My 7 Favorite Relationship Boosters & Intimacy Upgrades – Just in Time for the Holidays
Is there anything more important to us than our close relationships? More central to our well-being? Likely not.
From the moment of our birth to our death, if people who care for us are there, life is better. Healthy, close relationships create a cocoon around us that supports our physical and mental health. They open us to love and kindness, and they make us feel alive and creative.
But what if your close relationship is lacking something right now? What if it feels like something is missing, and you have a hunch that it’s spending time together in a way that’s intimate and alive. I have SEVEN ideas for you that are designed to bring a spark into your love life. I call them “Intimacy Upgrades.”
1 – Whisper in their ear: a secret.
Keeping a secret is one of the first signs of a close relationship in children. Close friends can be trusted with a secret. Whisper a secret in your partner’s ear something that they have never heard from your lips before. You could tell a secret about your childhood, or something hidden about you, or whisper about your feelings for them. If whispering in their ear is too intense, then write it down in a card and share it with your partner.
2 – Boost your immune system.
A spate of studies confirms that genuine, close relationships have measurably good impacts on your health, both physically and mentally. People in loving relationships have healthier immune systems than those who do not enjoy such intimacy.
It’s not difficult to see why this would be true. Being in a genuine close relationship means sharing living spaces with other people, eating and sleeping with them, drinking from the same water spigot, breathing a lot of the same air, and sharing the same bathrooms. We live a portion of our lives with them.
For this intimacy booster, take this bit of knowledge about how close relationships help boost the immune system and turn it into a guessing game with your partner. What does your partner do for you that boosts your immune system? Can they guess it? What do they do for you that makes you feel fulfilled? Try it for a couple rounds and then change roles. Talk and joke about what each of you said. Keep it light-hearted and fun.
3 – Create regular date times and they don’t have to last all night.
When people first fall in love, they make time for each other. As you grow more comfortable with each other, life seems to get in the way. It’s easy to forget to set aside time for each other, especially if you have children. But a relationship cannot last if you don’t spend time together.
People often claim that planning a time to reconnect, takes the spontaneity out of intimacy, so I encourage people to be spontaneous within that planned time. The commitment is to share an hour a week to keep your relationship sacred, to keep a lot of heart in it. By making this commitment you’re creating a sacred space for your relationship, a secure spot in the weekly cycle that both of you can look forward to. You could make it simple like trade foot massages, or take a walk around the neighborhood and hold hands, or prepare a meal together and then feed each other, or take a shower together. You get the picture: Be creative and fun.
4 – Engage in a new “unusual” activity and it can be simple and inexpensive.
Here’s an example. When I was dating my now-husband David, we made a date to go to the Mall of America. Now neither of us are mall-people. We’re simply not fans of these kinds of shopping experiences. But on this occasion, we made a plan to break out of our usual activities and give it a try. We shopped, ate at the food court, went on rides, and had our photo taken in one of those picture booths that makes it look like you’re hanging out with a couple of chimpanzees. It was perfect! We had a blast.
5 – Play a fun game that encourages vulnerability and intimacy.
My new favorite is the game by relationship expert Esther Perel, “Where Should We Begin – A Game of Stories.” This one helps create amazing connections. Esther says this is a great game because it includes “sharing, listening, risk, laughter and discovery. ” Here’s a link.
6 – Clear the air and your energy field.
Sometimes, before you can be playful and spontaneous, you need to clear the air. This is a friendly sit-down conversation with your significant other. Acknowledge recent the incidents where the two of you didn’t see eye to eye. Maybe some less-than-supportive things were said. Together do a reconnaissance of the situation. This is not an opportunity to air out old grievances. That can be another time. It is about clearing the air, clarifying, even cleansing. Recognize the old shoes of disagreement and agree, for right now, to move beyond them. Note new areas of contention that will likely need to be revisited in the future. Put them aside for now. Then reaffirm the good things about your relationship. Be in the here and now and revel in your ongoing pursuit of intimacy, both the highs and lows, while holding compassionately your shortcomings. This is not a time to blame the other person for something, or go into a shame-hole about yourself (although I’m sure we’ve all been there!) This is a time to step back, take a deep breath of fresh air, be in the here and now and remember the good things that bring the two of you together.
If you and your partner are open to the practice of energy healing, there’s an exercise I often use with couples to remove negative “thought forms” and replace them with “positive thoughts forms.” This practice is based on the principle that thoughts have weight and gain energy through habitual attention and related feelings. These thought forms reside in a person’s energy field.
As a relationship-boosting practice; begin with the two of you sitting across from one another and taking turns saying a one word concept that describes a thought form you’d like to release for example, “I’m releasing criticism” and then take your hand and use it as an “energy scoop” to remove that energetic thought form from your field. You then use your other hand to “add in” a positive concept such as “I’m filling myself up with acceptance” and reach out and “scoop” fresh energy into your field and charge it with the vibration of acceptance.
7 – Show Gratitude Rather Than Complaining
Positive energy flows between two people when there is an attitude of gratitude.Constant complaints, on the other hand, create a heavy, negative energy, which is not fun to be around. People who complain a lot come off stingy. Both criticisms and positive comments affect not only our energy fields, but our brains and bodies as well. Husband and wife team, Richard and Judith Glaser; he a biochemist, she a writer and business consultant, have studied why relationships are so healthy for human beings. They claim they help mute the usual stress response system that fires whenever we feel threatened. There are fewer abrasive cortisols and adrenalines running our body’s show. In other words, with love in our lives, we handle the world’s stresses better. So precious are relationships for our well-being, that the Glaser’s encourage us to be gracious and grateful in our relationships rather than being complainers and stress-makers.*