Why Intimacy is Important in Relationships

In viewing our relationship and from interviews with successful couples, one of the areas we have found to be of universal importance is intimacy. It is a basic need of people, so they seek or are in a relationship as a means of having that experience.

For true intimacy to exist, a number of factors have to be present. The feeling of safety is primary, and Maslow ranks that as even more important than belonging. This explains Phil’s behavior in some earlier relationships where he would get close, feel the need to leave, flee, then feel alone and rekindle the relationship, only to repeat the cycle. Ah, if only he’d been able to read this blog post!

Think of safety like a castle that protects you against the world. The thicker the walls, the safer you are, but how are you going to eat? Amazon Prime doesn’t deliver in this realm. The route to sustained intimacy requires coming out from behind those walls and being able to feel safe with another person.

This needs trust, and that takes time to build, as we’ve said elsewhere. This in turn allows for the kind of total acceptance which furthers the sense of freedom to be yourself and express yourself, so necessary to closeness.

And yet the way that people express and recognize intimacy varies considerably. So much so that this dissonance is often the root cause of unhappiness and discontent within relationships. Both partners can crave intimacy, but not recognize the form it is offered in by their partner.

How often have you heard of a woman refusing sex with her partner because she feels a lack of intimacy in other areas of the relationship, or a man feeling that his offerings of intimacy go unnoticed because they are different from what is expected?

Intimacy can be sexual, but it can also be sensual or just warm and physically comfortable. However expressed, we have found that regular physical contact is an important component of our feeling connected. Whether it be holding hands, hugging, making love, having casual contact of arms or legs while sitting near each other, whatever form, having our bodies link up regularly seems to be critical to our sense of togetherness.

How to overcome the blocks to intimacy #relationships #marriage #intimacy Click To TweetThe desire for intimacy is strong, and is what drives people to seek relationships. When relationships first develop, couples create a sense of intimacy. This feeling of being together and of being connected is what allows them to move further into their relationship, to get married or commit to being and living together.

It is this very intimacy that lets partners know they are together, that they are supported and loved. This is the cherry that makes so many things worthwhile. For a relationship to flourish, this original sense of intimacy must continue to develop, and be fed and nurtured.

It is unfortunate that often life, the busyness of jobs, raising family, even developing individually, can cause people to forget this glue that cemented and joined them together in the first place.

Without intimacy, neither mate will be getting what they truly need, seek and desire. We all want to be cherished, loved and accepted for who we are. Without the security that intimacy brings, distance grows inevitably within the relationship. The core reason for being in the relationship is not being fulfilled, and unhappiness will grow. This creates a vicious cycle of frustration and even further distance. The less the partners have a sense of connectedness on this deep level, the less they will feel happy and secure with each other and the more the very thing they both crave will be just out of reach.

This does not have to be. This cycle can be stopped at any time. Everyone wants closeness and intimacy. It is the very reason why people enter and build relationships.

You must each feel able to be undefended and open to share your deepest thoughts and feelings. When this occurs it creates a deep experience of ease and peace. When you and your partner are both fully open, it leads to closeness; you are drawn together by the need for intimacy, and when there are no walls, moats or flights of arrows, there is no limit to the closeness you may achieve.

Going back to the basics of communicating with each other and slowly and gently reaffirming your love for each other and your desire to be close can do wonders for recreating your connection. Start small. Make regular physical contact often. In the beginning this may take practice. Do it as an exercise when necessary, hold hands, sit closer together, look at each other directly when talking.

Be sure to plan time together, and whatever it is you are doing, remember the most important aspect is actually being there with your partner. Bring your presence to the interaction. Do not have all the aspects of your life running through your mind. Empty your mind and be with each other. The greatest gift you can give each other is the gift of yourselves. There is almost nothing that feels better than when someone is really present with you, giving you their true attention, acknowledgment and appreciation.

What may have started as a conscious exercise, will quickly blossom into that intimacy that each of you crave and that brought you together as a couple to begin with. Commit to this process together and you will find yourselves falling in love all over again. When you bring awareness and presence to your relating, there are no limits to what can happen!

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4 comments on “Why Intimacy is Important in Relationships
  1. A thoughtful commentary on intimacy. I always appreciate the conversation framed on the wider expressions of intimacy. Too many commentators focus on sex as THE expression of intimacy. But, what makes sex in relationship so wonderful is the intimacy that comes from trust and loyalty and the comfort with another human being to share a glance, a touch, or just hold hands without sex being the live all and be all and always the goal of intimacy. Without out that loyalty and trust and comfort in a person, sex is not even intimacy – it’s just personal gratification… just sex.

    • Maude says:

      Denise I really appreciate your feedback. I do think that true intimacy occurs only when partners are truly present for each other in the everyday moments of life.

  2. I was just saying to my husband yesterday that we need to reapply some of this ‘glue.’ It’s been a hectic and demanding summer. So easy to put intimacy last. Like you said, it’s as easy as intertwining a couple of limbs while watching TV.

    • Maude says:

      I can only say “yes,yes,yes. ” It comes down to knowing your partner is really there with you, no matter what the actual activity is. And physical contact is really helpful.

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  1. […] this week’s blog, we wrote about intimacy in a relationship. Here are some accompanying articles. The first is […]

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