When people hear the word “intimacy”, they almost always think “SEX”. Well, they’re right. Sex is an important part of intimacy. It’s just not the only part. True intimacy in a relationship encompasses the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Being intimate in all of these areas allows the sex to be amazing.
True Intimacy. One of the the most important factors in true intimacy is the willingness to be vulnerable. This is also what makes it truly scary and what keeps many couples from reaching that ultimate connection. But developing the other types of intimacy make for a smoother flow into physical intimacy. When those are present, the physical will easily follow.
What Does It Mean? But what does it mean to be mentally, spiritually and emotionally intimate. It means that you share your thoughts, dreams, beliefs and values with each other, not just your day to day routine. While relating the facts of your day with your spouse is helpful, true intimacy is built when you share what those events mean and how you feel about them. It is sharing why you believe something and how you came to see it that way. It’s allowing your partner into a place that isn’t shared with just anyone in your life. It’s allowing your spouse to know the real you.
By now you’re probably thinking, “Can’t she just talk about how we can have more sex? That would be so much easier.” Well, yes and no. I do think couples should frequently engage in the physical pleasure that is often part of marriage. But, I want you to make love as well as have sex. You can only do that if real intimacy is present. You can only be truly present when your mind, heart and soul are engaged, as well as your body.
Believe It Or Not. Having sex can actually get in the way of being intimate. You each can focus on your own pleasure. You can have your own fantasies that may not include each other. You can make it as quick as possible and believe you have done your marital duty. You can be disengaged even if you’re physically involved. So merely increasing the number of times you “do it” won’t necessarily make the two of you feel any closer.
When people talk about their soul-mate, this type of intimacy is what they are describing. It’s the ability for you each to be yourselves in a safe and supportive relationship. It’s about being connected on a deeper level. But it isn’t so much about finding one particular person made just for you. It’s about being that kind of person and encouraging your partner to be a soul-mate in return.
Uninterrupted Time. The first step in this journey is to spend uninterrupted time together on a regular basis. You have to have time to go beyond mere informational exchange so you can go deeper. This requires a minimum of twenty minutes to a half-hour at a time. Maybe this is over dinner or while you’re cleaning up the kitchen. It could be the time you usually watch television, read, or play on the internet. The more often you can do this and the more consistent you can be, the faster your intimacy will build. A thirty minute conversation once a month isn’t going to get you very far, but having one several nights a week every week will.
- Week 1: Little things, like a kiss good bye in the morning and when you come home at night are relatively non-threatening ways to connect. Holding hands, a pat on the shoulder as you pass each other, and a quick hug are all ways you can be physically intimate without being sexual. So for the first week, just make note of how often these behaviors occur and how you react to them. Also make note of how often you talk at length with each other during the week and when.
- Week 2: Share your thoughts about an experience at work, an article you read, or a local or national event that is of interest with your partner each day. Start with something that is more fact based rather than deeply emotional. Give your partner the opportunity to share their thoughts with you. Take note of any concerns, fears, and successes.
- Week 3: Share your feelings about something that happened in your day that got you excited, sad, energized, made you proud or in some other way connected you to your feelings. Talk about why you were impacted in that way. Encourage your partner to share their feelings. Again take note of both difficulties and victories.
- Week 4: Now that you’ve laid the ground work, take the plunge and approach the physical aspect of your relationship. Share what you enjoy about your love making. Recall a time when it was really good and what that was like for you. Plan an interlude where you can explore each other and let each other know what feels good. Make it fun and light.
Remember that you always have the right to stop if you get uncomfortable. That, too, is an important part of intimacy. Pay attention to your feelings, especially any sign of fear or resentment. Try to identify where that is coming from, whether it’s in the present with your partner or from a past experience.
How Are You Doing? Let me know how it’s going. Share your successes and any challenges you might be having. Be sure to listen to the free podcast below. If you would like to hear previous Relationship Resolution Podcasts click here.