The dictionary defines “intimacy” as closeness or sexual intimacy, but did you know that there are more ways to define what intimacy is?
An interesting way to define intimacy would be, the blending of hearts. Intimacy with our partner allows us to “see into” who our 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 determine how both of you relate to each other.
What is the meaning of intimacy? What is true intimacy? And is intimacy without sex even possible?
Some in psychology today see relationship intimacy as more than just being close or being sexually intimate. The true definition of intimacy is not only about two bodies merging for physical intimacy or sex, it is deeper than that.
‘What is intimacy in a relationship’ or ‘What is intimacy in marriage’ could have a different meaning for different people.
The concept of intimacy involves a mutually consensual relationship where two individuals reciprocate intimate moments and feelings of trust, emotional, and physical closeness towards 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, a relationship 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 their intellectual prowess.
The laws of intellectual intimacy rely on the fact that people with similar intellectual capabilities are 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, have 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 have been together for a long time and still lack emotional 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 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 hear “intimacy” is spirituality. 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 develop a spiritual bond, you both understand each other’s spiritual quest and beliefs.
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, you are connected to your partner, spiritually.
A spiritual intimate relationship meaning is when a couple mutually commits to respect, preserve, and enhance God’s purpose of their lives.
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 higher than you and support each other to evolve into your beliefs.
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? Is there a difference between sex and intimacy?
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 then you have reached a good level of intimacy.
It is more than just sex—you are sharing that most unique part of yourself, and vice versa.
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.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.