Building Experiential Intimacy
Intimacy is not limited to just sex. There are five types of intimacy that you can experience with your spouse: emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, and experiential. Previous blogs on this website have addressed the other four types of intimacy, so this blog will explore and explain experiential intimacy and how to build it.
Definition of Experiential Intimacy
Experiential intimacy is when a couple does something together that strengthens their bond and draws them closer together, with or without speaking.
Experiential Intimacy can be enjoyed by couples who participate together in common hobbies, church and community activities, social events, and recreational pursuits. This type of intimacy is also built by being together for the “markers” of life, such as births, deaths, firsts, lasts, milestones, accomplishments, and defeats. This is why couples with lasting and satisfying relationships have such a deep intimacy in this area.
Each of you can be socially and recreationally engaged in life, but not with each other. You can enjoy meaningful work, volunteer for good causes, participate in social activities, and raise children, yet be disengaged from one another. This can lead to boredom and distance in your relationship. Life is meant to be shared with those we love, especially with your spouse.
- Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the activity has to be something you are both enthusiastic about. The event doesn’t have to be something that you love equally. It is enough that you love how your spouse enjoys it and that you are there to experience it together.
- Don’t discount the power and value of small, everyday tasks done together. Cooking, decorating, cleaning, yard work, etc., done as a team will build experiential intimacy. Making it fun or a competition will help to create an “experience.” If you are both exhausted, you will at least go to bed together when you are done.
- Don’t sabotage your spouse’s participation by the way that you ask. “I know you hate this, and you never want to do it, but” … is not an invitation your spouse is likely to accept.
- Don’t make your spouse feel that their efforts are not good enough. For instance, if they are not trimming the shrubs or folding the laundry to your standards and you communicate that to them, they are less likely to participate next time. So, what is more important – having a lifetime or memories or neatly folded clothes?
Ways to Create Experiential Intimacy
Experiential intimacy is created when you do activities together. It’s not so much about verbalizing your thoughts and feelings as it is about involving yourself in an activity and feeling intimacy from this involvement. Here are some ideas for you to consider.
- Prepare for a competition together. This could be something like a race or endurance event. You can help and support each other, train, and prepare. In the process, you build shared memories that are a greater prize than any medal or trophy.
- Work out together. Running, walking, strength training, yoga, and tai chi are just a few examples. You get the benefit of shared experiences and better overall health as a bonus!
- Do household chores as a team. Again, make this something you can enjoy by infusing some fun into doing them. Another approach is to reward yourself after you are done – snuggle on the couch and watch a game or a movie at home, go out for dinner or ice cream, etc.
- Go outside. Experience the outdoors by camping, hiking, biking, birdwatching, etc. Unplug from the world of electronic devices for a few hours, enjoy nature, and get some vitamin D3 naturally.
- Do what interests you and your spouse. Whatever either or both of you enjoy is the place begin- mini vacays, day trips, museums, concerts, art shows. One can book the event, and the other takes care of the other arrangements. Remember, you don’t both have to love the event, but you do want to enjoy your spouse’s love of it. Then, next time, do something that you love and they can delight in your enjoyment as you experience it together.
Living life as true partners, experiencing the difficult times as well as the joyful times, will create an intimate bond of love and intimacy that can’t be duplicated!
If you want to learn more about the five types of intimacy or how Love Recon seminars and coaching can help you and your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact me at Cliff@LoveRecon.org or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.