Relationships; How are Your 3 Levels of Intimacy

Sometimes people in relationships forget to spend quality time with one another. Life has a way of getting busy and stressful. Couples often forfeit the investment in their healthy relationship as a result. Don’t forget that it’s the little things, moment by moment, that add up and become ‘your life.’ Date nights and monthly planned outings not only help to take the stress out of the big deal and holiday events but also strengthen the relationship along the way.

One important aspect of a healthy relationship is being intimate. But you have to walk before you can run. When couples try to run before creating a solid platform, they often fall down. Intimacy is like that.

Intimacy has three dimensions, i.e., physical, emotional and spiritual.

1. Physical Intimacy – Physical intimacy includes any loving touch (including no-sex touch) or caress, and/or sex. No manner of touch that is geared for improving your connection should be attempted if it is perceived to be unwelcome.

2. Emotional Intimacy – This is when a person ‘feels’ loved. Emotional intimacy is usually a deeper kind of connection than physical. A deep bond exists that is expressed in various ‘love languages’ (as per Gary Chapman). They include:

  • words of affirmation
  • acts of service
  • actual gifts
  • visual displays of love
  • quality time

3. Spiritual Intimacy – On a spiritual level, intimacy exists when partners feel a connection in life. There may be a sense of purpose and meaning that both people share that connects them with something beyond themselves. Spiritual intimacy often subsumes both physical and emotional dimensions and altogether creates the deepest bond.

Although potentially powerful, the physical dimension of intimacy stands as the thinnest sustainable, lasting connection between people. By itself, it satisfies a basic biological need. So while a person may ‘scratch an itch’ by just having sex, she/he may still feel disconnected, used or lonely afterward. On the flip side, physical intimacy can be a gateway, when used consciously, to connect with both emotional and spiritual intimacy.

Emotional intimacy reaches into the heart. As such it provides a more sustainable and satisfying dimension to the link between a couple than physical intimacy alone. It is said that, ‘love makes the world go ‘round.’ This heart connection, when celebrated in sexuality, forges a more lasting bond. The deeper the emotional connection, the more sustainable the relationship and the more satisfying the sex.

The deepest expression of intimacy is spiritual in nature. This powerful element is created often with considerable time and effort. Spiritual intimacy is borne of surviving hardship as well as embracing joy. It brings the other two levels, the physical and emotional, together to form a synergistic whole. Spiritual intimacy takes the union of two people into another dimension altogether. As couples work towards developing all three of these intimacy levels, surely emotional blocks or challenges will arise.

Having a method or process to clear the anger, the resentment, the guilt, etc, is important for those negative emotions to be released. EFT Tapping, also known as the Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a profound an effective way of letting go of those things, that when harbored, are sure to create disconnection and stifle any real intimacy.

This blog contributed by Helena Green and Counseling for the Health of It