Intimacy means different things to different people. However, most of you would agree if I say intimacy is more than just physical closeness. It is more than the kisses and cuddles.
Intimacy means offering yourself completely to someone with no pretence. Intimacy means being close to someone — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Intimacy means to speak the truth when it’s easier to hide and express your feeling even when you fear how the other person would take it.
While it sounds great, the challenge comes from the conflicting needs we have. The need for closeness and separateness; safety and adventure; dependence and independence. It is observed that most of us have painful memories associated with our attempts to achieve one or both of these conflicting needs.
When we get into an intimate relationship, our hidden wounds get mirrored and surfaced. We tend to expect our partner to fulfil some of our unmet needs. And, when it’s not met, it triggers some fear/pain. If we are not aware of this (which most of us are not) we make our partner responsible for how we feel and express it in the form of anger and blame.
As long as we are looking to our partners to fulfil our unmet needs it will be difficult to build a loving relationship that is free of blame. The only way to evolve out of this situation is by being curious about our emotional triggers, about the feelings that we do not want to feel and our behavioural patterns. We need to allow ourselves to feel these difficult feelings, notice the story underneath and inquire into the truth.
"It is only to the extent we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we could allow ourselves to feel love."
This brings us to what are those essential ingredients that help us nurture love and intimacy in our relationship.
Be willing to speak the truth
Speaking truth doesn’t always present you with a pleasant experience. But every single time you hide a truth you create a layer of distance between you and your partner. The most common reason people give for not speaking the truth is the fear of hurting their partner. Is it okay to hide the truth to avoid hurting your partner?– Is a question you need to answer for yourself, and maybe, have a discussion with your partner too.
Be willing to feel your feelings
The moment you stop yourself from feeling your feeling, you put yourself in a conflict within. This conflict doesn’t allow you to be at ease, be at your best. And, this definitely will have an unhealthy impact on your relationship. Remember, you can love others only to the extent you love yourself.
Be willing to acknowledge your mistakes
You will make mistakes, and that is fine. There is no one who wouldn’t make mistakes. However, what is important is you acknowledging your mistake. Remember, it is easy for anyone to blame. To acknowledge one's mistakes take courage.
Be willing to take responsibility for your happiness and well-being
It is your responsibility to take care of yourself; no relationship is an excuse to forget it. While your partner may support you in your journey, don’t expect them to do your job.
Be willing to pause your urge to teach and learn
It is always tempting to teach. But if you could pause your urge to teach your partner and look for what is it that you can learn at the moment, your relationship will thrive.
The most important thing to nurture a healthy intimate relationship is the willingness to see it as an opportunity for learning and self-discovery. If you approach your relationship from a learner’s perspective, each challenge you encounter will open doors to parts of yourself which you otherwise wouldn’t have paid attention to.