By Trever Shirin, Executive Assistant to the CEO
How often do we think about non-sexual intimacy? Do we even know what that looks like?
My now-wife-then-fiancée and I were asked these questions during our engagement, and it changed the way we looked at our relationship. We thought we knew what sexual intimacy was supposed to look like, yet we were at a loss for what non-sexual/non-physical intimacy was supposed to look like. We set out during our engagement to develop habits that would build intimacy with each other non-sexually, and what we found on that journey has marked our relationship in a wonderful way!
Often there is a pressure to communicate in a crystal-clear manner, or to use only 140 characters [or I guess 280 now] to express a thought or feeling. These are great aspects of language, but there is something beautiful about a lingering conversation. What my wife and I began doing to build intimacy is something I called “Pillowtalk.” Pillowtalk is a lingering conversation between the two of us in bed, typically before we fall asleep, when we discuss the day and random thoughts. It is a beautiful and intimate time for the two of us that is not difficult to replicate in your own relationships!
Here are the three important things to remember when building non-sexual intimacy with someone through pillowtalk:
- Put away the phone and turn off the TV, and maybe the lights too
So often we are caught up by distracting screens and are not truly present with our surroundings, which is why I would recommend that couples (especially young couples) keep the TV out of the bedroom. Turning off screens allows us to be present with our significant other in a more significant way. Often times my wife and I will turn the lights off, hold hands in bed lying side by side, and just talk until we drift off to sleep.
- It doesn’t have to be anything important
Just talk about normal everyday things: how it felt when your boss said that one thing to you, and what you enjoyed most about your day. Then take the time to listen to what your partner has to say. It doesn’t have to be deep an intimate conversation every night, though there will be times when those things come up. The mere fact that you are willing to share and listen will speak volumes to the other person and build a lasting connection.
- Embrace the silence
Silence is powerful. It can mean a lot to sit with someone in silence and simply be present with that person. You may find that the silence is uncomfortable and maybe even awkward, but with time it will be beautiful and peaceful as you learn to be still with another person.
My wife and I continue to take time for pillowtalk and it continues to be precious to us. We still take the time to linger together in conversation, undistracted by phones, books, or any other visual distraction. We are simply present with each other. Each time we have these lingering conversations I feel so much closer to my wife.
I’d challenge anyone reading this to find someone you care about this week and spend some time in lingering conversation with them. You don’t need to talk about anything in particular, just talk and enjoy each other’s company.