To me, intimacy is the joy that comes from being close and personal. It’s something I crave in my marriage. Although intimacy is more than just “sex”, the very best sex occurs in relationships where there’s deep intimacy!
Intimacy symbolizes uniting our hearts and two people coming together as one. It’s probably no wonder that the biblical word for this type of intimacy is often rendered “to know” in English, connoting a sense of relational closeness.
It’s sweet to think that this deep intimacy means you really know someone-strengths, weaknesses, and you still love them (warts and all!).
I was curious about how one can improve the intimacy in their relationship. I stumbled across this formula, and it made sense to me:
Vulnerability + Trust = Intimacy
Let’s talk about the first part. Vulnerability means showing up as your true self. It’s a willingness to be yourself and let others see you for who you truly are. It’s being emotionally naked and authentic.
Dr. Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, defines vulnerability this way:
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper or meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” It is also indicated that “Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings”Daring Greatly, p. 33
It takes courageous to be yourself, show up, and be seen, doesn’t it?
Being vulnerable is just the first part of the equation though. Trust is the next ingredient. Trust grows when you respect, withhold judgment, and listen with your whole heart when your spouse opens up to discuss his or her deepest and innermost parts of themselves. In other words, when your spouse is being vulnerable, you don’t take advantage of them but help them feel safe and secure about their vulnerable self. Do this enough times and trust will grow.
Tuning In to Each Other
Intimacy also requires couples to tune in to each other. Laura M. Brotherson, a licensed marriage therapist and sex therapist, explains it this way: “
It’s a skill to be able to sense each other’s inner state and respond accordingly….Couples spend a lot of time being mis-attuned to each other. Being tuned in to each other is a reward that comes only after a lot of time and effort has been expended. Couple attunement is ‘in-to-me-see’ intimacy on a whole new level.”
Couple attunement is “in-to-me-see” intimacySee https://ldsmag.com/getting-in-sync-emotionally-and-sexually-in-marriage/
Connection and attunement (tuning in to each other) comes from the way we talk, listen, pay attention, touch, and treat each other. Eye contact, holding hands, hugging, and especially sex that’s bonding release the oxytocin neurotransmitters in our brains that build strong biological and emotional bonds in marriage. Showing empathy and sincerity in the relationship help us tune to each other.
Building Intimacy with Conversation Starters
Do you want to be vulnerable, trusting, and tuned in to each other but struggle figuring out the first step? Try some conversation starters, for starters!
There are hundreds of free conversation starters included in the Get Your Marriage On! app.
Michael and Maria wrote us the following sweet message:
Maria and I are always looking for ways to grow and deepen intimacy in our marriage. We are both verbally inclined so your app opens the doorway for us and gives us a guided pathway to deeper union starting with words and progressing to physical intimacy all done with deep love and respect. We had tried making up similar “games” but this app is all encompassing. We love to use it on date nights and when we travel alone as a couple.
What ways do you and your spouse build intimacy? Feel free to share in the comments below.