What is intimacy?
I define intimacy as the act of vulnerability to become into one another. Intimacy is the act of closeness and affection. It allows couples to demonstrate love, understanding, and communication. Love is demonstrated by the freedom of presence, understanding, and implementation.
Listen from your heart and exemplify through your actions
Understanding is validated in the relationship when couples are able to listen from their heart and exemplify through their actions that they acknowledge the needs of the other. Lastly, implementation is established when the couple is able to apply their love and understanding as it relates to the needs, desires, and wants of the other. Simply action. Living out your love and desire to be intimate, close, and affectionate towards your spouse.
Intimacy is more than a form of sexual relationship
In this article, I will explore intimacy and necessary practicalities of the importance of intimacy within a marriage. I believe this will allow couples to open up and examine their intimacy needs, in addition, to serve as a communication starter for couples to engage one another as it relates to being into one another. First, let us broaden our concept of intimacy as more than a form of sexual relationship.
To gain a better understanding of the same we will review intimacy from several perspectives as follows:
Corinthians 7:3-5, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (Barker 2008)
The scripture describes the need for mutuality of love, affection, compassion, security, and protection. It articulates the need for a connection between a husband and wife. Each is responsible and accountable to one another to ensure intimacy. Not just sexual, but emotional and physical. Lastly, it illustrates the equality between spouses. (Catherine Clark Kroeger 2002)
Song of Solomon 1-5 is a book of poetry in the Bible, which describes a love song sung by King Solomon and his bride to be the Shulamite maiden. It provides validation of intimacy within marriage and the beauty of love, intimacy, and sex for married couples. It illustrates passion, vulnerability, and joy that can be achieved for couples through intimacy. The ability to connect both physically and verbally. Raewynne J. Whiteley explores inviting love, finding complementarity, yearning fulfilled, searching for love, exploring dimensions of love, and universalizing love as she fully engages the text. (Catherine Clark Kroeger 2002) Song of Solomon clearly conveys the pledge and importance of love and emotional connection. Furthermore, exemplifies a romantic demonstration of their passion and desire for one another. The poetic narrative is an enduring love story that provides insight into the fears that may threaten relationships and gives insight into the power of love and commitment that can overcome during times of uncertainty.
In Intimacy and Solitude: Balancing Closeness and Independence, by she writes, “Brining intimacy and solitude together explicitly acknowledges that those needs exist in relationship to each other: that your knowledge of others grow with knowledge of your own self; that you are likely to need relationships while also wanting to express your individuality; that you need closeness and protection as well as autonomy.” (Dowrick 1995) She illustrates the importance of having a clear understanding of self and allowing freedom within the relationship. That one does not have control over the other, but rather there is a mutual respect and sense of self that is needed to allow connection on an intimate level.
Daniel Linder author of Intimacy: The Essence of True Love interprets intimacy as between two people and emphasizes the need for a mutual vision and purpose of the relationship. Denoting that intimacy is created together and when this occurs it produces a healthy and emotionally nourishing connection between spouses. Linder draws attention to the role of mutual respect, trust, acceptance and deep understanding. Each principle permits space for couples to engage when conflicts and difference arise. Thus, allowing intimacy to be established or created within the relationship. Linder writes, “An intimate or emotionally nourishing relationship is characterized by mutual respect, trust, acceptance and deep understanding…[and] commitment means follow up your motivation with action…[creating] aware[ness] of your feelings and reactions. (Linder 2007)” Moreover, he illustrates basic ingredients to build a meaningful and gratifying intimate connection.
From each of the illustrations, one can see a wide scope of intimacy and the necessity for communication and understanding. For my clients, I highlight the following steps to explore when building, restoring or understanding intimacy.
1. Understanding self and partner
Understanding self and partner one must be able to be honest with self and open to learn of one’s partner. Intimacy is not selfish, but it is an action of love towards your mate. When one understands self – they know who they are and what they desire. This allows them to get to know their companion and be fully engaged. When this occurs building intimacy creates space for emotional connection.
2. Mutual respect
Mutual respect simply allows for each person to create space for difference and exemplifies your love in action. You have a shared responsibility when it comes to creating intimacy within the marriage. Moreover, each partner is accountable to the other to value, demonstrate appreciation, regard, and admiration.
Communication generates vulnerability, trust, and openness. Therefore allowing each person to be fully present and engaged in the needs, wants, and desires of the other. Thereby eliminating focus of self, but the focus of the other. This causes a vulnerability in each spouse and allows for freedom and recognition of the needs of the other.
Vulnerability allows for sincerity and honesty between one another. Additionally, vulnerability recognizes that there is a need to be approachable and establish trust. When partners are vulnerable they dis-armor and re-engage on a level that acknowledges the desire for oneness.
Trust is an important aspect of fostering intimacy. It allows for couples to have confidence that their partner is loyal, honest, and committed to the marital relationship. Each aspect outlined portrays intimacy as more than a sexual act, but rather an emotional connection that invites and produces an emotive merging of two becoming one that supports mutual respect, communication, vulnerability, and trust. In conclusion, couples must unmask and make space for the other to participate in the act of intimacy.