Intimacy, it’s a word that is bantered about but is it truly understood? From my own readings, I would define intimacy as a close and warm relationship with an absence of fences or invisible walls and a visible sense of trust and deep respect. It is made up of a number of parts, that can be included in the following.
- Affirming and validating your partner by what you say in addition to what you do. Don’t automatically assume your partner knows you love him or her without having to say it. Saying it because you mean it is crucial.
- Articulating what you genuinely appreciate about what your partner says and does on a regular basis is important. It is easier to focus on what your partner doesn’t do and take for granted what he or she does do that you like.
- Spontaneous signs of affection are also important. This goes beyond the rote peck “hello”, “goodbye”. It’s the unsolicited hug, pat on the butt, rub on the back, tender touch.
- Exhibiting an openness and trust in each other. Knowing that you can express anything about your feelings and will not be judged as foolish, wrong or too sensitive.
- Feeling understood, empathized with and knowing that you are protected from harm by your partner. Sensing in your very being that your personhood will not be knowingly harmed, embarrassed or put down by your partner publicly or privately.
- Exhibiting a sincere sensitivity and caring toward each other, warts and all.
- Know that your partner is different not necessarily wrong when he or she sees the world differently. Giving up unrealistic expectations doesn’t mean settling for less. It means getting your priorities straight and focusing on what is truly important.
- Being able to say you’re sorry to your partner when you fall short of any of these ideals and be able to forgive when your partner hurts or disappoints you and is genuinely sorry and makes efforts to amend.
- Be open to the fact that you and your partner may have other ideas as to what intimacy means to him or her.