Intimacy. A word that comes with emotional, physical and mental response. It is normal for people to automatically think of physical intimacy and sex; however it simply means closeness, familiarity, friendship. It is essential to our lives similar to our need for a complete diet. As humans we long for connection with one another in workplace, friendship, family and marriage.
I have put together some essentials that can help lead us to more intimate relationships. Keep in mind there is no secret formula or resource that will ensure each of us with intimacy.
1. Vulnerability: is defined by Brene Brown as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” She says that “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.” This means turning towards the one we long for connection with and begin to talk with one another about the things that are difficult.
We’d rather have a root canal than actually talk with our partner about intimacy, closeness and our sex life. Why is that? We often get stuck in what makes us feel comfortable and safe, which keeps us from growing deeper with one another. This often is a result of many of us not having a model to communicate about the challenging topics.
2. Fondness and Appreciation: These two things are often core needs of an individual as we can be noticed for our strengths and our contributions. This happens through being present and sharing the very things we take for granted. Example: “Thanks for taking out the trash.” “I really appreciate that you cooked dinner tonight.” “Thanks for texting today. It made me feel important.” Kind words go along way.
3. Make time for one another: This world is full of distractions and busyness. Take the time to be present with one another by turning off your phone, computer and stepping way from life’s distractions. Just 15 minutes of focused conversation each day can make a huge difference in the way you can connect with your friends, children, co-worker and partner. It is crucial to carve out time for one another to restore and maintain emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is designed to be the culmination of emotional intimacy. Staying updated about each other’s lives aside from the grocery list, children’s activities, or the phone bill. This allows the relationship to keep the friendship strong and intact. A way I encourage clients to practice this is through open-ended questions. Examples: How are you feeling about your job? What values do you want to instill in our children? What is your ideal family vacation?
4. Schedule it. This is meant for couples looking to grow more physically intimate. While it contradicts the common belief that sex should be spontaneous, putting sex on the calendar is one of the smartest things parents can do. By agreeing on a regular schedule that is less often than the person with more desire wants and more often than the person with less desire wants, conflict and rejection can be taken off the table. Putting intimacy on the calendar actually helps increase people anticipation knowing that “tonight’s the night” and allows are brains to be kicked into gear. While spontaneous sex may have its place in married life, scheduled sex always has its place on our calendar.
My hope is that you can read this and challenge yourself to be more intimate in your relationships. Intimacy is the closeness that we all need that is an essential part of life.