What exactly is intimacy?
Intimacy can be sex, but intimacy is more than sex. It is the feeling of connection and closeness. According to The Cambridge Dictionary, intimacy usually refers to the state of having a close, personal, or romantic relationship with someone. We expect to have intimacy in marriage.
Generally, at least in my culture, we marry because we fall in love with someone, and we want to not only maintain that closeness but also build a life together. We want to share our hearts, our stories, and important moments of our days. We want to know that our partner has our back and that he or she wants to be close to us.
When we are intimate, we may hold hands or kiss. When we are sexually intimate, we have a sexual relationship. When we are emotionally close, we share our feelings and tend our partner’s feelings.
Frustrations and conflict impact intimacy
Yet, often in marriage, intimacy suffers. What started as a feeling of love, cools off. Frustrations and conflicts enter the picture, and if we don’t know how to deal with these disruptions, we may tend to pull away from each other, diminishing our intimacy. As a result, we sometimes end up in a sexless marriage. (You can also read The Sexless Marriage: Steps to Restore Sexual Intimacy.)
The stresses of our lives can also impact our intimacy. We live in a hectic and chaotic world. We may be too busy or dealing with a stressor such as illness, a demanding job, or a difficult child. If you are overwhelmed or on the go and don’t take the time to nourish your relationship, your intimacy will suffer. You may develop intimacy issues.
How do we build intimacy?
Building intimacy requires knowing that we must make time for whatever we wish to create, accomplish, or achieve. When people want to evolve, they often take on a practice, such as yoga or meditation. Or they choose to study what they wish to learn about or become more masterful in.
Here are a few steps to help you understand how to build more intimacy in your relationships and fix intimacy issues.
Develop more emotional awareness
We have to be aware of our emotions. Emotions are visceral. We cry, tremble, laugh, and much more. We have to be able to feel to experience intimacy. Intimacy occurs through our feelings. We feel love, closeness, sadness, etc.
If we have a block in our emotions, our intimacy will be impacted. If we are disconnected from our feelings or tend to over-experience some emotions (like anger) and under experience others (like vulnerability), we will have more difficulty with intimacy. WeConcile helps its users develop greater access to all of their feelings.
Learn to see what is below the surface level of the conflict
We have to understand not only that conflict is natural, but that we can change how we relate, so our disagreements are not destructive but allow us to understand each other more deeply. How can we mend the conflict? Can we get back to the feeling of closeness?
Often, we need help understanding what is causing the conflict. If we stay focused on the symptom (I want more sex, I don’t want to see your relatives, etc.), rather than the underlying issues (I don’t think you care about what I desire, etc.), we will not be to create intimacy in our relationship consistently.
To see below the conflict means you will learn to identify your attachment needs and attachment wounds. Attachment refers to the mammalian need to connect with significant others, to feel safe, protected and important to them. Without honoring our attachment needs, we will not be able to have an intimate relationship. Most people don’t understand what attachment means.
When we are upset with someone, identifying the deep attachment need is helpful. For example, when Julie felt that her husband Juan spoke harshly to her, Julie identified that her attachment need of feeling that she was valuable to Juan had been violated. Once she was able to identify her attachment need, she was in a better position to communicate with him and to soothe herself.
WeConcile will teach you to see the attachment needs and wounds that are fueling your conflict. You will improve your relationship with your partner, wife or husband.
Learn to take responsibility for your actions
Mitigating conflict requires that we look at our actions. So, for example, if when I am angry, I slam the door, I may have to learn how to talk about my feelings, instead of acting out. Just because I am angry doesn’t make yelling at you or slamming the door okay. WeConcile will guide you in dissecting your conflicts, so you understand why you are acting as you are, and how to change that.
Make an effort to connect
If we don’t take the time and make the effort, then we will be like two ships passing in the night. Time with your significant other is like fertilizing your garden. How will it grow if you don’t spend time nurturing it?
Intimacy can impose special challenges when trying to make a relationship work long distance. You can read about making your relationship work long distance here. Using WeConcile will require that you spend time together learning about yourself, your relationship, and each other.
Intimacy in marriage or with a loved one is one of the joys of living. Intimacy allows our hearts to feel nourished. Connection with others makes our lives richer. You can choose to make your relationship the best it can be.