increasing intimacy without even talking

"The married are those who have taken the terrible risk of intimacy and, having taken it, know life without intimacy to be impossible"
~Carolyn Heilbrun~

There are many ways that you can become more intimate with your significant other. You could disclose your deepest thoughts and feelings, you could plan a romantic date just for the two of you, or you could share everything that you love about your partner with him or her. The problem with these suggestions are that many people have trouble communicating intimacy with others. What if I told you that you can convey intimacy without ever saying a word?

Research (e.g., Floyd & Burgoon, 1999; Floyd & Morman, 1999; Register & Henley, 1992; Rubin, 1973) has shown that many types of nonverbal communication can highlight, promote, and enhance intimacy in your close relationship. For instance, smiling at your partner or staring into your partner's eyes can increase intimate feelings between the two of you. Likewise, in order to convey affection and love, you could cuddle in bed, lean towards your partner, or just be physically close to your mate. So, instead of sitting on separate ends of the couch while watching TV, scoot closer to each other! Even spending one-on-one time, in silence, can increase intimacy in your relationship.

Try some of these intimacy-enhancing behaviors with your partner this weekend. You never know, you may become more comfortable with that whole "talking" thing.

  • Floyd, K., & Burgoon, J. K. (1999). Reacting to nonverbal expressions of liking: A test of interaction adaptation theory. Communication Monographs, 66, 219-239.
  • Floyd, K., & Morman, M. K. (1999). The measurement of affectionate communication.Communication Quarterly, 46, 144-162.
  • Register, L. M., & Henley, T. B. (1992). The phenomenology of intimacy. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, 467-481.
  • Rubin, Z. (1973). Liking and loving: An invitation to social psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

For additional information about creating intimacy, see the following resources:

1 comment:

Diana Daffner, Intimacy Retreats said...

As your opening quote says, engaging in intimacy is a risk, and one well worth taking. For couples already in a relationship, it is essential.

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