For centuries artists, writers, musicians, and poets have all tried to create the ultimate picture of intimacy to no avail. It’s mystery lies within the human heart and spirit, the connection between the two individuals, the experiences they share, and how they interpret them to each other. Falling in love is easy, achieving true intimacy and staying in love is the difficult part.
The term intimacy comes from the Latin word initmus, which means the most private, most personal of all relationships. It refers to a special closeness between two people who know each other well, understand each others’ needs and have made a commitment to continuously care for each other on the deepest and most personal levels.
How Webster defines intimate:
intimate (in’.ta.mat) a. innermost; familiar; closely-related; close; n. an intimate friend; intimacy n. the state of being intimate; sexual relations.
At the center of everyone’s need to be loved is the need to be loved for who and what we really are. Your unique qualities, especially the ones that vary from your partner, and what they bring to your relationship, are most important of all.
First love thyself. If you don’t love the person that you are, it is not possible to truly love another. Never put yourself or your lover first. Selfishness or self-sacrifice will get you nowhere.
Many people tend to be constantly looking for the perfect person rather than learning to live and love those right here in the real world. Fantasies are nice, but real love is at the heart of the matter. That perfect person will probably only exist in the mind of the person who contrives them in a fantasy. Rejecting the differences between fantasy and reality breaks the possibility of intimate connection with another, because you subconsciously love the fantasy and break away from the reality.
I have previously said “Never ever go away mad”. This doesn’t mean continue fighting. What it means is stop fighting, break the argument. And men, if you have to take a time out, do it by first releasing yourself from the fight, and then excusing yourself respectfully. Reassuring a woman that you’ll be back is probably a good choice at this point.
When you have a fight, this is a red flag. Caring and healing need to be shown. Talking it out and getting through the rough times is one of the most important parts of intimate contact. This allows you both an opportunity to get to know each other in a new light, and move forward. Letting the wounds fester will only cause both of you, and the relationship more pain. Teach each other how you expect to be treated, what you will tolerate, and won’t. As you open up to the differences between you, and welcome them, you will make room for the possibility of real love.
The fear that comes from the depth of emotion is usually a natural part of the journey, but can be complicated by other parts of a person’s psyche. This can be related to past relationships and experiences, other fears, and in some cases deeply rooted childhood experiences. This is usually much stronger for men than women.
Men need women, but not the way women think, and vice versa. We tend to give the kind of love that “we” would want for ourselves to our partner instead of the kind of love that “they” want, and need.
Generally a man’s primary needs are trust, acceptance, and appreciation. A man doesn’t like it when he feels that he’s not trusted and accepted to take care of things by a woman. It makes him feel unloved. Women tend to be the teachers, the knowers, into the spiritual side of life. They often try to mold their partners into being something they are not. He needs to feel that he’s her hero, not be told how he needs to change. Men don’t like it when you give them unsolicited advice. Respect his time away from you. Men don’t process thought as women do. They often need to take things one at a time, and spend time “thinking” instead of “talking”.
Generally a woman’s primary needs are for understanding, caring and respect from her man. Women need empathy. They need to talk and express all of their emotions in a rush. A man will usually try to provide solutions to her problems when she is upset, but she isn’t looking for a solution, just a sympathetic ear. Sometimes this feels like a woman is blaming him, but she’s not. Try to listen to her and understand what she is going through, she probably isn’t blaming you, she is just needing reassurance that she is loved. Reassurance is very important for most women.
Remember to touch. Touch keeps us connected with our partners and keeps intimacy and love alive. Women identify intimacy with touch and their sexuality much more than men do.
To have a better relationship, resolve to increase the intimacy in your relationship. Doing so will bring more joy and happiness into your lives, and help to keep your relationship close.
by Drs. Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski Ph.D.
The New Intimacy is an easy-to-read book full of insightful tools and relevant stories that will assist partners in creating and maintaining REALISTIC and LOVING interactions. It helps couples to understand, learn from and even enjoy the differences that occur in all relationships. Although geared toward couples, anyone can benefit from the information presented in this book.
by John Gray, Ph.D.
Relationship counselor John Gray focuses on the differences between men and women–men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, after all–and offers a simple solution: couples must acknowledge and accept these differences before they can develop happier relationships. In this unabridged version, Gray gives a spirited delivery of his message, especially when role-playing typical male/female interactions. The information is sound and gives both men and women helpful hints on improving themselves and their union.