Years ago, i remember a question in social psychology class on intimacy. We were supposed to describe this phenomenon and what it meant to us in just 3 words. 99.99% of the class came up with just 3 words. Sex, physical touch and kisses. Maybe we were a bunch of walking talking bottled-up hormones? No we were just like everyone else programmed by the powerful media.
Today i want us to talk about this topic of intimacy because social media has gone rife with all sorts of misguided opinions on intimacy. Actors, wannabes and even well-meaning therapists have given us perspectives on intimacy that is skewed. A mistake that is affecting the younger generations looking up to them. Try googling the word intimacy and switching to the image search option. The deluge of pictures showing heteroseual, gay and gender fluids in all shades of compromise will lend credence to my point of view.
What is intimacy? The Oxford dictionary defines it as the “inmost thoughts or feelings; proceeding from, concerning, or affecting one’s inmost self: closely personal.”
Intimacy has always been associated with marriage and dating but there are other forms of intimacy that are not getting as much attention as they ought to. An oversight that is eating up marriages and relationships on a regular. The word intimacy is a derivative of a Latin word intimus” which means innermost or inner core. Not too long ago, the word “intimate” was used to describe the inner qualities of a person before the media took over that job of re-defining things.
Intimacy Types in Relationships
Let me quench your thirst by beginning with the popular types.
That touch, body contact, PDA all point towards physical intimacy. We also reference this intimacy type whenever we talk about sex. However good people, you mustn’t always have sex once physical intimacy is initiated. You could heighten expectation by simply kissing, cuddling or even holding hands.
These gestures may not seem satisfying to the one who is so used to sex as the highest most potent form of intimacy but believe me when i tell you this. If you do not invest in these sex may loose it’s flavour and intensity over time”. Temple Obike
When you share personal feelings with your spouse it points towards emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy elicits understanding, care, concern, constant reaffirmation and empathy from your partner. This intimacy type is singlehandedly one of the most important aspects of any relationship destined to survive. You can nurture this aspect of your relationship by becoming a person who listens to your partner daily and is vulnerable enough with them to share as well. Bring our time and make them feel special during the day just so they know you think of them. You can also invest in this intimacy time by sharing your thoughts and being available for them when they do the same,
This is not about bickering on textbook topics. It really doesn’t have to be that serious. This is simply that mind-building yet stimulating conversation that leaves you feeling smarter and thinking “Wow, it was one helluva great choice having (insert partners name) as my other half. This becomes even more interesting if you both have different career paths and take delight in teaching each other. A good place to really build this level of intimacy is with topical issues or via google search.
Investing in this intimacy type keeps your relationship interesting and sustains the excitement.
Nothing keeps the excitement in a marriage or relationship going as the experiences both couples have together in the journey of life. Remember that 9 out of 10 times relationships are ignited due to an experience between two people. This makes me wonder why couples are now eager to forget the exact same things that began their relationships. Look for intimate experiences that can keep things nostalgic and exciting for both of you. I am not referring to making out on the balcony of your house facing 10 other homes thats risky sexual behavior , plain and simple.
Go to a park and sit down together, plan a trip to somewhere new with the kids or without them or visit your parents and go somewhere that both of you used to meet if you’ve been dating that long or simply recreate a scene from your past. You get my drift.
I am quite the number one God-fan (household included) but whenever i mention spirituality, i am in no way referring to religion.
Religion is what happens on Sunday and Wednesday evening but Spirituality is what happens every other hour day or time when you aren’t asleep. – Temple Obike
Share the deepest values that drive you as an individual with your partner and listen to them as they share the same with you. Talk about how these will be applied in raising your children , building your respective careers etc. If you’re itching to ask me what happens if your partner is not a spiritual person then i might need to mention that you may have failed one of the essentials to consider pre-marriage (visit this article) and if they stopped being spiritual after marriage maybe they were pretending to get you or are genuinely going through something. A pastor, imam or a good session could assist you with all of this.
Proven Ways to Build Intimacy in Your Relationship
You can never invest too much in your intimacy level. For any marriage or relationship that intends to go the long haul, it is important that you invest into this aspect of your relationship. I am going to provide practical ways through which couples could build their intimacy with real life situations.
A) An article like this is a great way to improve what you and your partner have. Share insightful articles and build on your intellectual intimacy.
B) Go to somewhere that neither both of you have ever visited before and soak in the experience at the same time, This will help build your experiential intimacy levels.
C) Sex may not be o your agenda at the moment but rather than an all-out refusal, cuddling with your partner or just holding hands is equally as intense. This builds your physical intimacy. Let’s be honest, you may not be predisposed to having sex all the time and i am definitely not of the opinion that you must give your body anytime a partner requests for it because a partner who requests for sex without considering your state of mind, mood etc may just be guilty of marital rape (yep it’s a thing).
Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.
His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials. Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.
Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.