9 Exciting Ways to Nurture Intimacy in a Marriage or Relationship


By Oluwasola Samuel, Freelance Writer. With medical review and editorial support by the DLHA Team


Young black couple in intimate and romantic moment outdoor

Young black couple in intimate and romantic moment outdoor. Image by Freepik





In many African cultures, respect, loyalty, and family values are extremely important and openly entrenched in the value systems. Why so? They are important because they are the bedrock of Africa’s social constructs. 


However, in the domain of couples’ relationships, many African couples rarely have open discussions about building a solid relationship. The importance of this cannot be over emphasised as partners need an enabling environment for their relationship or marriage to thrive. 


Sharing intimate moments is a sure way to strengthen bonds and build an emotional connection in your relationship. If you want to reignite the spark in your relationship, or build intimacy, consider reading on. You will learn ways to nurture intimacy in your relationship or marriage. 



The importance of intimacy in a marriage or relationship


Intimate moments in a marriage are not only about making babies. It's funny how some couples still think that's the only reason to be intimate with their partner. Intimacy in a relationship is an act that aids emotional connection, trust, and bonding. It's high time you start seeing it that way. 


Also, there are many ways to be intimate with your partner. You can try out intimate actions like touching, massaging, kissing, hugging, hand-holding, or cuddling. (1) You should consider these acts to deepen your connection with your partner.


Furthermore, intimacy in marriage is the secret sauce that keeps marriage exciting. (2) Intimacy is not only about the physical stuff. It's also about the little and special moments you share with your partner that keep your connection strong. Think about it: when you focus on intimacy, it means you're investing in a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your partner. So, make time for those quiet and special moments. Surprise each other with small gestures and keep the spark in your sexual life alive. (3)


Sharing intimate moments with your partner not only makes you feel safe but also strengthens the bond you share. It reduces stress and helps improve communication with your partner. Intimate moments remind you of what you share and why you fell in love with your partner. 



9 Exciting ways to nurture intimacy in a relationship or marriage  

  • Show appreciation


Ensure you always appreciate your partner’s effort, no matter how small. Showing appreciation for little and important things simply means you value your partner and what they do. If you are a man or woman, appreciate your partner. Volunteer to do the dishes, take the kids to school, cook, do chores, or pay bills without any attempt at gender related assignment. 


After the show of appreciation, ensure you thank your partner and show how much you value his or her effort. This will give your partner a sense of value. It will also increase trust and intimacy.


  • Create time for each other


We live in a fast-paced world where sometimes you feel there isn't enough time to get things done. If you are in a relationship, create free time for your partner. Create time for fun activities and special moments where you spend quality time together. When you spend more time together, you are indirectly strengthening your marital bond and emotional connection.


  •  Remember to celebrate special moments


If you want to build a healthy and thriving relationship, do not let special moments go by without celebrating them with your partner. These special moments are important for a reason. They are opportunities to strengthen your intimacy and remind each other of how special and much you love each other. Always celebrate special moments like birthdays, marriage anniversaries, and other special moments that might be special to your partner.


  • Support your partner’s dreams and goals


Supporting your partner’s dreams and goals is one of the most important things you can do to strengthen and nurture your relationship. When you support your partner, it creates a sense of trust and security, and it improves your partner’s self-esteem. This also gives your partner the extra push needed to smash their goals. Overall, supporting your partner creates a positive atmosphere for a healthy or thriving relationship.


  • Leave love notes for your partner


This simple act might sound ordinary, but it sure does wonders. All you need is a pen and a small note. You could write, “I will always love you, darling.” This is you reassuring your partner that you love them. After writing a lovely and intentional note, stick it where your partner would easily see it. When you do this often, you are creating a positive atmosphere for your relationship to thrive.


  • Show physical affection


Physical affection like a passionate or playful touch, hug, cuddle, or massage shows you are passionate about your partner. When your partner gets home after a long day, you could offer a massage to ease stress. A study shows the relationship between affectionate touch and psychological and physical well-being. (4) To build a thriving and healthy relationship, you should not ignore the importance of touch. Also, physical touch is a great way to build an emotional connection and bond.


  • Listen to your partner


Instead of always reacting to your partner’s complaints, ensure you listen. Most times, many people don't engage in active listening. If you want less friction in your relationship, ensure to listen to your partner. When you actively listen, you get vital details. For example, when your partner complains, ensure to listen and empathise. Also, if your partner is excited about something, make sure you pay attention and rejoice together. Everyone likes to be heard. When you listen to your partner, it means you care and value the intimacy you share. 


  • Forgive each other


More often, partners don’t forgive each other, and this causes grudges. They hang on to grudges and bring up past issues. When partners bring up past events to support the present argument, it's a recipe for disaster. A thriving and healthy relationship shows you should learn to forgive and move on. Hanging on to the past is a recipe for disaster in the long run. When you forgive your partner and move on, this means you value your relationship. It also means you have found ways to settle your dispute or differences.


  • Trust and respect each other 


A healthy relationship thrives on trust. Trust is the foundation of any relationship or marriage. Trust is built over time through constant open communication with your partner. Also, ensure you keep your promises and agreements with your partner. This act fosters long-term trust and respect.


In addition, when you have mutual respect for your partner, it simply means you value and respect your partner’s feelings, values, or opinions. The more you continue to uphold this standard in your relationship, the stronger the foundation of your love, trust, and respect



Challenges of intimacy in marriage


Sexual and physical intimacy are important parts of any marriage. Marriage partners should enjoy intimate moments. But when partners allow other things to divert their attention, for too long, it could cause marital issues. (2)


Furthermore, sexual and emotional intimacy is important for a lasting relationship or marriage. (5) When there is little to no sexual and emotional intimacy in your marriage, it could lead to feelings of loneliness, mental stress, emotional disconnection, and neglect. 


If you fail to connect or communicate with your partner, you create an emotional distance between you and your partner. Over time, this void could become bigger. It could also leave partners depressed and feeling unfulfilled in marriage.


Let's take a look at some challenges of intimacy in marriages: 


  • Ageing


Your body changes as you age. These changes can affect your intimate life with your partner. No need to worry; it's normal. For women, as you age, your estrogen levels decrease during menopause, which can lead to lower libido and virginal dryness. For men, your testosterone levels decrease with age, which can affect libido and result in erectile dysfunction, and a drop in overall energy.


  • Medical problem 


Chronic pain, permanent disability, injuries, or surgeries can limit your ability to get intimate with your partner. Getting a physical touch might be a challenge, and this can affect your sexual life.


  • Parental responsibilities 


Taking care of kids as parents can be fun and amazing. But let's be real: It can be exhausting most times. Sometimes, you feel you are always working without taking a break. It becomes difficult to get intimate with your partner. You need to find a balance between the kids and your intimate time to help build a healthy and thriving relationship. 


  • Unresolved conflict 


When conflict lingers on for too long, it could create an invisible bridge that affects your intimate life with your partner. The longer you and your partner linger, the less intimate time you spend together. This could lead to unwanted outcomes in your marriage. 


  • Mental health issues 


Depression and feelings of anxiety or trauma can hinder intimate time with your partner. Mental health issues can make it hard to communicate effectively, connect emotionally, and seek support. This can lead to emotional disconnection and withdrawal from people. 


  • Poor communication 


Your inability to communicate effectively with your partner will reduce the amount of intimate time you spend together. You should have an open and effective dialogue about your intimate life with your partner. When you do this, you and your partner will understand each other's physical and sexual needs and desires.





Nurturing a thriving and healthy relationship is not child’s play, and it's not achieved in a day. A healthy relationship requires commitment, patience, and perseverance from both partners. Each partner must own up to his or her responsibilities. Also, be willing to make the relationship thrive. 


Please remember, that building a thriving relationship is not a matter of how long, but how well you want your relationship to grow and be fruitful. Create an enabling environment for your relationship to thrive. You will surely reap the reward sooner rather than later. Now that you have learned ways to use intimacy to build a healthy relationship, ensure you apply them, be consistent, and be intentional about it.           




1. Xu S, Xu C, McIntyre S, Olausson H, Gerling GJ. Subtle Contact Nuances in the Delivery of Human-to-Human Touch Distinguish Emotional Sentiment. IEEE Trans Haptics. 2022 Jan-Mar;15(1):97-102. doi: 10.1109/TOH.2021.3137833. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9006181 

2. Kardan-Souraki M, Hamzehgardeshi Z, Asadpour I, Mohammadpour RA, Khani S. A Review of Marital Intimacy-Enhancing Interventions among Married Individuals. Glob J Health Sci. 2016 Aug 1;8(8):53109. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v8n8p74.  Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5016345/   

3. Impett EA, Strachman A, Finkel EJ, Gable SL. Maintaining sexual desire in intimate relationships: the importance of approach goals. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 May;94(5):808-23. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.5.808. (Abstract) Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18444740/

4. Liu D, Piao Y, Ma R, Zhang Y, Guo W, Zuo L, Liu W, Song H, Zhang X. Actor and Partner Effects of Touch: Touch-Induced Stress Alleviation Is Influenced by Perceived Relationship Quality of the Couple. Front Psychol. 2021 Apr 13;12:661438. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661438. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8076733/

5. Van Lankveld J, Jacobs N, Thewissen V, Dewitte M, Verboon P. The associations of intimacy and sexuality in daily life: Temporal dynamics and gender effects within romantic relationships. J Soc Pers Relat. 2018 May;35(4):557-576. doi: 10.1177/0265407517743076. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987853/




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Published: May 23, 2024

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