Small Things Lead to Big Change – 10 Simple Tools for Building Intimacy


“Never get tired of doing little things for your partner. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart.” – The Gottman Institute

Gottman’s motto is “small things often.” When you think about how to build intimacy in a relationship, often you imagine the “big” things. You reminisce the big moments, the big gifts, the big experiences. Through his research, Dr. Gottman found that the small things are what matter and make a difference in a relationship.  Below are ten simple ways to build intimacy with your partner. I bet once you read these, you could add more to the list!

10 Simple Tools for Building Intimacy

  1. A kiss hello and a kiss goodbye – How you part and greet one another can be a simple way to connect daily with one another. It shows your partner that they are a priority before you leave the home and when you return.  This is one of the easiest ways to create a connection with your partner and prioritizes your relationship.
  1. A daily check in – Asking your partner “how was your day?” can go a long way. This shows that you care about your partner’s wellbeing and are interested in them.
  1. Thank your partner – Saying “thank you” can mean more to a person than you realize. It shows that you are paying attention and notice what they do. Furthermore, it fosters fondness and admiration which keeps couples in the positive perspective.
  1. Offer support – Make their coffee in the morning. Ask if they want a snack when you are fetching one for yourself. Clean the snow off their car before they leave the house so they don’t have to. When you offer your partner support, you are saying “I care about you and I take into account you and your needs.” This builds a sense of security for your partner which further builds trust.
  1. Encourage them to do something fun with a friend – Show your partner that you recognize they may need some autonomy and that you support this. Doing this will build trust and intimacy. Furthermore, it will communicate that you care about your partners happiness outside of your happiness as a couple.
  1. Listen when they talk – When your partner is sharing with you, whether a report of their day, a funny story, or something serious…. LISTEN. We tend to get busy and not give one another the attention that is necessary. Taking the five minutes to put down what you are doing to give your attention to your partner tells them that they matter.
  1. Ask questions to show interest – Listening is wonderful, but reflective listening is better. Show your partner that you not only are hearing what they are saying, but ask questions to let them know that you have interest in what they are telling you. Doing this will create connection and help your partner to feel validated.
  1. Learn their love language – We all have a combination of ways that we show and accept love. Some we share the same and some may be different. Learn what your partner’s is and try to speak it. This is especially important if you and your partner have different languages of love. Check out this article and short video to learn more about love languages.
  1. Make rituals together – Rituals of connection are ways that a couple turns toward one another on a consistent basis. It is an important tool that successful couples engage in. Rituals established between partners are important for connecting with one another in ways that you both can count on. Setting specific time aside for one another is a great way to prioritize your relationship and your partner. Taken an evening walk together, workout, go golfing, cook together, play chess, have date nights, and travel. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
  1. Learn something together – Couples who learn or try new things together, often find ways of building stronger bonds. The opportunity to problem solve with your partner with ease is a great way to practice communication strategies. Furthermore, it helps to create space for allowing influence from your partner.

“It’s the small things often that make a difference.” – Dr. John Gottman

Learn to focus on the simple day to day aspects in your relationship. You will experience an increase in connection, intimacy, and satisfaction within your relationship. Check out the Gottman Institutes new podcast “Small Things Often
If you are in need of further help and interested in learning about Couples Counseling, visit our website. Watch this video where our clinicians discuss the KPA Couples Program. Fill out our form on our information page receive our free Bids for Connection Guide to get you started on these simple skills today!