Respected Reader, what comes to your mind when you see the word “intimacy”? I’ll bet that most of you think of “sex” as your first thought. Am I right? Certainly, sex is a component of intimacy, but it is a relatively small part. True intimacy includes a number of factors. I invite you to look at them and see where you are on this journey.
Reaching a relationship of intimacy is a slow one. It takes time to build. Trust does not happen quickly. A couple meets and cautiously begins the process of knowing, sharing, and understanding while building trust. Trust is essential because when you become intimate with someone you are very vulnerable. You can be hurt!
There are two significant intimacy challenges in life. One is when you were a child. You were vulnerable to what was going on in Mom and Dad’s marriage and the relationship you had with each parent. If that early childhood experience was loving and consistent, you will be more open and capable of intimacy. If your early childhood experience was negative, you then developed defense mechanisms, walls, that make it very difficult for you to be open to intimacy with a spouse. You have resulting attachment issues.
Marriage is the other intimacy challenge. If you have a good one you will be able to lower your defenses and be more open to vulnerable intimacy. If a couple is able to establish a deep trust with each other, then other sharing takes place, i.e. communication, affection, adventure. You become a couple and together create a game plan as to how you will live in continued harmony.
Communication is a critical factor for developing intimacy. Reciprocal self disclosure, being heard, building a trusting non judgmental relationship are necessary steps in this process.
Sex can be additive to intimacy. Are you as a couple “making love”, or just having sex? When you make love you are truly “with” the other person as opposed to using each other for self gratification. (Not that it is all bad as long as both are consenting sexual partners). Emotional closeness and feelings of connection are present in true intimacy.
Respected Reader, where do you find yourself on this journey toward true intimacy? Have you been “off road,” just getting started, or gradually building a road of connection, while creating intimacy? “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”. Know what you want and know how to get there!
True intimacy is a special place, definitely work the effort!