Today intimacy is a matter that is not fully understood. There are misconceptions about intimacy and that is why I want to write about this topic. For example, many say that: 1) Intimacy is sexual participation with another person. 2) Intimacy is always expressed physically. 3) Marriage will naturally produce intimacy. 4) Intimacy can only be found in relationships with people of the opposite sex. 5) Intimacy is a feeling of closeness. 6) Once you develop intimacy, you will always have it.
Having these misconceptions about intimacy has led us to experience serious relational problems in all the dimensions. Divorce rates tell us that the lack of intimacy is the reason why they have increased in the last 20 years. Studies on the Attachment theory in children have shown that the lack of parental attachment/intimacy with children affects the way these children, in the future, develop romantic relationships (Bowlby, 1980; Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Other studies argue that the influence of these traumatic attachment experiences in childhood affects the neurobiological system that regulates the human being’s social and emotional behavior (Reite & Boccia, 1994).
What does the word intimacy mean? This word is derived from the Latin intimus, which means “the deepest part of us”. It is a close relationship between two people who feel safe enough to share their deepest feelings.
Intimacy is a gift from God. In fact, we were created in order to be intimate with God. God lives in intimacy with the Deity. Genesis 1:26-28 says that God created us in His image; His relational image. We were created in order to have an I-YOU relationship with God and our neighbor, in which intimacy is the key to the relationship, where there can be reciprocity, giving and receiving love.
We were created so that we could live in intimacy with our neighbors. Gen. 2:18 says that Adam was alone. God knows everything. God wanted to highlight the importance of intimacy and that is why He presents man in solitude, unable to fulfill the function for which he was created. The man needed to have another being similar to him so that he could emulate the intimate relationship he would have with the Creator. Therefore, God brought Eve to him and Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This is a person with whom I can have full intimacy”.
Notice the following: the two institutions God established in the moment of the Creation were made with the aim of expressing the highest type of intimacy. God institutes the Sabbath so that human beings could express itself in the highest form the intimacy with God. God institutes marriage so that humankind could also express itself in the highest form the intimacy with the neighbor (spouse) by becoming one flesh.
If we consider the institution of the Sabbath, in the mind of the Jewish people the Sabbath was instituted so that humans could rest in God and procreate. This reflects the essence of mankind: created to live in intimacy with God and the neighbor.
In the marriage sermon God gave to Adam and Eve, He gives the order: “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and they shall be one flesh”. God calls to leave the intimate relationship that the couple had in their family of origin so that they can join their spouse and begin to experience intimacy in the new family unit. That is why the level of intimacy you will have with your spouse will be closely linked to the level of intimacy you learned to have in your home of origin.
Genesis 2:25 says that “they were naked and were not ashamed.” What does God want to highlight through the biblical author in this chapter? This is the most graphic kind of marital intimacy: two different people, equal in value, with a deep emotional, spiritual and physical relationship; in total transparency, without fear of being known. This is the kind of openness, acceptance, trust and excitement to which I refer when I use the word intimacy.
It is obvious that it is about physical nakedness, but he is implying spiritual, emotional, intellectual and recreational nakedness or intimacy that manifests itself in the domains of intimacy.
You must feel free to express your feelings, without fear of being judged or rejected. A very important part of achieving this connection is self-knowledge, since the better we know how we feel and why, the easier it will be for us to explain it to our spouses and to be in contact with internal situations that disturb our peace.
All ideas (even the craziest ones) are heard by your spouse and vice versa. Has it happened to you that it is easy for the two of you to stay up all night talking about several topics?
That is intellectual intimacy: what we share and listen to, in order to enrich each other. This concept is super important, as it has a lot to do with the admiration we feel towards the other person.
This type of intimacy involves everything from going to the park, to reading a book together or sharing any activity that you enjoy doing together and are passionate about. There are couples who have hobbies in common, which is very beneficial to counteract the routine in which some relationships may fall.
Kisses, caresses, massages… dare to experiment in your sexual intimacy, to get to know each other and share your likes. A passionate weekend getaway. The ideas have no limits.
Now we know the different types of intimacy that exist, and how important they are so that we can have a close and deep relationship with our spouse. By overcoming shame and becoming vulnerable to the other, we will achieve intimacy, which applies both in our relationship with God and in our relationship with others.
Do you want to know how we can deal with shame? How can we repair that intimate relationship that has been broken or that we have not built yet? Do you want to feel in your life the joy of being able to establish an intimate relationship with God and with your neighbor? If your answer is yes, then, I invite you to read our next post, so you can see that there is hope amidst the shame. God bless you.