Fostering Healthy Relationships through Intimacy


Intimacy is defined by proximity. While physical contact can easily come into play, it is not a defining characteristic of being intimate.

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by M. J. Joachim

Intimacy, the act of being physically close and spiritually, mentally and emotionally in tune with someone…

Relationships require it to develop. Marriages need it to grow, prosper and remain vibrant and alive.

Intimacy is defined by proximity. While physical contact can easily come into play, it is not a defining characteristic of being intimate.

Studies have shown that intimacy can flourish over long distances, where physical contact is simply not an option. The mere knowledge that someone thinks and acknowledges you are special is enough to be considered intimate contact.

Those silent moments, when people connect without saying a word – these are intimacy at work. Finishing each other’s sentences…if you can do this, your communication skills are well-versed and you’ve undoubtedly mastered at least some aspect of intimate behavior.

Intimacy is not to be confused with sexual relations. Rather, it is communicative, thoughtful, sometimes romantic (depending on the nature of the relationship), considerate and empathic responses to another human being.

Children are healthier and happier when they experience appropriate intimacy in their homes. This means their parents foster happy marriages and maintain necessary family core values, creating a familial bond strong enough to withstand conflict and problems as they occur.

Community is a vitally important aspect of being human. Positive relationships develop through healthy communities, supportive of the interconnectedness people often need to live up to their fullest potential.

When intimacy is lacking in community, dysfunction quickly takes over. Resentments, alienation, power-struggles and dominance rule the day, all of which contribute to the degradation of society. Look at any marriage that has ended in divorce. Intimacy, or the willingness to be intimate, was lacking from at least one spouse.

As with all things, developing intimate relationships takes work. There has to be a willingness from all parties involved, and a desire to foster the union as it grows. Intimacy, like love, is not stagnant, but ever changing. It ages as people age, changes as people change and grows warmer or colder with each passing day.

Maintaining balance is not always easy, when it comes to being intimate with other human beings. And yet, it is a skill we must necessarily master, if we are to attain some semblance of peace in our hearts.




Resources

Research on Conflict Reconciliation and Intimacy in Couple Relationships

Communicating Intimacy One Bit at a Time

Increasing Intimacy in Your Marriage

Types of Intimacy

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, Arthur Devis (1711 – 1787), The James Family