“Intimacy transcends the physical. It is a feeling of closeness that isn’t about proximity, but of belonging.” Steve Maraboli
Men and women clearly have different strengths.
Women are naturally better at communicating than men. There have been a wide number of studies showing that women possess a larger vocabulary, process information and speak more quickly, literally using more words every day than men do.
And likewise, there are a number of things that men are naturally better at than women, such as problem solving, being direct and to-the-point, and even excelling at some mental tasks.
Science has told us that we evolved this way from the days of when men had to hunt for food and women stayed back to take care of the community and the family. Communication is a skill that has been cultivated in women for hundreds of years. During that time, communication was simply much less necessary for men – even potentially scaring off the prey for which they were hunting.
I work with women all day long where they’re craving a more intimate connection with their husbands. And they believe the best way to do this is to communicate more frequently and about deeper, more important topics. It makes sense since that’s where women are most comfortable. But just because that’s a skill that comes naturally for women doesn’t mean that is the singular way we can improve the connection and intimacy in our marriages.
Modern psychology suggests that communication is the path to creating intimacy. But given our respective histories regarding communication, that also implies then that men are going to struggle with intimacy, which isn’t necessarily the case. They might, however, struggle with delivering on the promise of intimacy in their marriages through the single portal of communication.
What I’m suggesting is that maybe communication isn’t the only answer to creating intimacy within the marriage. Maybe there can be many paths to intimacy when each partner is able to allow the other to express it in the way that feels good for them.
Much like the concepts expressed in Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, there is no one right way to show love and there is no singular right way to cultivate intimacy. So the most important thing to know is how your partner expresses love and attempts to cultivate a closer connection.
If long, in-depth conversations aren’t your husband’s strong suit, here are a few other ideas for creating intimacy:
- Find one thing to appreciate about one another each day and express that. Thank him for making a delicious meal. Tell him how that new shirt looks great on him. Tell him how he still makes you laugh, even after all these years.
- Be present for one another. When each other is speaking, look each other in the eyes, really listen without worrying about what you should say, put down the phone and turn off the television. Give your partner the gift of your attention.
- Create something together that feels fun for both of you. Cook a meal together, take a class together, complete a project around the house that you’ve both wanted to do for a while, or plan a vacation together. Coming together to create something new that didn’t exist previously is a fun way to feel more connected to one another.
Communication can be a great way to amplify intimacy within a marriage, but it doesn’t have to be the only way to do so. If one or both of you struggles with emotions, vulnerability and communication, there are many other ways to feel closer to your beloved. Give it a try.