A happy, healthy, and successful relationship rests upon creating a deep and lasting bond.
But how do you deepen that level of intimacy?
This article will offer plenty of practical tips to help you to better connect with your partner on another level.
How to connect with your partner on a deeper level: 15 no bullsh*t tips
1) Have deep conversations
Talking is always a great way to deepen your connection with your partner. In particular, by asking questions.
I’m sure you already do ask your other half plenty of questions in order to try to get to know them even better.
But in this instance, we’re talking about meaningful questions that encourage your partner to reveal more about themselves.
Psych Central suggests that asking certain open-ended questions can build better emotional intimacy.
They recommend focusing on questions that find out:
- What thoughts and events shaped their past
- What ideas factor into their character today
- What your partner presently feels they need
- What values and goals make up their heart’s desire
Having fun together is great, but life has a serious side too. Be sure to share your thoughts with one another on the important big topics— politics, religion, spirituality.
Find out your partner’s biggest hopes, dreams, and fears. It’s important in discovering what really makes each other tick.
2) Practice vulnerability to open up to one another
When it comes to creating connected and authentic relationships one thing is vital, and that’s vulnerability.
As Researcher and author Brene Brown explain, vulnerability is essential for loving relationships to grow:
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.”
Ways to practice more vulnerability in your relationship can include:
- Asking for what you need from your partner, and vice versa
- Be willing to voice your true feelings, even when it feels uncomfortable or you are nervous of rocking the boat
- Not shying away from healthy conflict
- Discussing the “tough” topics in your relationship
- Share what’s going on for you with your partner
The reality is that vulnerability can be incredibly challenging. It feels exposing to us. But it is that exposure to your partner that will draw you even closer.
When we choose to reveal our true selves to someone, it shows courage, trust, and respect. Try to lead by example and open up as much as you can to your partner.
Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses and flaws.
Here’s Brene Brown again:
“I think daring greatly is about showing up and being seen. It’s about owning our vulnerability and understanding it as the birthplace of courage and the other meaning-making experiences in our lives.”
3) Respect your differences
Every single one of us on this planet is different. No matter how many similarities we find, there will always be differences too.
Whether it’s personality differences, cultural differences, biological differences, or differences in upbringing. We’re never going to think and feel exactly the same as our partners.
Recognizing and respecting differences is an important part of showing respect.
And that’s going to help create a deeper connection. You and your partner need to feel safe to express yourselves.
- Not criticizing or judging each other’s ideas and interests.
- Disagreeing with one another in respectful ways
- Approaching your differences with compassion and empathy
When our partner says something we don’t agree with or don’t like, it’s tempting to get defensive.
But dismissing each other’s feelings ultimately drives a wedge between you.
In order to connect on a deeper level, try to accept the thoughts and feelings you both express.
4) Improve your communication
If you want to connect with your partner on a deeper level, then look at improving communication.
No matter how well you feel you communicate, there’s always usually room for improvement. Sometimes the more we feel like we know our partner, the more we assume rather than communicate.
As highlighted by certified coach Birgit Ohlin in Positive Psychology:
“Unhealthy verbal communication often starts with negative thoughts or difficult emotions rather than words. If you are in a long-term romantic relationship, you have spent enough time with your partner to feel like you know them inside-out. You anticipate how they react in certain situations, however, your idea of who they are may lead to missing an opportunity to re-discover them.
“This often has a negative impact on how we communicate in a romantic relationship—relationships are all about remaining curious about who the other person really is and how they see the world.”
To improve communication aim to:
- Avoid assumptions
- Ask open questions
- Look for body language cues
- Use “I feel” statements to avoid assigning blame
- Allow space to process your own feelings
- Don’t shy away from difficult conversations
- Practice active listening
- Make room for both of you to contribute to a conversation
- Set aside a specific time each week to have meaningful talks, and raise any problems
5) Learn the art of love and intimacy
Let’s face it, love is more of an art than a science. It can be the best feeling in the world, and the worst — all at the same time.
Connecting with your partner on a deeper level requires a deeper understanding of the very nature of love itself.
The problem is that so many of us misunderstand love, and buy into certain myths that surround it.
We can fall into bad love habits, and expect a relationship to swoop in and save us. We can form unhealthy expectations of what love and relationships should provide us.
And this is what ultimately then drives a wedge in relationships and separates us rather than brings us closer together.
When I stumbled upon the teachings of the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê I understood for the first time how my own misgivings about love had sabotaged me in the past.
He showed me how to break free from those damaging ideas I’d been unconsciously carrying around to experience true love.
In this free video, he shares three vital ingredients to completely change your love life and create a fulfilling and healthy relationship.
Because the real power, as you’ll discover if you watch his free video, lies in us rather than outside of us.
6) Create more quality time together
Life gets busy. And that can mean that your relationship slips down your priority list.
But one of the often overlooked reasons why we fall in love with someone in the first place is proximity.
As unromantic as it sounds, being literally close to someone helps us to become closer emotionally.
The fancy word for this is ‘propinquity’, and research has found it plays a part in attraction.
As defined by Psychology Today, propinquity:
“Includes familiarity with the other, which can be caused by spending time together, living near each other, thinking about the other, or anticipating interaction with the other.”
The more quality time you can spend with your partner, the deeper your bond will grow.
Relationships coach and author Sarah Bell says quality time serves a couple in several ways:
- Communication. It gives you distraction-free time to talk, and helps you stay current with your partner and what’s going on in your lives.
- Novelty. If you engage in fun, exciting and unusual activities, you’re more likely to buck the trend of taking each other for granted.
- Eros. Planning good times together can help keep your passion alive over time.
- Commitment. It can foster a greater sense of togetherness. By prioritising time together, you’re signaling to others the importance of your relationship.
- De-stress. Stress is one of the biggest threats to a strong relationship. Making sure you have time together planned lets you relax, have fun and unwind.
7) Seek out new experiences
The more experiences you share with your partner, the more you two will connect on a deeper level.
That means actively seeking out things that you can do together.
It might be trying out a new hobby or activity, or it could be learning something new together, like a language or instrument.
Even the most seemingly simple things can create lasting memories — dancing, sharing jokes together, and cooking together.
You may be surprised at just how much fun and frivolity can do to deepen a relationship.
So don’t forget to look on the light sight of life to help you to create more depth to your bond.
Research has shown that there are many positive effects of shared experiences. Not only do we end up feeling closer, but the experiences are more enjoyable than if we did them alone.
Dr Paula Durlofsky points out:
“Our sense of belonging and deep connection with others isn’t just based on sharing secrets, vulnerabilities or our true thoughts and feelings. Sharing lived experiences, like going to a holiday party, a concert, or running a race with a close friend or family member is also key to forming deep bonds. Shared experiences have a number of positive influences on our emotional wellbeing and connectedness.”
8) Actively look for the best in one another
Your mindset to a large extent shapes your entire reality and that includes your relationship with your partner too.
Stop nagging at each other and focus on the positives instead. Here’s a common pattern that many of us can most likely relate to:
When you first get together those feel-good hormones flood your body to make you see your partner with rose-tinted glasses. But as time goes on and we become more aware of each other’s flaws, those glasses come off.
As even more time goes on, we can find ourselves focusing on those flaws and becoming fixated. We go from looking for the best in our partner to looking for the worst.
But the more critical we are, the more defensive our partner will be. And that’s bound to come between you.
Rather than expecting perfectionism, try to practice understanding. Don’t sweat the small things and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Is who last unloaded the dishwasher really so important in the grand scheme of things?
Instead of becoming hyper-vigilant to one another’s slip-ups, focus on being hyper-vigilant to all the good things.
Remind yourself of your partner’s strengths, admirable qualities, and all the things they do for you.
Which leads us nicely to the next point…
9) Express gratitude
When you notice the things that your partner does for you — little or large — be sure to show appreciation.
Gratitude has an almost magical impact. As explained by Harvard Medical School:
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”
You can harness this in your relationship by offering praise and thanks to your partner.
You might decide to:
- Write a letter expressing all the things you appreciate about your partner
- Leave little thank you notes for them to find
- Show your gratitude with little romantic gestures
The more appreciated your partner feels the stronger your relationship will be, and they’re much more likely to reciprocate.
Showing appreciation is so important to creating a deep bond.
In fact, as relationship expert Susan Winter explains, its absence in a relationship is what can cause couples to fall apart and cheat:
“Most people wrongly assume it’s because the sex is bad or there is no sex, but when someone doesn’t feel valuable, this is the number one reason [why they cheat],”
10) Build different types of intimacy
A deeper connection and increased intimacy go hand in hand.
Emotional intimacy contributes to overall relationship satisfaction. So much so that one study found that couples who had lower levels of emotional intimacy felt far more uncertain and dissatisfied and were more likely to cheat on their partner.
Intimacy takes several forms in a relationship: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.
Research has shown that physical touch can help us to increase bonds and feel less neglected.
And that’s not just sexual touch or the act of sex itself. We’re talking about hugs, kissing, and physical closeness to one another.
Meanwhile, emotional intimacy can be improved by many of the things we’re already touched upon.
- Better listening
- Speaking clearly and honestly
- Reassuring each other
- Expressing your needs and wants
- Discuss the future
- Accept the highs and lows of the relationship
- Discuss with each other what intimacy means to you and what it looks like
11) Stay independent
It can sound like a contradiction at first, but close relationships also need space.
Rather than create a deeper bond, trying to do everything together can start to feel restrictive and suffocating.
The most successful relationships maintain a healthy amount of autonomy and independence.
That means taking responsibility for yourself, rather than expecting your partner to fulfill all of your needs. It can also mean having separate interests and hobbies.
Taking time away from one another gives the relationship the breathing room it needs to thrive.
According to psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch, who is an expert on marriage and divorce, having enough space in a relationship is more important for a couples happiness than sex.
“When partners have their own set of interests, friends, and time for self, that makes them happier and less bored. Time alone also gives partners time to process their thoughts, pursue hobbies and relax without responsibilities to others.”
Taking alone time means that you can create a freshness to the relationship, and this actually supports a deeper connection.
As Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author, Esther Perel points out, desire relies on a certain amount of autonomy.
“Desire is rooted in absence and longing. And the experience of “not having” increases our “wanting.” If our partner is in front of us all the time, a business trip away or time with friends can give desire the space it needs to thrive.
It’s so easy to grow frustrated with each other when we’re constantly in each others’ spaces, making every decision together, going through the motions of a long life together. So, when they’re gone, it’s actually nice to miss them. Absence, it turns out, really does make the heart grow fonder.”
12) Make an effort
Making an effort is about paying attention to the small things. And it can take many forms.
In the early stages of a relationship, we tend to naturally make more of an effort as we attempt to impress and woo a potential partner.
As we feel more comfortable with one another, this can slide. We can become complacent.
But without enough attention and effort towards the relationship, that is when a gap can open up between us.
Never underestimate the power of making an effort.
It’s doing nice things for one another — making special dinners, bringing home thoughtful little gifts, being there to listen to each other at the end of a long day.
And it’s also saying nice things to each other and offering compliments that make one another feel appreciated.
Often it’s not the grand gesture, but more the little things that build trust and security in a relationship, which make you feel closer to one another.
13) Learn each other’s love language
The Five Love Languages made their way into popular culture after a book by Gary Chapman which asserted their are several different ways which we all express our love.
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Receiving gifts,
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
The theory is that depending on our personality type and things thing our upbringing and culture, we often prefer to both show and receive love in specific ways.
Someone may feel appreciated, spacial and valued when they get a gift from their partner, whereas others find spending time together more meaningful.
Learning your own love language and your partners can be helpful in cementing a deeper bond.
As love writer Kristen Rocco explains, couples often have different ideas when it comes to showing love:
“Knowing your love language gives you the communication to explain what’s most important to meet your emotional needs and also the insight to figure out what’s important to your partner so you can best meet their emotional needs.”
14) Get a relationship coach
Contrary to popular belief, relationship therapy or coaching isn’t just for struggling couples.
It can be a great way to keep your relationship in the best condition possible.
It allows you to set aside a dedicated time to focus on your relationship under expert guidance.
Psychologist Ryan Howes says it’s a good way to become closer:
“I’ve always been a believer that therapy is not just for making dysfunctional relationships good, but for making good relationships great. Smart couples are aware that tension and stress are a normal part of any relationship, and will work toward resilience instead of waiting for problems to erupt and rely on the repair process.”
With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences.
Relationship Hero is a site where trained relationship coaches can help couples to deepen their level of connection.
One of the reasons I always recommend Relationship Hero is that their coaches don’t just listen, they offer practical advice and solutions.
The site is really easy to use and allows you to connect with a certified relationship coach in minutes to get tailor-made advice, whatever your situation.
Click here to get started if you are curious about how relationship coaching could strengthen your partnership.
15) Be curious
Whenever we feel like we know someone well, we can fall into the habit of jumping to conclusions — even when those conclusions aren’t necessarily negative they can be damaging to your bond.
The truth is that people are complex and ever changing. In order to continue deepening your connection to your partner as time goes on, try to stay curious.
Curiosity is a powerful tool of exploration. Rather than think you know, try to always approach your partner with curiosity.
The more we seek to explore our partners, the greater the potential for new discoveries.
This not only helps to make sure the relationship is ever expanding, but it also means you continue to grow together.
Research has even found that being curious might be a social glue that strengthens our relationships.
As Therapist Tiffany Lepa explains, curiosity is great for relationships.
“Curiosity can lead to a sense of openness that allows safety in exploration leading to feeling more connected as you navigate new experiences together. Couples often note that in long-term relationships they begin to lack a spark, adventure, or spontaneity. This can lead to feelings of boredom and wondering if you have fallen out of love. Adding curiosity back into the mix can foster deeper connection.”