Sex is an important part of intimacy, but long-lasting marriages go beyond bedroom chemistry. Without other types of intimacy in marriage, “the relationship can drift apart or remain at a very superficial level,” says marriage therapist Hilda De La Torre, M.A., MFT.
Couples also need to cultivate 4 types of intimacy—emotional, intellectual, experiential, and spiritual intimacy.
4 Types of Intimacy in Marriage
Besides physical intimacy, here are fruit types of intimacy to be intentional about creating to foster connection and closeness in your marriage.
Emotional intimacy allows you to connect more deeply with your spouse through sharing thoughts and feelings. It involves telling each other your deepest fears, dreams, disappointments, complicated emotions, and feeling seen and understood when you do.
A marriage strong in this type of intimacy means that both partners feel safe and comfortable having this kind of uninhibited expression around each other.
How do I increase emotional intimacy in my marriage?
You can encourage emotional intimacy by:
- Engaging in deeper, more introspective conversation
- Talk about your emotions and experiences you don’t share with others
- Ask your spouse thoughtful questions and show interest in the way they think and feel
- Actively listen to understand, not respond. Be careful not to invalidate their feelings
- Establish an open, honest dialog
We confide in who we trust. If your marriage struggles in this area, consider speaking with a marriage counselor.
Emotional intimacy leads to intellectual intimacy. When neither of you worries about potential conflicts when sharing thoughts and feelings, each person feels the freedom to have valued individual opinions.
You feel closer to someone who cares and celebrates differences. How do I increase intellectual intimacy in my marriage?
Create more intellectual intimacy in your relationship by:
- Sparking conversations where you and your spouse have differing perspectives
- Avoid growing defensive or angry about differing opinions
- Discuss ideas and concepts you’re exploring together
This type of intimacy connects you through logic and philosophical expression.
Experiential intimacy is when people bond during leisure activities. It’s about sharing your day-to-day experience and getting closer together. Each person in the relationship has particular roles and interests. The key is to make sure that some of those things overlap so you are doing things together.
Sharing experiences and private memories can intensify connection and closeness.
How do I increase more experiential intimacy in my marriage?
You can create this kind of intimacy by:
- Embarking on new adventures together
- Plan activities that you haven’t done together yet
- Schedule a standing date to meet at the same place for a meal, so it becomes your spot.
You don’t have to collaborate on everything, but it’s important to have shared experiences.
Spiritual Intimacy is more than spending time in God’s word. It’s learning how to connect with each other through your faith.
How do I increase spiritual intimacy in my marriage?
Foster more spiritual intimacy by:
- Set aside 10-15 minutes to pray regularly with your spouse about each other’s needs and the relationship
- Keep your heart open and soft to the Lord
- Find more satisfaction in God than the marriage
- Replace things (attitudes & habits) that kill spiritual intimacy
- Intentionally share your weaknesses with each other
- Press in to know each other more
Your wife is worth the extra effort. Your husband is worth the extra effort. Deepening your relationship with Jesus together is worth everything!
Connect on Multiple Levels in Your Marriage
A healthy relationship connects and relates on multiple levels. Learning to engage in open, truthful communication and understanding each other will help establish the closeness that strengthens your marriage.
Strengthen intimacy in your marriage at one of our fun marriage retreats or conferences for all ages. Eagle Family Ministries has marriage conferences you can attend on your own, or you can schedule a marriage conference or marriage retreat for your church. We will even custom design a marriage conference for your church regardless of your location in the United States. Contact us to visit about your ideas and needs today!