How to Fall in Love Again: 4 Ways to Increase Intimacy
Maybe you said or thought to yourself, “I’m just not in love anymore.” Maybe you have a friend who ended their marriage because they both just “fell out of love.” Certainly every romantic movie you’ve seen focuses in on two people being so “in love” they will move mountains to be together. Sadly, romantic feelings have become the centerpiece of relationships and too many couples have bought into the lie that “love” is something you fall into and fall out of. When the feelings are there everything is great, but when they start to fade or disappear the alarms go off and people are convinced the relationship has run its course.
The truth about relationships and being “in love” is that it has more to do with Intentionality than it does Chemistry. It’s not some uncontrollable, chemical reaction but the result of consistent and intentional actions. I believe that no matter where you feel like your relationship is today you can increase your connection and fall in love again by focusing on 4 Areas of Intimacy in your relationship…so let’s talk about what those areas are and how to intentionally grow in them!
1. Recreational Intimacy
Recreational Intimacy is simply just doing things together. This is one of those areas in relationship where couples put a lot of time and effort into when they are dating but often neglect once they get married. Going to bed and waking up together has somehow convinced many couples that they are getting lots of “together” time and don’t need to be intentional anymore. Recreational intimacy is about more than just being present in the same location, it’s about creating memories, stepping into each other’s world and playing together. Examples of Recreational Intimacy might be:
- Taking a walk or working out together
- Attending a concert or sporting event
- Playing a board game or card game together
- Going out to eat or for coffee and dessert
The goal of this time together is to have fun without discussing the business side of marriage, areas of conflict or subjects that have the potential of being contentious. Most couples do that enough already. Times of Recreational Intimacy should be stress-free and light-hearted.
2. Physical Intimacy
Physical Intimacy is NOT JUST ABOUT SEX!! Do I need to repeat that or can you just read it back again? Sex is a part of physical intimacy but this should include BOTH sexual and non-sexual touch. I realize that every person is different in the amount and type of physical touch they desire. Some people grew up in families that were affectionate and physically expressive while others did not. Whatever your personal preference and however you grew up, science tells us that humans need some level of physical touch. Touch is vital to mental, emotional and physical health.
Holding hands, hugging, kissing and sexual activity all fulfill the human need and desire for physical touch. This is also one of the areas that can only be fulfilled by your spouse so intentionality and planning in this area is vital to stay healthy. Unfortunately a lot of couples believe that their sexual intimacy should always be spontaneous and mind-blowing with little or no intentional effort. That’s how you know a couple is really “in love”, right? Wrong! When couples start having children and building a family, schedules can become very hectic very quickly. It then becomes rare that both spouses will be rested, undistracted, unhurried, clean and in the mood for sex at exactly the same time without some planning and intentionality.
If your physical intimacy is lacking in the relationship you need to intentionally plan for it to occur. If you’re not a “hugger” but your spouse desires that from you then set a reminder on your phone daily to hug them. If your spouse likes to cuddle on the couch and watch tv but you don’t naturally think of that, identify specific nights you can take time to do so. If your spouse enjoys holding your hand when walking in public ask them to remind you by touching your hand until it becomes second nature for you. And if sex isn’t occurring spontaneously in your relationship then put it on the calendar and schedule it. Scheduled sex is better than no sex! You will also find that scheduling sex will lead to more times of spontaneous sex as well and may get you back into a rhythm where you no longer need to schedule it.
Prioritize physical touch to increase closeness and the feelings will follow…don’t wait for the feelings to lead your actions
3. Emotional Intimacy
Emotional Intimacy is the area of intimacy that is usually most responsible for our feelings of being “in love” or “out of love” with our partner. As mentioned earlier, feeling in love is not some chemical mystery but a bi-product of intentional emotional intimacy. We all have certain Emotional Needs that when met by another person cause us to feel “in love” and when absent cause us to feel “out of love” with that person. There you go, the mystery of being in love has been revealed. If you know what your spouse’s top emotional needs are and intentionally meet these needs on a regular basis, they will feel “loving” towards you, and vice versa. If your spouse is not meeting those top emotional needs and someone at the office begins to do so you will find yourself developing feelings for that person and questioning the state of your marriage. Here are some examples of emotional needs:
- Domestic Support
- Financial Support
- Sexual Fulfillment
- Honesty & Openness
Knowing and then giving your spouse their top emotional needs consistently is a key to feeling in love again .
4. Spiritual Intimacy
If you are not a person of faith insert Intellectual Intimacy here where you are spending time discussing philosophies of life, social issues and so on. For people of faith, spiritual intimacy is one of the keys to connection and deeper intimacy in the relationship where you are growing your relationship with God AS A COUPLE. This occurs through shared faith experiences such as:
- prayer together
- couple’s devotionals
- attending worship service together
- serving in a ministry context together
- discussing faith issues
Faith is definitely personal but wasn’t meant to be “private”…many aspects of your faith should be lived out in community and your spouse definitely qualifies as community. Maintaining spiritual intimacy in a relationship occurs best when there are regular rhythms to your spiritual growth. Examples of this rhythm would be daily devotionals or quiet time with God, weekly attendance at worship services and regular meetings with a small group from your faith community. These rhythms ensure that you aren’t leaving this part of your relationship up to chance and that you won’t neglect growth in your spiritual intimacy
Falling in Love and Staying in Love are about growing your intimacy in these 4 areas of your relationship. If you have not already done so, download the Free Guide to Intimacy at the top of the Resource page by clicking here.
Remember, feeling “in love” is more about Intentionality than it is Chemistry, which means you can maintain those feelings in your relationship and get them back if you’ve lost them.
For more help on building a strong marriage, check out The Magnetic Marriage on Amazon and order your copy today!