Intimacy in relationships: are you ready for more?
Are you looking for more intimacy in your relationship? If so, let me help you get started by defining what kind of intimacy you are looking for. Looking for more physical intimacy? Or would you prefer a more emotional intimacy? Perhaps you are looking for more stimulating conversations, this is what I call intellectual intimacy. Or maybe you want more spiritual intimacy. You see, intimacy comes in many different ways. Unfortunately, our society often only thinks of sex when they think of intimacy.
The purpose of this article is to help you deepen the level of intimacy in your relationships by helping you identify the different types of intimacy. Let’s start by outlining six types of intimacy.
- Physical intimacy– is primarily associated with sexual intercourse, but often includes important elements such as touching, holding hands, hugging, and cuddling.
- Verbal intimacy– is associated with self-disclosure. It includes the exchange of thoughts, ideas and suggestions. A key element of verbal intimacy is giving and receiving feedback from each other.
- Emotional intimacy– is linked to sharing feelings. Couples who are effective in emotional intimacy share good and bad emotions. They feel comfortable sharing fears, worries, exciting and happy moments with each other.
- Intellectual intimacy– implies sharing mutual interests. Couples who have developed intellectual intimacy have found areas of interest that they enjoy doing together. They read books, watch movies, attend plays, research good purchases, and enjoy sharing these thoughts with each other.
- Spiritual intimacy– is best described by couples who share common beliefs and values. They enjoy attending religious services together or reading scripture. These couples use religion as a way to strengthen their relationship.
- Psychological intimacy– is normally described in the literature as emotional intimacy. However, the field of psychology attempts to understand the role that human behavior plays in social dynamics while incorporating physiological and neurological processes in its conceptions of mental functioning. (1) The term psychological intimacy is much more than emotional intimacy.
For this reason, I define psychological intimacy using four key elements:
The result of evaluating the psychological intimacy of a couple using these four elements is very powerful. In my experience as a professional therapist, when couples implement these four elements in their relationship, their relationship improves. Their hearts relax because they know that their relationship is established on a firm footing. On the contrary, when couples are struggling in their relationship, their difficulties are often linked to a gap in one of the four elements related to psychological intimacy.
For example, when one of the partners has been unfaithful, this trust gap often raises questions from your partner related to commitment, honesty, and loyalty. Therefore, actions such as infidelity, lies, cheating or lack of commitment to the relationship will prevent psychological intimacy.
When couples discover these six types of intimacy and learn to implement them in their relationship, they find deeper levels of satisfaction. Intimacy is much more than physical intimacy. In my experience, when couples improve on the other five types of intimacy, their physical intimacy improves even more.
So here you have a little homework.
Task: Evaluate your relationship in each of the six types of intimacy. Give your relationship a score between 1 and 10 for each type of intimacy.
- ____ Sexual intimacy
- ____ Verbal intimacy
- ____ Emotional intimacy
- ____ Intellectual intimacy
- ____ Spiritual intimacy
- ____ Psychological intimacy
If your partner or spouse is willing, ask them to record their scores in each area as well. Then discuss your answers with each other and set goals for improvement in each of these areas.
If you want to assess your relationship and receive professional feedback on each of the six types of intimacy, you might consider taking the Relationship Intimacy Test. This assessment is based on the six types of intimacy and comes with an 80-minute CD on how to strengthen your relationship. relationship by implementing these types of intimacy in your relationship.
Victor L. Brown once said, “Most people’s lives are stories of their search for intimacy …”. It seems to me that if our life story is based on our relationships, we should seek to improve them by improving our relationship skills so that we can establish deeper intimate relationships. Good luck on your trip.