A common theme I’ve come across in my practice and in talking with people in my personal life is intimacy in a relationship. When problems arise one of the first things to go out of the window is intimacy. When working on relationship issues this is a major hurdle to address because it’s complex and uncomfortable.

Intimacy is not just about sex. Intimacy is about the language spoken between a couple. It’s about physical touch. It’s about opening up emotionally to one another. It’s about letting the other person see into your soul. It’s about having a spiritual connection with each other and your higher power.

I decided to get some feedback and advice from men about what intimacy means to them and what stops intimacy. This is what I learned:

– Men want to be valued and appreciated for what they do in the relationship
– Men want women to be on their side, even if they are in the wrong. If a man is complaining about his boss, he doesn’t want to hear “I told you so” when his spouse comments. He wants to be supported and validated for his feelings (just like women)
– Men want affection and romance, it just might look differently then what women want and this is where compromise can come in
– Men want their ideas to be heard, even if they seem outlandish

So here are some suggestions on things a couple can do to improve intimacy in their relationship:

– Take up a hobby together. Anyone up for obstacle course runs ? Become activities partners, in addition to the other partnerships you’ve created
– Bring romance into your relationship. Light some candles. Put on your favorite music. Draw a bath and sit in the tub together and talk about your day
– Take time to be your own person. When people grow as individuals they bring strength into their relationship
– Turn mundane events into celebrations. Break out the fancy china. Buy flowers for the table. Have dessert at every meal

I’d love to hear from women on what intimacy means to them and how men can respond to their intimacy needs in a relationship.

20130722-180739.jpg

Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.