Intimacy is my personal favorite of all the components of relationships. I am discovering that all the components are necessary for a relationship to grow strong and last, but intimacy is the spark.
It's like the dessert! You have to have your meat and veggies to stay healthy but knowing that there's dessert, just makes everything better.
Intimacy is defined as a close or familiar, loving relationship with another person that comes from experience and time; deeply knowing that person.
My definition of intimacy is simply speaking without words. It's that unspoken language that only comes from opening up to your partner, being vulnerable and allowing him/her to know you. It's when you're bonded with a person so much you've developed cues and looks and touches that mean so much to just your partner and you.
For Jeanny R. it means, "Having an argument before bed time and the touch of your leg with his equals 'I'm sorry', and spooning means 'apology accepted'."
Intimacy is more complex than what you might have originally thought, so here's a breakdown of all that I have found out.
Intellectual Intimacy refers to the meeting of the minds. Sharing your thoughts and ideas; your desires and opinions all with out judgement. You don't always have to agree, but your opinion is your own and respected.
Emotional Intimacy refers to sharing your feelings. This level of intimacy brings about a sense of of security. A feeling that you will always be a part of each other's lives. This is the vulnerability and opening up, risking it all to put your feelings out on the table.
Spiritual Intimacy is the sharing of your belief system. Praying together, worshiping together, believing and submitting obediently in something larger than yourselves.
Physical Intimacy. This level is the one many people think of when they heard the word. However, intimacy is not synonymous with sex. But for those that said sex should be in the top ten of making a relationship last, this, is where it fits in. Physical intimacy is important and vital to a heathy relationship but it's not the "act" that strengthen's the bond. If you work on the other three levels of intimacy before ever getting to the physical aspects, your relationship has a better chance of surviving. Remember, intimacy is about KNOWING. It's not about sleeping together. It's more than sharing our bodies but sharing our whole selves.
When the Bible refers to the sexual act between Adam and Eve, it was written Adam KNEW Eve. It was considered sacred and intimate. But later in the Bible when David commits adultery with Bathsheba, a different word was used. David... lay with her. (2 Samuel 11:1-5) Their intercourse was lustful. He wasn't serious about a future with her. He wanted her, but didn't want to KNOW her.
In my own humble opinion, you will never find intimacy with causal sex. It's what you're looking for, but you won't find it. Some people mistake that rush of oxytocin that comes with having sex as love or intimacy, but it's not the same. Both love and intimacy come with time. The rush of oxytocin is a temporary high. And when you come down off of it, you want to hurry up and find it again. Because it's what we're built for. To seek out love, companionship... intimacy.
Intimacy is that connectedness that we all yearn for. We long for someone to KNOW us. We long to be loved for everything we are. Unconditionally. Completely. We are all looking for the dessert, that makes the entire meal... perfect.
Here are a few helpful tips that might help you increase the intimacy in your relationship. Add one or two here and there until soon it will become an automatic thing, and hopefully your partner will reciprocate.
-Facing your problems together/ Share joys. Work together as a team so neither one of you ever feel abandoned. And on the flip side, share your happy times and good news with your partner so they can join in on your happiness.
-Accept each other unconditionally. Understand that you are not going to always see eye to eye and that you can't always agree but you can still respect your differences.
-Be supportive, but not bossy. No one likes to be told that they're always doing something wrong. So encourage your partner and when they ask for advice, or tips, always offer your expertise. But also be gentle if your advice is not sought after, perhaps all they need is a hand to hold or a quick "You can do it!"
-Look into each other's eyes when speaking quietly or intimately. The eyes are the windows to the soul. Bare your soul to your partner. He/she will know that you are paying attention to only him/her and that you hold a place of importance in his/her life.
-Be present with your partner. Don't multi-task. Pay attention to what he/she is saying. Be in the moment and let him/her know they have your full attention. Don't play on your phone or answer e-mails or watch television when you are scheduled for some one on one time with your mate.
-Be emotionally available. Be empathetic. We all handle crisis in different ways, learn what your partner needs from you and be prepared to give it. Be willing to open up and become vulnerable with him/her.
-Help each other achieve their goals. When you unselfishly stand behind the person you love and can watch them complete their goals it binds you together and also makes precious memories for your future.
-Touch. Hugging, kissing, holding hands helps to keep that regular infusion of oxytocin in your system. Be sensitive to what your partner needs physically, careful not to cross boundaries, and watch your intimacy grow.
-Be appreciative. Make sure your partner knows how much you appreciate the things that they do or say, never take love for granted.
You can see why it's my favorite, right? Knowing you're the most important person to some one can make all the difference in the world. But intimacy can't be rushed. Take your time, enjoy the journey.
Intimacy is something that comes instantly with our children, we work towards it with our friends, but we yearn for it most from our partner...