What true intimacy is eludes most of us. It is most often confused with sex but its safe to say there is nothing intimate about a one-night stand or friends with benefits. Being intimate with someone means you know them on a deeper level and that doesn’t happen overnight or in a few or weeks or in the first few months for that matter. Intimacy is like a fine wine, it takes time for the richness of flavor to set in. It takes patience and careful handling. So many of us crave a deeper connection or bond in our relationships but really getting close to another person can be scary and both people have to be willing to work through their fear in order to achieve true intimacy. Here are a few tools to help along that journey.

What Intimacy Involves:

  1. Knowing – True intimacy requires getting to know each other on the deepest of levels. You’ve found out what makes that person special to you and you appreciate them for it.
  2. Acceptance – You accept your partner for who they are, not who you hope to change them into. Love them for what makes them special and for their flaws.
  3. Appreciation of differences – Learning to appreciate each other’s differences allows you to see what’s in your partner’s heart as well as their mind.
  4. Safety – If you don’t feel your heart, mind and spirit are safe in the hands of your partner, you will never fully reveal yourself to them therefore you’ll never achieve the depth of intimacy you’re looking for. There has to be support for the good, the bad and the ugly of who we are.
  5. Compassionate problem-solving – You must both be willing to confront conflict with love and compassion and the desire to face whatever problems may arise. You have to work as a team.
  6. Emotional connection – Without an emotional connection, there is little to no intimacy. That emotional connection is at the root of happiness but its also the strength to work through problems.

How to Nurture Intimacy:

  1. Choose wisely – Not everyone is worthy of your intimacy therefore take your time. If your partner requires that you give up who you are, that you always accommodate them, or change who you are, this is not the person for you. If this person doesn’t honor or cherish who you are, they are not the one for you.
  2. Show yourselves – During the course of your relationship, you have to show yourself to your partner. Let them see your core beliefs, values, hopes and dreams. Explore differences to determine if they interest you or are deal breakers.
  3. Draw a circle – Treat your relationship like Las Vegas – what happens in your relationship, stays in your relationship. Decide what’s private and sacred in your relationship and honor that by not discussing it outside of the circle.
  4. Develop emotional mindfulness – How we express our emotions can enhance or damage intimacy. We must learn how to ways to express our feelings that don’t hurt, anger or intimate our partner.
  5. Embrace conflict – Don’t hide from conflict. If unaddressed it will grow and fester ultimately rearing it’s ugly head which is never good. Maintaining intimacy requires facing issues head on believing your relationship can withstand the conflict.
  6. Be the person you want your partner to be – We all know the phrase, Be the change you want to see. Demonstrate to your partner through your actions, the experience you want from them. Be patient and consistent but more importantly, enjoy the journey.

True intimacy is not achieved overnight and it doesn’t happen just because you have sex. The success of any relationship is based on both people involved being willing to do the work. With time and patience, intimacy can grow.

The What and How of True Intimacy by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed. D. – https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-what-and-how-of-true-intimacy/