The Importance Of Building Intimacy In Marriage

Updated January 2, 2023by ReGain Editorial Team

Do you or your partner feel that your marriage needs more intimacy? Sometimes, one partner thinks that, and the other one doesn't see the point.

Intimacy Is More Important Than You May Think

Intimacy is very important in a marriage. However, a misunderstanding about what exactly intimacy is can lead to misunderstandings in your relationship.

The Role Of Intimacy In A Marriage

We'll talk more about intimacy later in the article. However put, it means closeness between you and your partner. This can be romantic, but thinking that intimacy is all about romance leads to misunderstandings about when, how, and why intimacy is a problem.

Intimacy is about how close you are to your partner. Being more intimate can help you value them more. It can help you trust them more. Perhaps more importantly, having an intimate relationship can help you and your partner discuss what you need and what you think the relationship needs in healthy and productive ways.

Intimacy Problems Are Common

It can be hard to talk about intimacy because it's, well, intimate. However, a lot of couples have problems with intimacy. As long as you and your partner talk about these issues in healthy and constructive ways, intimacy problems don't have to be the end of your relationship.

What Is Intimacy?

A lot of people think that intimacy is just about sex. In a marriage, intimacy should include sex - and sex should include intimacy - but the two are not entirely the same thing.

Intimacy refers to closeness, both physical closeness and a deeper psychological or almost spiritual closeness.

What is intimacy, exactly? Essentially, intimacy is what makes a person your partner instead of your pal. It's true, you should be "friends" with your partner, but it shouldn't stop there.

The idea of understanding what intimacy is is admittedly less important than understanding what intimacy means to your partner. If you and your partner discuss intimacy, start by defining what intimacy means to both of you. This can help give you a less abstract idea of what you're talking about and your relationship needs.

Gauging Intimacy

Keeping with the theme above, you can gauge intimacy by comparing your relationship with other relationships that you have in your life. How does your partner compare to your pals?

When you and your partner are alone, what kinds of things do you like to do? What sorts of things do you talk about or feel comfortable talking about?

Don't get me wrong, having close relationships with people other than your partner is important, and you and your partner are allowed to do things other than having sex all the time and talk about your secrets and fears. However, if you aren't comfortable doing those things or don't like doing those things with your partner, your relationship might have an intimacy problem.

One of the most effective and important gauges, as mentioned above, is whether you can talk to your partner. If you don't have enough or no intimacy in marriage at all with your partner, you may feel ashamed or afraid to tell them certain things. This can prevent you from expressing your needs and desires, keeping you from being happy, and keeping your relationship from becoming stronger.

If you were afraid to talk to your partner about the need for intimacy, you're right about needing more intimacy. If you are afraid to talk to your partner about intimacy in your relationship, your partner is right about needing more intimacy.

The Need For Intimacy

Different people have different intimacy needs. Lack of intimacy in marriage can be an issue to some. One partner may feel the need for more intimacy while the other one feels that their relationship is just fine. However, if one of you has a problem, then the relationship has a problem. In a healthy relationship, both people should feel happy and satisfied.

The only thing worse for a relationship than not being intimate enough is forcing greater intimacy. Just like some people have different needs for intimacy, different people grow in intimacy at different rates.

If you are ready for more intimacy with your partner, tell them that. However, you should also be patient with them and make sure that you're not moving too fast for them or making them uncomfortable. Getting more intimate with someone can be difficult for some people, and you need to give them time.

Intimacy Is More Important Than You May Think

If your partner feels the need to be more intimate, you need to respect their wishes, even if you don't feel the need yourself. Tell your partner that you are willing to work with them to build intimacy and explain your current boundaries. You should be willing to open up to your partner and try new things with them, but your partner should also be willing and able to take time getting more intimate with you without making you do things that you don't like or that make you feel uncomfortable.

Now that we have understood how important intimacy is, how can you and your partner develop intimacy in your marriage?

Intimacy And Sex

Because intimacy isn't just about sex, sex isn't the only way to build intimacy. Thinking that it is can lead to problems, including the first-time catch 22. Many couples have sex before they are ready because they think that it will strengthen their relationship. The same thing can happen to couples that stop having sex for whatever reason - after a fight, after a separation, after a pregnancy. This can lead to a loss of intimacy. If you think that sex is the only way to get back that intimacy, it can lead to having sex before you feel like you're ready. If this is the case for you or your partner, skip this paragraph, and focus on building intimacy in other ways.

If you and your partner are already having sex, it can lead to closer intimacy, but that means making it intimate, not making it more frequent. Sit down with your partner about how you do things right now and what ways you could make them more intimate. Some people find that the right music can help them make the experience more special, but others find it distracting. Some people find that playing games and similar approaches can increase intimacy, but others find it takes away from experience. Whatever you try, keep an open mind, and keep an open dialogue. Everyone should be comfortable and enjoying the experience. If you do something that you aren't comfortable with to satisfy your partner, it only means that your relationship isn't close enough for you to communicate with your partner openly.

In the end, talking about sex with your partner is probably more important for building intimacy than actually having sex with your partner.

Intimacy And Other Forms Of Physical Touch

That having been said, physical closeness is an important part of intimacy even - and especially - if you and your partner aren't ready to have sex yet.

Physical touch outside of sex is great for building intimacy because it is so variable. Holding hands or kissing can be great ways to build intimacy through physical touch in relationships that aren't ready for sex. So can dancing, or cuddling, or a bed - even if you aren't sexually active. This leaves a lot of room for compromise between partners at different intimacy comfort levels. Jumping the gun in these steps by looking at sex as a shortcut to intimacy can rob you of many great experiences and opportunities to learn about yourself and your partner. So please, don't rob yourself, your partner, or your relationship of the intimacy-building journey by trying to move too fast.

Intimacy Without Touch

It is possible to build intimacy without touch. This is important for two key reasons.

The first is that - I can't say it too many times - intimacy isn't just about physical closeness. If you try to build an intimate relationship based on just physical touch rather than focusing on communication, you're always missing something from your relationship.

The second is that all romantic relationships require intimacy. All couples are apart from one another at some point - whether it's an extended time or not - and you can still have intimate moments with your partner while apart.

Intimacy without touch is all about communication. Of course, "communication" isn't enough. We communicate without coworkers, people we meet on the morning commute, people who serve us at restaurants. Intimate communication is about depth.

Don't just talk about your days; talk about your lives. Talk about how you grew up, why you were first attracted to each other - why you're still attracted to each other. Talk about your hopes and your fears, your needs, and your wants.

Help With Intimacy

No one can build intimacy between you and your partner except for you and your partner. However, if you need some help, a couples counselor can help you. The couples counselor can help you understand why intimacy is important and help you to understand how you can build it in your relationship.

You can even see a couples counselor by yourself. This is a great option for those partners who are uncomfortable with the idea of intimacy. Your marriage counselor can help you get to the bottom of your problem so that you and your partner can create a more intimate relationship.

For more information about how couples counseling can help you and your partner, visit

The Final Word

One of the most complicated and most rewarding things about intimacy is that there are so many ways to build it. Don't let your view be too narrow, or you'll miss out on all of the great elements of a truly intimate relationship.

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