A horse, you may ask? Well, we will get to that later…

Many people will make resolutions for their relationships this time of year, such as improving intimacy. If you want to improve your intimacy—or make any other changes—you must first have a clear idea of what needs improvement and how it can be accomplished, and then make a list of action steps to take toward the desired goal. The next step? Take action.

There are many different aspects of intimacy in a relationship, but this article will focus on physical intimacy. Physical intimacy is much more than just a sexual relationship with your partner. Sexuality is important in any relationship because it allows you to connect to your partner at a very deep emotional, physical, and spiritual level. However, true intimacy and sexuality has been so distorted in our society that many people have learned to separate the spiritual and emotional aspects from the physical. There is much more to physical intimacy—and what leads to sexuality intimacy—than just the physical act.

It is no secret that we have an innate need to connect to others at a physical level. Media and marketing companies spend billions of dollars creating advertisements that sell to us based on that need. Like they say, “sex sells.” However, what the media sells is not true physical intimacy. Instead, it sells a false image of gratification through a very narrow source—physical appearance and sex. It’s not about sex, it’s about connection.

Physical touch and connection is vitally important for our overall well being.

An infant’s body goes through drastic, painful changes, to the extent that their bodies can grow up to half an inch in one night. When a child is being held by the parent or caregiver, the physical touch is doing much more than just comforting the child. Physical contact with infants triggers their brain to produce natural pain killers, which eases the discomfort caused by rapid growth. Physical touch allows the infant’s body and mind to focus on growth and development instead of the pain. Many studies have shown that infants who are not held and that do not receive physical touch can suffer from neurological dysfunctions later on in life, and some even die due to what’s called “failure to thrive.” If we can see the power of physical touch on infants, we can understand the power physical touch has on adults. As adults, physical touch is not only comforting but it is healing at a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. When you hug someone, you both produce endorphins that elicit feelings of happiness.

This is the part where the horse comes in. The connection, healing, and happiness induced by physical touch is not limited to our interactions with other people. We can benefit from our physical interactions with animals as well, which is why so many people enjoy sharing their lives with pets. Horses offer a unique example:

Studies show that when a person touches a horse the horse’s heart rate will actually mimic that of the person touching them.

It is as if the horse is synchronizing to that person’s energy, or flow. This connection with horses is healing and powerful, which is why horses are so often used in therapeutic settings, such as working with people who have a variety of disabilities, including children with autism. Horses teach us how to be intimate with another.

Horses teach us that physical touch and connection to another being can create an experience of oneness.

In today’s society, many of us lead very busy lives. Our hectic schedules can leave little energy or desire to connect intimately. This can cause a snowball effect: The less we connect intimately, the less desire there is.

It is not that the desire is lost, it is that we develop a resistance to the initiation of intimacy. This is partially caused by our society’s misunderstanding of what intimacy is and what actions or circumstances lead to intimacy. Partners often get into a stalemate, where both partners are waiting for the other to make a move. If your New Year’s resolution is to increase intimacy in your relationship, it’s time to take the first step.

If you desire deep, true physical intimacy with your partner, you must nurture it just like you would nurture a delicate plant. Below are some tips to create and maintain intimacy in your relationship. Little things you do throughout the day will add up, and they are the keys to creating excitement and the desire to connect at a deeper level.

Take advantage of opportunities to have physical contact:

Hold hands when walking or in the car.
When walking past your partner reach out and give him a slight touch in their back, hand, arm, or wherever appropriate (or inappropriate).
Give each other a genuine squeeze and kiss in the morning before departing or when you first see each other after you’ve been apart.
Randomly kiss your partner on the cheek, hand, or lips.

Create positive communication:

Create and share together a vision of your relationship in 2012—intimacy is about feeling that you are sharing your journey.
Discuss each other’s needs, wants, and how you define intimacy (I recommend looking up the “5 Love Languages” online and taking the quiz).
Throughout the day, send texts or email, leave a sticky note, or call her to let her know that you are thinking about her.
Compliment each other frequently Make eye contact when talking

Set aside time for each other:

If you can make time for everything else in life you should be able to mutually set time aside for each other!
Give each other weekly massages.
Don’t wait until you’re about to fall asleep to turn of the TV.
Have cuddle time.
Take time to visualize being intimate with your partner throughout the day.
Start something new together, like dance or yoga classes.

Remember that your partner is a blessing and that your time with that special person is not guaranteed and should not be taken for granted. Resolve to improve your relationship in 2012 by committing to taking the actions mentioned above. Implement at least five of the recommendations consistently and then cherish those moments because these practices will not only improve the well being of your relationship but also your life.

Additionally, remember that when people mysteriously “fall out of love” it is usually because intimacy has disappeared. Create and maintain physical intimacy in your relationship and you will find that not only can it heal your mind, body, and soul—you may find that you fall in love all over again.

Author's Bio: 

Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed., Ph.D. (ABD) holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is currently completing his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Psychology. Joeel’s extensive career as a relationship coach includes certifications in P.R.E.P, a 30-year research-based program for couples, Nurturing Father’s curriculum, and Parenting 21st Century. Joeel is now taking a select number of Life, Relationship, and Entrepreneurship Coaching clients. Contact Joeel at joeel@transformationservices.org