In his book, Soul Cravings, Erwin Raphael, McManus writes: “Sex can be the most intimate and beautiful expression of love, but we are only lying to ourselves when we act as if sex is PROOF OF LOVE. Too many men demand sex as proof of love; too many women have given sex in hopes of love. We live in a world of users, where we abuse each other to dull the pain of aloneness. We all long for intimacy, and physical contact can appear as intimacy, at least for a moment.”
“Too many men have demanded sex as proof of love.
Too many women have given sex in hopes of love.” McManus
Most of us have this mistaken perception that having sex is the ultimate on the intimacy scale. I didn’t even realize there was a scale. So, let’s take a few minutes and find out
besides making love, what other things grow our intimacy as a couple.
Intimacy: Feelings in a relationship that promote closeness, bondedness and connectedness.
I can testify that the closeness and connectedness in our marriage has changed over time. Mike and I are a totally different couple than we were 30 years ago. At that time, we had a 3-year-old and were just trying to survive parenthood, dual-income and life in general. We did sort of work on getting to know one another but times were crazy and finding margin to just talk and learn about each other was rare. Running a daily foot race, if my memory serves me. When we did have 5 minutes to think and reflect together, we were usually doing “work talk” and trying to get stuff checked off the list.
But over the years and through lots of trial and error, we’ve discovered there are some wonderful places where we feel connected and can explore our similarities and differences in the way we think, feel and behave. Now instead of looking at Mike and asking, “Why in the world did you do that?”, I can take a couple of breaths and say TO MYSELF, “Wonder what he was thinking about when he made that decision?” Then sometimes I take the opportunity to ask him what motivated him to act a certain way. You see, true intimacy is based on understanding your partner and feeling understood.
5 Areas of Intimacy
- Emotional Intimacy: This is that feeling of being connected, where you can share openly. I recently shared with some friends about a time I felt so close to Mike emotionally. We had just moved my mom to our home town. Dad had passed away 4 years earlier and we were excited to have her 350 miles closer to us. Little did we know that God had another plan. Just 10 days after her move here, she went to be with Jesus. You talk about a shock. It’s been months since this happened and I still find myself thinking that I can just pick up the phone and give her a call.
When she passed away, it was all very sudden. It was literally less than 45 minutes of realizing she was in trouble to hearing the doctor in the Emergency Room say she’d died. I was in shock. Our entire family was in shock. One minute we’re looking forward to all the plans we’ve made with her and the next she’s gone.
I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences. It was so comforting to be able to look at Mike later than evening and say, “What just happened?” I know, he knew. He knew me. And he knew how to comfort me from the shock. That’s emotional intimacy.
- Social Intimacy: Mike and I are blessed to have wonderful friends in common. People we can play cards with on Friday night or enjoy a weekend get-away with. Social intimacy is that glue that sticks you together outside of your home. It’s other couples with common interests and values that you can do life with.
- Sexual Intimacy: This is the experience of receiving and sharing affection, touching, physical closeness, and sexual activity. Usually, not at all like what you witness on TV or in the movies.
- Intellectual Intimacy: Mike and I love sharing ideas about a lot of things but especially when it comes to our businesses. We met in college while both getting our degrees in Business Administration. So, our passions about business have always been a source of lively conversations. Of course, many subjects could qualify as intellectual intimacy. Current events, politics, religion, science, space, really any subject that you both enjoy discussing. If you don’t know what to talk about, watch a 17-minute TED Talk. There are thousands of them, and they will create some food for thought.
- Recreational Intimacy: This was surprising to me and I’m not sure why. We’ve known couples, my parents for instance, who play golf together, are on adult soccer leagues, bowl or play tennis. Having a recreational or leisure activity you both enjoy can keep you close and in shape.
- BONUS INTIMACY: There’s still one more intimacy that Mike and I have identified that is super interesting and surprising. Watch for next week’s email to get this Bonus Intimacy. Hint: God is PRO SEX.
What did you see in the list above that you found interesting or different that you’d realized before? So many couples say that they don’t communicate, or they just want to feel closer. What they are really looking for is intimacy with their spouse.
Use the list above to try something new or fan the flame on intimacy. Email us with this link and let us know which one you’ll try this week!