What is the meaning of intimacy?
The dictionary defines “intimacy” as closeness or sexual intimacy, but did you know that there are more ways to define what is intimacy than that?
An interesting way to define intimacy would be the blending of hearts. Intimacy with our partner allows us to “see into” who are partners really are and makes our companion “see into” us as well.
The thing you need to ask yourself is this: what does intimacy mean to me? This can be a definition of intimacy in relation to marriage or any relationship. To define intimacy is really to define how both of you relate to each other.
Some in psychology today see intimacy as more than just being close or being sexually intimate. The true definition of intimacy is not just about two bodies merging together for sex.
Intimacy could have a different meaning for different people. What is the meaning of intimacy?
The concept of intimacy involves a mutually consensual relationship where two individuals reciprocate feelings of trust, emotional and physical closeness toward each other.
Here are the 4 main definitions of intimacy and what they mean for you:
1. Intellectual intimacy
Are you both on the same wavelength? Do you “get” each other? Can you talk ‘til all hours of the night about anything and everything—even stuff like kids and finances? That is what is meant by the definition of intellectual intimacy.
It’s not that one person is smarter than the other; more so that you have a similar approach to life and enjoy conversing with each other. You may have different ideas but you work to come together.
Apart from physical and emotional intimacy for a relationship to thrive it also needs a certain degree of intellectual homogeneity between the partners.
An intellectually intimate relationship is where couples are able to indulge and contribute to each other’s lives through there intellectual prowess.
The laws of intellectual intimacy rely on the fact that people with similar intellectual capabilities would be more compatible with each other.
So here are a few things to keep in mind to harness intellectual intimacy:
- Find and engage with people with the same attitude and desires as yours.
- Look for people with similar interests and goals.
- Bond with people with a similar set of loyalties and values.
2. Emotional closeness
What’s the meaning of intimacy in terms of emotions? Or what is emotional intimacy?
Emotional intimacy in marriage is when a couple develops a strong sense of closeness and love with each other. Such a relationship is defined by the extent to which the couple is able to feel secure, trust, and communicate with one another.
When you are emotionally close, it means you are vulnerable. You let your guard down and feel safe doing so. When you feel this kind of closeness, you can tell each other anything and feel accepted. You both can “feel” what the other person is feeling.
Many couples may be together for a long time, but lack this type of intimacy. That’s because this one is probably the scariest. A lot of times they do not even recognize a lack of emotional intimacy in their lives until it is too late.
Here are a few things you can do to grow emotional intimacy in your marriage:
- Spend quality time with your partner without and distractions.
- Be kind, respectful, loving, and compassionate towards your partner.
- Explore new things and activities that you can do with your partner.
3. Spiritual bond
Probably the last thing you think about when you see “intimacy” is spiritual. But if you believe that God or some higher power wants us to love each other, then it makes sense.
We aren’t here by accident, and somehow we find each other. We form strong connections. When you form a spiritual bond, you both understand each other’s spiritual quest and beliefs. You allow the relationship to have a spiritual competent.
Why do we not harm others, just because it’s the law? No, because we believe life is precious. That is a spiritual bond. When you achieve that in your intimate relationship.
Spiritual intimacy definition in relationship is when a couple mutualy commits to respect, preserve, and enhance God’s purpose of their lives.
Spiritual intimacy is very deep and intense and it enables you and your partner to become the best versions of yourselves.
It teaches you to value the presence and will of God in your marriage and lives. It enriches your belief of something greater than yourself and demands a sacrifice in terms of shedding your natural sense of selfishness.
Here are a few things you must do to enrich your lives, spiritually:
- Believe in something greater than you and support each other to evolve into your beliefs.
- Practice meditation
- Address your psychological issues and how to overcome them
4. Sexual expression
Being “intimate” is at the root of the word “intimacy,” but what does that mean? Is it just sex, or is it more than that? The definition of intimacy in a relationship is different from couple to couple.
But the ideal has to do with sexual expression. If you are both able to feel free to express yourself in a sexual way and feel comfortable with each other than you have reached a good level of intimacy.
It is more than just sex—you are sharing that most special part of yourself, and vice versa.
Related: What Is Sexual Intimacy? 6 Ways to Connect During Sex
All in all, each type of intimacy is a process. It can change, so work on it with your partner for a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship.
The above shared 4 main definitions of intimacy and what they mean to you, can be a good base to build an everlasting intimacy with your significant other.
To define and explore intimacy at so many levels, is an interesting journey, one that you must take. Bon voyage.
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If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.