Finding the right connection and maintaining it can be hard work. When you feel that the link between you is waning, reflect on whether you're connected on all these five layers of togetherness.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 25, 2020. It has since been updated.
There's a fine line between intimacy and disinterest in any marriage. We all strive to create the perfect balance so that we're in sync with our partner. When any string in the patchwork that is a relationship breaks free, you can feel yourself or your partner pulling away. Relationships require constant work and effort so that you don't lose your harmony. Any disconnect you feel can be linked to lack of intimacy. But of course, intimacy isn't a unilateral path; there are many layers to it.
Here are five types of intimacy that couples usually share that is crucial for every long-term relationship:
People assume that physical intimacy only means sex. That's not the case. Hugging, putting your head on your loved one, holding hands, and a peck on the cheek or forehead all fall under this. Physical affection and touch are very important to a relationship. Everybody wants and needs a loving touch from their partner. It is a gesture of love and acceptance. It improves closeness in a relationship.
This is a bond between your souls. It is the foundation on which your relationship is built. All other kinds of intimacy are based on this. This is about shared spiritual beliefs between partners. When we pray together to a higher power, no matter which god you believe in, you strengthen your relationship. Communicating to your partner about your spiritual beliefs is another way to improve this link.
This is all about understanding each other's experiences and past to know what shaped the other. While people might wonder how intellectual and emotional intimacy are different, the distinction lies in what it evokes in you. If one kind of communication is dominated by thoughts and the other by emotions, herein lies the difference. When you speak of feelings, which men are less well verse with than women, and yet understand each other, you still stand a good chance at a strong relationship.
Sometimes, men mistake a request for exchange of feelings as an exchange of ideas, but the longer you are together they understand better. You can ask your partner questions that make them think about their own feelings and your place in their emotional lives too.
This is the kind of partnership where you understand each other without the other saying anything. There is a mutual understanding of what is important in a marriage. This is about being on the same page about your values. Important discussions like raising your children with similar values and making sure that both of you can be open with each other are what intellectual intimacy is about.
Whether you read the same books or have similar political beliefs, all of it makes a difference. Trying out things the other is interested in is also part of it and can increase intimacy and knowledge of each other at a deeper level. It's about growing together intellectually with shared knowledge of the world. You don't have to like the same things as long as you are willing to understand and accept what the other likes.
This is all about what you do to spend your time together beyond the bedroom. Your relationship is not just about your sexual relationship after all. It's important to find things that both of you can enjoy as a couple like taking a romantic walk on the beach or playing a sport together. Playing sports also improves how you work as a team and reveals how the other functions in times of crisis. It creates a sense of us against the world, bringing you closer together. Whether you love the same kind of music and choose to explore that together by learning or attending performances or enjoy movies -- pick what you love doing as a couple to build your relationship.