Many couples often complain about the lack of quality time together. They often feel they do not have enough meaningful conversations or that they are not fully engaged with each other during the times they do spend with each other.

For these reasons, I believe it is very important for couples to dedicate time to nourish their relationships and create opportunities to be mentally, physically, and emotionally present with each other. During these times, they can share updates, feelings, concerns, joys, and physical expressions of love and affection.

When we prioritize an area in our life, we dedicate time to nurturing it and refining our skills around it. Think about the amount of time and energy you invest in your careers or other interests in your life. Our relationships are no different, except that we often assume they will thrive without requiring more attention.

The reality is that if you are seeking sexual and relationship wellness, you need to put in the work and be whole-heartedly present. Here are simple tools and suggestions to help enrich your emotional and sexual health in your romantic relationship. I encourage you to practice each of these at least once a week.

3 Steps to Improving Emotional Intimacy with Your Partner

1. Have a weekly “Relationship Check-In” to stay connected, informed, and proactive. Discuss and choose a time that should work for the two of you each week and sit somewhere relaxing together either indoors or outdoors while maintaining eye contact and holding hands. Keep this dialogue light and relaxed so that you make it a positive experience you will look forward to each week. Take turns having a brief dialogue about those main areas: Dr. Maha also offers a 6-week Relationship Mastery Course.

A. Share a sincere and specific appreciation with your partner.

B. Update them on something you learned or new information about yourself or your life.

C. Express a complaint and make a clear request in a constructive format. Explain the specific behavior that bothered you using “I feel” statements, and make a clear request for change for the future. For example, “I feel ignored when you check your phone when we are talking, and I would appreciate it if you could please put your phone away and look at me when I have something important to share”.

D. Show interest and curiosity in understanding your partner better and ask them a question about something you have been wondering about to gain clarity.

E. Talk about hopes and dreams you have been wanting to achieve, alone or together, big or small, short-term or long-term, and put a plan in place for what you want to make happen.

2. Dedicate 20-30 minutes two to three times a week where you spend time on physical expressions of love, affection, and sensuality. Keep in mind that this does not mean sex, and it does not have to lead to sex or arousal.

The purpose is to just connect on a physical level in any way that is comfortable for the two of you without the pressure of having to perform or give/receive pleasure.

Some ideas might be hugging for a few minutes, laying down on each other’s laps and playing with each other’s hair, laying in bed and taking turns touching each other’s bodies in a non-sexual way, kissing, caressing each other’s face, cuddling etc… You can set a time-limit of 10-15 minutes per person if that helps you plan it.

3. Dance! Pick a different song every day and just dance together. This literally takes a few minutes. You could pick a happy song, a sexy song, a romantic song, a rock song, anything you’re in the mood for that day. This is an easy way to get a few minutes together every day where you can connect and have fun together.

Dr. Maha Nasrallah-Babenko

Dr. Maha is committed to your journey of emotional, mental, relational, and sexual wellness. She is passionate about helping individuals and couples live, love, and sexually connect more authentically, freely, and courageously, through meaningful and challenging conversations and experiences. She is available for consultations and coaching sessions online and in Orange County, California.

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