Intimacy is a funny thing. Not ha-ha funny. But strange funny.
Ask a dozen people what intimacy is, and you’ll get 13 different answers. Men and women tend to define intimacy differently, and I think there are also some generational differences in how people look at it. It’s elusive and hard to pin down. If you ask a married couple if they are feeling intimate with their spouse at any given time, they will probably tell you how they feel (yes/no/somewhat), but they may not be able to say exactly why.
As elusive as it seems, most everyone seems to understand its importance to marriage. As my new reader survey results continue to show, intimacy is one of the most sought after topics on my blog. So even though I’ve touched on it periodically, I decided it’s time to really give the topic the attention it is due.
Intimacy is a Living Thing
It is important to understand that intimacy is organic; it’s a living thing. As such it is either growing or dying. Very few living things can stay dormant for very long and still survive.
Regardless of how you define intimacy, you are either growing toward each other or growing away from each other as a couple. I look at this dynamic as a couple either being either on the Path of Intimacy or on the Path of Separation. And make no mistake; you are on one or the other.
The Path of Separation
When left to inertia and natural human tendencies, intimacy will tend to decline. It just doesn’t happen on its own. It takes a conscious effort to get on and stay on the Path of Intimacy, whereas the Path of Separation is easy to enter and even easier to stay on.
This is why so many couples seem to wake up one day suddenly asking themselves questions like: “where has the passion gone?” or “why does he always treat me like that?” or “why doesn’t she trust me?” or “why does he leave everything to me?” or “does she always have to be such a nag?” or “isn’t she attracted to me any more?”
The Path of Separation that leads to these questions can be a subtle one. You may be on it for months or even years before you realize that you are in a marriage that lacks the kind of intimacy and passion you once had; the kind of intimacy and passion you desire. Often by that time old habits and patterns of thinking are deeply ingrained, making it difficult to reverse course and get back on the Path of Intimacy.
But it is possible. Very possible.
The Path of Intimacy
Wouldn’t you rather wake up one day saying things like: “Wow, I didn’t know it could be that good after all these years,” or “I can’t believe we are still so in love,” or “this just keeps getting better and better,” or “I’m so thankful I married my best friend,” or “You are the best thing that ever happened to me.”
I plan to spend some time on the important topic of how to choose the Path of Intimacy. I want to look at how the choices we make either put us on the right or wrong path when it comes to intimacy. I want to examine things that destroy intimacy and things that build it up.
Check out the whole series:
- Choose the Path of Intimacy (this post)
- Intimacy – It’s Not What You Think
- Choose Trust
- Choose to Lose the Shame
- Have as Much Intimacy as You Want
- The Most Important Ingredient for Growing Intimacy