perhaps we never knew. It is impossible to truly know everything about a person, since an individual has the option of sharing or not sharing many pieces of information throughout the lifespan. Operating under this premise may hold part of the key to more intimate and effective communication, since it may well lead to deeper and more thoughtful questions.
Increase Intimacy for Couples
So here’s an experiment for you to try……Find a quiet alone time with your spouse/partner (out to dinner, dinner at home, in bed at night, etc) and begin to ask some of these questions:
What did you think about today?
What do you worry about?
What made you laugh this week?
How do you feel about your life right now?
When you think about the future what do you see?
If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
What age would you go back to? Why?
What is your fondest memory?
When was the last time that you laughed until your stomach hurt? What was it about?
Who do you miss? What do you miss about him/her?
Who do you admire? Why?
If you could change a decision from your past what would it be? Why?
Tell me about the last creative idea you had.
How do you feel when you wake up? What do you think about?
How do you feel when you go to bed for the night? What do you think about?
What was your favorite vacation? What made it great for you?
And let me know how it goes. I’m betting that some of these (or others like them) will lead to richer, more intimate conversations and the prize at the end will be getting to know the person you know so well.
Increase Intimacy Book
To help you continue on your quest to increase intimacy in your relationship, I am recommending the following book entitled: Intimacy and Desire by David Schanrch. Inside, you will find several useful tools to help you stir up greater passion in your relationship.
Many people find working with a couples counselor an effective way to create positive change in their relationship. A therapist experienced with helping couples to increase intimacy can go a long way in helping to people get to know one another again – which ultimately something you want.