Fanning the Flames: 5 Couples’ Exercises to Increase Intimacy & Rekindle Romance
Does it seem like both you and your partner are living such busy, hectic lives, that you can’t remember the last time you talked about something other than picking up milk on your way home, or if they could please remember that the kids have to stay late at school for soccer practice?
It happens. Between demanding careers, the increasingly overwhelming presence that social media has in our lives, and, often, the addition of children to the unit, it can be hard to feel connected in the ways you once were.
Here are 5 mini-exercises that can help you do exactly that, from the comfort of your own bed!
1. The Look of Love
The first exercise is one that you might actually find the hardest, but difficult things tend to be worth doing!
Sit across from your partner cross-legged with your knees touching. If you or your partner can’t sit that way, you can try it lying on your side. From there, look into your partners and…
Hold it. For 3-5 minutes.
Yea, it might be awkward at first, and you might get giggly, but that’s fine! The point of this is that you’re forced to fully focus your attention on each other, and if that involves making a few funny faces for their benefit, that’s a good thing. Just don’t forget to blink!
2. Get Left Breathless
If you’ve tried yoga, or any other mindfulness exercises, you know that adjusting and controlling your breathing can have a surprisingly big effect on your mental state.
Set yourselves up as if you were going to do exercise #1 (in fact, you can transition to this after your eye lock exercise) and gentle touch foreheads with your eyes closed, and optionally with your hands clasped. Try to sync your breathing from feeling alone until you can breathe in sync for 7 breaths.
For something as simple as breathing, this exercise is much harder than it sounds!
3. Go to Sleep, Together
Screens have started to take up an increasingly large percentage of our day, and that includes during our before bed routine. Whether it be a novel on your e-reader, news on your phone or Netflix on your laptop, it has become more common for a screen to be the last thing you look at before you go to sleep.
One solution is to extend your post-screen pre-sleep cuddle time. It could be accompanied by conversation or completely silent, but the physical closeness lets you re-center the end of each day with a focus on each other.
If it helps keep cuddle time on track, you can pick a play list of about 15-20 minutes, or put on a podcast you both enjoy that a sleep timer that finishes just in time for a peck and goodnight.
4. If Truth Be Told
A game we particularly enjoy with anyone we’re getting to know is the ‘Pick 5 Things’ game. You can add it to your cuddle time if you’d like; the idea is simply to have the sort of light, silly questions that help you learn new things about your partner as if you were just starting to date again.
It can be anything from what 5 books they’d take on a desert island with them to the 5 movie stars they first had a crush on, just see where things go!
5. Like Music to Your Ears
As the exercises moved from non-verbal to verbal communication, our last is one that is all about talking and actively listening, and it works really well for couples where one partner may be quieter than the other.
You’ll need to set a timer, and we recommend starting with 3 minutes. One partner will then take those three minutes to completely vent, talking about anything they want as a stream of consciousness.
The listening partner will be listening (obviously) but will also refrain from offering any verbal response. After the timer finishes, they can share their thoughts, and then switch roles.
These are just 5 ideas from a multitude of connection exercises; if there is one that works particularly well for you and your partner, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Katy Thorn is a post-grad writer with a passion for writing about sex, sexuality, and all things rated R. She received her degree in Women’s Studies with a focus in Intersectionality at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). She has a cat named Yoko, drinks too much black coffee, and hates writing bios.