Intimacy is very important in one’s love relationship and is a key factor in the well-being and longevity of your love life. This “love glue” refers to the closeness and connection you feel with your partner. While there are different types of intimacy, most couples acknowledge feeling connected through emotional or sexual sharing. Romantic gestures, getting your partner’s attention, and keeping the line of communication open, create emotional closeness, while sensuous activities and sexual intercourse, account for the physical connection we feel with the one we love. Women usually move towards connecting sexually after feeling emotionally connected, while men move towards connecting emotionally, after feeling sexually connected. As important as this “love glue” is, it does not happen on its own, you have to cultivate and nurture it. “I don’t feel close to you any more,” could be an indication that your level of intimacy is in need of some attention. Here are five tips in nurturing intimacy in your relationship.

Create opportunities when you can be alone together
By creating these times of togetherness, you are nurturing intimacy In your relationship. You are being intentional in putting each other first on your list of priority. Of a fact, relationships grow stronger, when we spend time together. Whenever we give attention to something, we choose to create more of it, and conversely, whenever we ignore something we choose to let go of it. Set aside regular evenings, days or weekends when both of you can be together to focus on each other and on the relationship. As you spend this valuable time in each other’s company, listen without judgment, tune out all distractions, be present and enjoy each other’s company.

Be vulnerable with each other
The fear of being seen in your entirety can sometimes sabotage intimacy. This is because we are afraid of being judged, afraid of others seeing our imperfections. According to Brene Brown a researcher on vulnerability, in order for connection to occur we have to be seen, be authentic, be real, love with our whole heart and believe we are enough. So simply put, vulnerability is being willing to admit weakness, uncertainty and mistakes. It is emotional risk and the most accurate measure of your courage to allow yourself to be seen. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable with your partner, you are allowing trust and connection to develop, since intimacy is about being able to let your guard down and letting your spouse know how you really feel.

Build your trust for each other
To trust someone is to say I have confidence in you, I can depend on you. No relationship can survive without trust. When you trust your partner, you are able to share your feelings, emotions and vulnerable self, freely. Furthermore, if you don’t trust a person, you will not be able to love them, because without trust no one would extend their heart in love. It is important therefore to create an atmosphere of trust in your relationship by being honest, open, faithful, committed and reassuring on a regular basis. Intimacy therefore thrives when trust is present and disappears when trust is absent.

Manage your conflicts
According to relationship expert John Gottman conflicts develop because people attach different meanings to the same situation they are arguing about. At the heart of the conflict is the desire for connection, the desire to be heard, and to be understood. So the next time you and your partner have an argument or disagree about an issue, see it as a bid for connection. Look beyond the conflict and see if you are able to find the deeper feeling behind the anger, disappointment, or hurt. Talk to your partner about how you feel and what the issue means to you. Seek to find out how your partner feels also, as well as the meanings they have associated to the issue.

Get your hands regularly on each other
Research has shown that physical closeness is a very important factor in strengthening the bond in couple relationship. Doesn’t it feel different to walk barefoot along a lake or ocean than to hurriedly stride in shoes along a concrete path? You guessed right! We are most bonded with our spouse when we are touching, hugging, kissing or making love. When you touch, the bonding chemical oxytocin gets activated, bringing you closer to each other. Want to activate your bonding chemical? Why not get your hands on each other more often? Go ahead and passionately kiss each other. Offer your partner an after-work shoulder massage, take a bath together, snuggle up on the couch as you watch your favourite movie together and if you are adventurous enough, why not take a journey through a one hour sensual date together.

These are just a few tips in getting and keeping you and your lover connected and bonded, as you continue to nurture intimacy in your relationship.