It’s not a surprise to any married woman that the word “intimacy” evokes a pretty strong reaction in men. Either they equate it with sex — always sure to elevate a man’s heart rate — or on some level they piece together that it might entail “sharing feelings,” “talking” or “emotionally connecting” — the kind of stuff that gets a man’s pulse racing in a very different way. So how can a woman get the emotional intimacy she wants in her marriage? Truly understanding the male mind is the key.

He Said, She Said
On average, a woman uses 7,000 words a day and five tones of speech. A man uses just 2,000 words and three tones. Women are talkers; men, not as much. We know this is nothing revolutionary, but stop to consider some neurological evidence that is — evidence that suggests why men and women are so different.
Recent studies have found that the act of talking triggers a flood of chemicals in a woman’s brain which gives her a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts on a high! On the other hand, talking about emotions actually increases men’s stress levels! While intimate conversation can create euphoric feelings in women, they are more likely to trigger that hardwired fight-or-flight response in men. Not just figuratively — literally!

Man to Man
If you think talking is the only way to gain emotional intimacy in your marriage, think again. It can actually be one of the best ways to push a man further away. Instead, lean into his definition of intimacy. Not sure he has one? Read on.
The key point women often don’t grasp is that men are capable of great intimacy. It just looks very different for men than it does for women. Try to accept that his approach is not better or worse. It’s just not yours.

For women, intimacy is intertwined with communication. Not for men. Think about some married men you know and how they relate to their friends. How they interact and what they do together most likely looks very different from your same-sex friendships. Whereas women tend to connect through expressing themselves, men find closeness through “doing.” Women often are dismissive of such male camaraderie. They don’t understand the appeal. But any woman interested in building a stronger marriage should look at this critical point. It is a real opportunity to relate to your husband in new and invigorating ways.

A New Approach
Communication is obviously vital to any healthy relationship. But as any married woman knows, trying to force her husband to communicate never works. She never quite gets what she wants. Instead, marriage experts advise individuals to shift away from their own personal desires and lean into the needs of their spouses.

So now that you know emotional intimacy for men tends to result from shared activity, try to honor this need. Look for new experiences to share. Get out of your routine. There might be activities that you both like doing together; or maybe one person’s interest can become the special thing you do together. Focus on and cultivate these activities.

Some couples choose to participate in a sport together. Others volunteer their time for a cause or take on a project to which they can each bring their skills, like home remodeling. New shared activities can also do wonders for reinvigorating chemistry between you. Right now you may be feeling comfortable with each other, but the relationship is not really that exciting. Doing new activities together is a great way to cultivate intimacy and bring passion to your marriage again.

Bottom Line
Want more intimacy with your man? Stop trying to get it in ways that don’t work. Instead, understand how he works. Talking is important, but it’s not the only way to jump-start intimacy. Think like a man to get what you need as a woman.

Author's Bio: 

eHarmony Marriage is a new, online alternative to marriage counseling. It's a private, personalized program that is designed to help you enjoy a stronger, happier and healthier relationship. We use your answers to our marriage questionnaire to focus on your areas of greatest need. When you visit eHarmony Marriage and take our questionnaire you'll receive a FREE Marriage Action Plan to show exactly how we can help you.