Have you worked hard to build a strong, loving relationship with your partner only to find the relationship lost its spark somewhere along the way?
At the beginning of a relationship, there's energy and excitement. You're discovering chemistry and attraction with your partner. Eventually, you may find the daily grind of life takes over your passion, and intimacy begins to take a backseat to everyday life.
Intimacy is a feeling of closeness and connection with another person. When that connection dwindles, we become less intimate and lose passion. Before you know it, your relationship is affected, and it threatens the partnership you worked so hard to build.
In this article, Jay Shetty shares five methods to improve intimacy, stop relationship boredom and rekindle the connection between you and your partner. Learn how to strengthen your relationship and reignite the fire that once burned bright.
Disclose More of Yourself
There's a Japanese saying that we have three faces. The first you show to the world. The second you show to your close friends and family. The third is the one you never show to anyone.
“Now, whether you think this is true or not, what it shows us is that there are multiple identities in a relationship,” Jay Shetty shares. “Studies show that as we become more vulnerable with people, the closer they feel to us, and the closer we feel to them.1 This is why you don't tell your life story to a stranger or someone you've just met.”
Sharing your innermost self with your partner deepens the bond between you. Vulnerability and intimacy go hand in hand.
If you find yourself thinking there is nothing new to share – perhaps you’ve been together so long you think your partner knows all there is to know about you – then Jay Shetty urges you to take a look at your life. Are you investing time in yourself?
“It's your responsibility to educate your partner more about you,” explains Jay Shetty. “The important thing about this principle is you have to make time to do the inner work and take the time to share these moments.”
Investing in yourself to grow as a person means you are continuously filling your brain with amazing things to share and stories to tell. There is no time for boredom when you learn, grow and communicate with your partner. If you are growing, you can help your partnership grow.
Keep It Fresh
Does your typical date night consist of dinner and a movie or take-out and Netflix?
It is great to carve out time for date night, but when it becomes the same thing repeatedly, it can lose its luster and may take a toll on your intimacy.
Getting stuck in the same date night routine doesn't give you much opportunity to learn anything new about your partner. You might be together physically, but not connecting emotionally. There might be some small talk at the dinner table, but eventually, it turns into both of you scrolling social media on your phones to pass the time until your meal arrives.
“Doing new things is important, because in that new you learn something new about your partner,” explains Jay Shetty. The key is to try something new for both of you so you’re both able to learn something new about each other.
“You want to create a space where both of you feel like you’re both going to learn something new today,” shares Jay Shetty. “You are going to feel uncomfortable and are going to need each other today. You are going to have to rely on each other. All of a sudden, intimacy starts to build because you are genuinely exposing yourself to each other.”
It doesn't matter if you are on your first or 100th date. Doing something new together is a great way to create a connection.
Work Together on a Project
Take the idea of trying something new for date night one step further and tackle a project together. Too often, our lives become separate.
Jay Shetty explains that there are actually three relationships inside a relationship. First, there's the relationship you have with the other person and their purpose. Second, there's the relationship they have with you and your purpose. Third, there’s the relationship you have with yourself and your purpose.
Giving yourselves something to work on together deepens intimacy and commitment to each other as you strive to reach the goal you set together. It is easy to get caught up in what is going on in your life with your career, but there are other parts of the equation that need your attention.
“As a couple in a relationship, you have to achieve things together,” Jay Shetty explains. “A project gives you a very tangible, short-term goal or a long-term goal that prioritizes and focuses your connection on something meaningful.”
When you reach the goal, the pride you will feel as a couple will foster a deeper connection with each other.
Create a Safe Space for Honesty
You have probably heard the saying that honesty is the best policy. That may be true, but sometimes being honest is not easy in a relationship if the environment doesn't feel safe. This is why it is imperative to create a safe space for your partner to be honest with you, says Jay Shetty.
Honest communication should be the goal for all relationships. But there are times when your partner says things that trigger you, and you retaliate by refusing to hear what they have to say. Or vice versa – your partner shuts down and doesn't want to listen to your opinion of things.
Jay Shetty finds in his coaching, he encounters couples who feel judged by their partners over things they say.
“How many people have stopped disclosing things in relationships because they feel judged or that their opinions are not appreciated?” questions Jay Shetty.
When you feel judged by your partner, it causes you to be less vulnerable. You don't want to disclose any more than you need to for fear of being judged. If you shut down your partner's opinions, you are not creating a safe space to connect.
“People think if I agree with my partner, they agree with me, then we go deeper,” explains Jay Shetty. “But that's not true. Let them express why they feel that way, and instead of jumping to conclusions to defend your point of view, ask ‘Where did that thought process come from? How do you think we could avoid that? Could I ask you if you could ever see that differently?’”
Asking these questions allows you to see their point of view without offending or making them feel judged. It creates a safe environment for them to open up and be honest.
Intimacy is created by expressing gratitude, and gratitude is a great way to lift up yourself and others. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose sight of what we are thankful for in our partner.
Jay Shetty explains that often we're not clear about what we love about our partner. We don't want to be cheesy, predictable, or risk sounding soft, so we assume they already know.
Don't wait for the days when you are supposed to express gratitude, like birthdays and holidays. Start expressing gratitude to your partner now. Thank them for cooking dinner, washing your clothes or even providing a place where you feel safe and loved.
It’s far easier to express gratitude today than struggle with the regret you would feel if something happened and you never got to tell them. Live in the moment. Jay Shetty encourages you not to leave the door open for what-ifs.
“I've realized when we notice more things about our partners more often, not only are we reminded of how incredible they are, but they are also reminded of how incredible they are,” Jay Shetty shares. “This rewards our relationship exponentially. Compliments and genuine acts of service make such a big difference in relationships.”
There's a beautiful thought, which is often credited to the Buddha. When asked the question, “What's the difference between I like you, and I love you?” Buddha is said to have replied, “When you like a flower, you just pluck it. Maybe you smell it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.”
You can’t stop watering the flower of your relationship. If you do, it stops growing. The flower starts to wilt, everything starts to fall apart and it dies. If your relationship is dying, it's not because the person was wrong. It's not because you made a bad decision. It's because you stopped watering it.
You must choose to learn and grow together. Don't stop watering the flowers in your garden. Nurture them to create a masterpiece that brings you joy.
The Five Es to Create Intimacy
Do you want to create more intimacy in your relationship? Jay Shetty’s five Es are a great way to turn it up a notch.
- Experiments – Experiment with new things together. Try out an escape room or go to a tasting session.
- Experiences – Try a new dish, or take a dance class together. Check out a new venue, or visit a new city together. Experiencing new things together is exciting.
- Events – When was the last time you went to a new event together? An event is something you can discuss and review with each other.
- Education – Learn something new together. Take a course or a workshop together to learn a new skill or gain knowledge.
- Entertainment – Find a form of entertainment you enjoy together. Maybe you have a show you only watch together or a game you play to pass the time. It’s healthy to engage in entertainment together.
Don't throw in the towel if you find your relationship is leaving something to be desired. Fan the flame to reconnect with your partner by employing Jay Shetty's tips. It is not too late to find that connection with your partner and reignite the fire that once burned so bright.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “5 Ways to Improve Intimacy and Save Love and Relationships from Boredom and Breakup” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.