Advice for Increasing Intimacy
By Susie and Otto Collins
Many married couples say they'd like to get closer
and feel more connected with one another. After all,
true intimacy requires that the two in the
relationship have a close connection.
But the reality often is quite different. Sometimes
one or both of you put up walls-- perhaps this is
unintended or even unconscious. These walls usually
create distance and often a sense of defendedness.
Have you ever known someone who seemed to be holding
back from you? Perhaps it was a friend to whom you
confided something personal.
This friend, although kind and nice to you, didn't
reciprocate by later sharing that same sort of
information about him or her.
Your friend's actions are neither right nor wrong,
but you might notice that he or she doesn't seem to
be as open with you as you are with him or her.
That could create a wall in your friendship. It
might still be a fine friendship, but it won't be as
close as it might have otherwise been.
In your marriage, you might be the one who holds
back in some way. This holding back or defendedness
may be when it comes to sexual intimacy or it could
happen when you are sharing emotionally with one
You can still have a good marriage filled with trust
and love. And your level of intimacy and connection
can be even closer when you both let down these
walls and allow one another in.
The benefits of your relationship growing in this
way can be downright amazing!
Jessica really wants to be more intimately close
with her husband Philip. She's aware that there are
many times in which she stays guarded around him.
Although Philip has never hurt Jessica, she seems to
be trying to protect herself by creating space. This
especially happens when they are making love and
also when it comes to sharing deep emotional
Jessica knows that there is a distance between she
and Philip. Yes, they are happy, but she feels like
Philip is somewhat disappointed with her.
He spends hours talking about his innermost thoughts
and dreams and she is unable to share with him in a
similar way. She just can't seem to
open up more than she already does.
What's holding you back?
If you or your partner tend to hold back or stay
defended to one another, it's time to take a look
within. Start by checking in with and identifying
the feelings that arise within you during the times
when you feel like there is distance or a wall
between you and your mate.
It could be that a past experience or even something
that happened previously in your marriage has not
been resolved for you.
Even if it appears to be a minor incident, if trust
was weakened in some way and healing has not yet
occurred, this could be contributing to your
hesitation to opening up completely in your
Jessica was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend in
college. She went through counseling and truly
thought she was "over" the whole trauma.
In fact, she doesn't like to acknowledge that this
happened in her past and never has confided the
experience to Philip.
Jessica suspects that part of her tendency to be
guarded during lovemaking stems from the sexual
assault, but she is resisting talking about it with
At the same time, Jessica really wants to experience
a deeper closeness with Philip and so she decides to
finally share with him this secret from her past.
At the same time, Jessica decides to meet with a
counselor again, at least for a few sessions. She
sees that there is another level to her healing that
Take steps to lower your walls to intimacy.
When you realize where you are guarded and perhaps
even why, it can be easier to know what your next
step could be. As you take steps to make completions
about the past, you might find yourself freer to
open up to your present.
You can enjoy a growing intimacy one step at a time.
It might require you to be more honest with yourself
and your spouse than you've ever been. This could
feel like a risk.
We encourage you to take that risk with a clear and
Go as slowly as you need to and keep checking in
with yourself. Share as much as you are able to with
Your patience and willingness to expand can allow
you to move closer to your mate and enjoy an
intimacy like you've never had before.
It's worth it!