It’s Spring — and the wedding season is upon us! Happily engaged couples have found their true love, and are eager to enjoy a lifetime of intimacy. Yet, once the honeymoon stage is over, many couples find that intimacy eludes them.
While intimacy is essential to a happy marriage, many of us find it difficult to define and conceptualize. Intimacy means different things to different people, and it’s not a term we use very often.
What is intimacy?
Intimacy is defined as: a close, familiar, affectionate and loving personal relationship; detailed knowledge or deep understanding of something; the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar with someone.
Marital intimacy encompasses being known on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and sexual. Intimacy both creates and requires mutual trust and acceptance. It is the avenue to achieving a sense of “oneness” in your marriage.
Doesn’t this sound like what every couple hopes for at the beginning of their journey together? Truly, one of the joys of marriage is the opportunity to develop and nurture healthy intimacy.
Why, then, do so many of us struggle to find the quality of intimacy we long for?
What is healthy intimacy?
I have observed four primary detriments to establishing healthy intimacy in relationships. Once identified, couples can confront and overcome them.
Here are some factors that can prevent you from enjoying complete intimacy with your spouse.
“Intimacy” is often mistakenly used synonymously with the word “sex,” and doing so results in spouses ignoring the non-sexual, yet equally important, aspects of intimacy.
Healthy intimacy is established through a balance of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental closeness.
Ignorance and misinformation about intimacy are further exacerbated by the unhealthy sexualized portrayals of intimacy in the media.
At the opposite end of the lust-fueled media are feelings of taboo that surround sex. Most of us did not have parents who knew how to talk to us about sex, much less intimacy. Or, we simply may have lacked proper role modeling of healthy marital intimacy from our parents.
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