Love & Sex Magazine

Intimacy is an Important Part of a Successful Relationship

By Barbarajpeters @CouplesAuthor

Intimacy is an important part of a successful relationship  

IntimacyIntimacy almost always comes up in my work as a couple’s counselor as it is an important part of successful relationships.  And as often as it comes up it never surprises me with the different perspectives each partner describes. Communication is always verbalized as one of the problems couples seek counseling for, and is especially a challenge in the area of intimacy.

Just recently a wife was particularly concerned about the lack of intimacy in her marriage.

Her husband had a surprised, almost quizzical, look on his face as she made her feelings known.  The husband thought the level of intimacy in their marriage was just fine. Clearly this couple had different perspectives.

To ensure both partners knew exactly what we were talking about, I asked each to describe their view of intimacy. 

Jumping right in, the wife said there wasn’t enough hand holding, touching, and physical closeness between the two of them. She went on to say this made her feel unattractive, and she often imagined she was forcing her husband to perform sexually in the bedroom. Her husband’s lack of compliments caused her to feel he didn’t desire her sexually. This wife felt intimacy was connected with physical or sexual closeness, and she wanted more of it.

When I asked her husband how he defined marital intimacy, I got a different picture. He felt intimacy was being together as a family, interacting on a personal level, and being able to share troubles and joys in a life together. For him, the physical component was a secondary aspect of intimacy. While he didn’t deny he had sexual needs to be met, his idea of intimacy was more connected to emotional needs being fulfilled.  

Both the husband and wife were right on. Intimacy does encompass many different things.

Wikipedia defines an intimate relationship as “a close interpersonal relationship that involves physical or emotional closeness. Sexual activity is a characteristic part of the physical component. On an interactive level there is also emotional and personal support given to each other, which fulfills the need of belonging and caring for each other.”

The key is to blend the physical with the emotional in ways that are fulfilling to both partners. Once again, communication is the only way to find out what your partner wants and needs, and how those needs mesh with your own. Opening up a dialog is the first step to creating an intimate world which includes just the two of you. Talking about intimacy may seem difficult at first but the more you reach out to each other the easier it becomes.

If intimacy is something you want to cultivate more then try this exercise:

Make a list of 5-10 statements of how you would like to be more intimate with each other. Pick a quiet time to have this conversation and limit distractions.  Be sure to define what intimacy means to you at the beginning. It need not be a lengthy discussion, just sort of a “get to know”.

John Gottman has a Love Map exercise where he lists 62 questions to see how much couples know about each other. Make your own list of questions. You might be surprise to find out some new things about each other, no matter how long you have been together.

I leave you with this:

“Intimacy is at the heart of a strong relationship. Intimacy is about knowing someone deeply and being able to be completely free in that person’s presence. It is an emotional state that is often reserved for just one person. Ideally, sex in a loving relationship should be the physical embodiment of intimacy. It should come from a place of love and connection. Within a relationship the two are inextricably linked: intimacy builds sex and sex builds intimacy.” Jonathan Lenbuck 

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog
By Erin James
posted on 21 July at 00:29

I agree with this whole heatedly! I love the book "The 5 Love Languages", it talks about this topic exactly and you can find out how you and your partner look at love and intimacy.