What is intimacy? Easy…it’s sex, right? Yes… and no.

  6 Forms of Intimacy to Build a Strong Marriage

Today we’re going to help you with both.

Intimacy can be categorized in two ways:

What happens between the sheets (what we often think of when the word intimacy comes to mind IE. sex) and… what happens outside the sheets.

First, let’s talk about intimacy outside the bedroom.

Intimacy in it’s rawest form is closeness with another person.

By default, sex is often the first thing that we think of when we hear the word intimacy. What most couples don’t realize (even the really smart ones!) is that there are many forms of intimacy. And they all impact the strength, commitment, and fulfillment of our relationship. Here are a few other crucial ones often overlooked:

6 Forms of Intimacy Found Inside and Outside Your Bedroom

1. Emotional Intimacy is closeness created through sharing our feelings, thoughts and desires. You have to be honest, first with yourself, regarding your feelings before you can share them with your spouse.

To improve your emotional intimacy try: Spending 10 minutes per day without any electronics distracting the two of you. 10 minutes may not seem like a lot, but in our hyper connected world – this can be obtainable by even the busiest of couples.

2. Intellectual Intimacy involves a mutual understanding about the important areas or issues in your marriage. Perhaps you want to set goals for the next year, you want to make a budget, you want to raise your children with certain values, all of these involve discussion without fear of repercussion. It means that you have made your marriage a safe place for discussion.

To improve your intellectual intimacy try: Pick up one book, either fiction or nonfiction, and read it together.

3. Spiritual Intimacy is shared religious beliefs and observed religious practices. This can be as simple as praying together, (although that’s not always easy) going to church together, or discussing spiritual issues as a couple. Ultimately your life experiences, within the foundation of your shared faith, will create and deepen your spiritual intimacy.

To improve your spiritual intimacy try: Praying together at least once a week.

Click HERE to Buy Your Copy of Stripped Down

4. Recreational Intimacy is being active together. Find those things that you like to do and do them with your spouse. Taking a walk together, make dinner, go to a museum, hike a mountain…do something with your spouse that allows you actively spend time together.

To improve your recreational intimacy try: Go for a 30 minute walk around the block. Alisa and I call this time together our “walk and talk.”

5. Financial Intimacy is the sharing of your financial situation. Financial intimacy comes with developing a plan for your finances and being able to have open and honest communication with your spouse regarding money matters.

To improve your financial intimacy try: Start eliminating debt using Dave Ramsey’s incredibly awesome (and simple) Debt Snowball approach.

6. Physical Intimacy is loving touch. Be it holding hands, a hug, a kiss or making love we humans were designed to want to be touched. Touch can communicate acceptance and love, a closeness that only the two of you have based on your shared experiences.

To improve your physical intimacy try: Hold hands every chance you have – make a game out of it.

These six intimacies are vital to a successful marriage, a marriage based on safety and trust.

And, so is sex.

There’s no two ways about it: Sex is h-e-a-l-t-h-y. There have been studies indicating that married couples live longer than their bachelor friends. It could be due to the strong mutual support that marriage brings or the frequency of sex known to be a tonic for stress.

If you’re struggling with intimacy in (or out) of the sheets, we want you to know you’re not alone.

If you’re looking for help outside of the bedroom with intimacy, we’d suggest picking up a copy of our incredibly popular book Stripped Down: 13 Keys to Unlocking the Intimacy in Your Marriage. Here’s what one reader had to say about this powerful guide re-igniting your partnership:

“Stripped Down is full of practical advice on the most important human relationship we have on Earth.  The DiLorenzo’s open and authentic approach to the topic of intimacy in marriage is refreshing in a world that blushes at the thought of having conversations around this gift that God has given to married couples. ” – Cliff & Stephanie Ravenscraft, FamilyFromTheHeart.com

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  2. good work to you all…..i have a disturbing issue that i want to share which, i make love with my wife but not always getting her to her finish line. i mean it does not even last for 5mins,what should i do now?

  3. Hi. My husband of 4 years now flinches when I touch him. I still find him so sexy and attractive but he has lost interest in me. I’m so afraid to touch him because I’m not sure how he feels about me. He wants me to lose weight which I’m Working on. I dunno what to do.

    • Hey Toya,

      There are two areas that need to be addressed in your marriage and with you. First the emotional intimacy between you and your husband needs to increase. You need to be able to talk to one another about what is desired on both of your parts. To do this means you need to get past the basic conversations that many of us have. Check out Connect Like You Did When You First Met, http://www.connectlikeyoudid.com

      As for the fitness and health piece we know what it’s like to be a busy couple and get fit so we help folks with that with our Thrive90 Fitness Program, http://www.thrive90.com. This would be a great place to start moving forward and taking acting with you fitness goal.

      Love you guys.

    • Once I had this happen to me, when I went to counseling it came out that my spouse was saying things that hurt me and I reacted by flinching when he touched me. We worked this out together and now we are still together after 36 years.

  4. Last year I discovered my husband was starting an affair. After the discovery, we decided to stay together and work thing out but the affair has reek havoc on our marriage. Since then he has lock me out of his phone which was advised by his friends; he tells me it is for my own good. I am still struggling to get over the affair and I feel as tho he is still talking to her. My head is telling me to leave the marriage but my heart still loves him. I have express to him that I don’t feel as though he is attracted to me anymore but he does not respond so I believe this to be true. He does not consistently show interest in me or our marriage nor does he put forward any efforts in expressing his love to me. I still feel as broken as I feel a year ago and when I express this to my husband he tells me that there is nothing wrong with our marriage. I do not trust him and am starting to feel like the trust will not be restored and I cannot continue to live in heartache and pain.

    • If he wants to reassure you he is not continuing with the affair he would let you have free access to his phone. If he has nothing to hide he would let you have free access to his life. All the experts say that he needs to cut things off with the affair partner and become completely transparent to you. That shows true repentance and desire to make things right. Start searching for some good books. You will find you are not alone. There are many other women who have experienced the same thing and will show you that you are not the “crazy” one.

  5. I have been married for 5 years and the marriage started off rocky because I chose to suggest that remove in with me (and my sister, cousin and 15yr old daughter) so that he wouldn’t be stressed about finding us a place to live right off. Well that didn’t work because he would say that I was spending more time with them than him. So after 2 years we moved into our own place and there was still resentment on his behalf and the lack of intimacy and sex really came into play. Now we have been to counseling several times because he says I don’t communicate. We have tried many things but the issue is that we cannot stay consistent with anything and see it through because he seems to think that I want everything my way and so he pushes against anything that I suggest, and I use the word SUGGEST strongly. We have sex maybe once every 2 weeks but there is no intimacy. I read through the forms of intimacy above and I can say that we don’t have intimacy in either of those areas. He allows his work to consume him and says that he is tired all the time but then says he has to pay bills so we have no money to do things. the spiritual part, well he says that I think I know it all so that is a subject where he gets very defensive so I leave it out, financial intimacy, well I was on a job for 10 years and once we married I was paying all the bills, then last year we had a conversation about changing that but before we could I was terminated so he is paying everything and i just started a new job this week so that is also a touchy subject ( sharing financial responsibility), touching, well thats almost null and void also.