Intimacy defined: How to grow a strong relationship

Intimacy is the foundation that bonds two people together in a relationship. Intimacy is the process of effective communication, emotional bonding, and meeting each other’s needs. Intimacy is what creates “the spark” and brings two people together; however, the idea that we need to continue strengthening intimacy between us and our significant other can dissipate over time thus resulting in a hurtful or dissatisfied relationship.

So what is the key to having strong intimacy between you and your partner? There are few foundational items that must be present in a strong, loving relationship: Paying Attention, Building Trust, and Sharing Yourself.

Paying Attention – Paying attention to your partner helps to fulfill important core needs to feel adequate and accepted. Getting to know your partners likes and dislikes increases the emotional bond. Paying Attention includes listening to your partner. Taking time to listen to their dreams, their struggles, to what matters to them in the present day. Paying attention does not include criticism, judgments, nor name-calling. It 100 percent involves looking at your partner as a valued human being and recognizing their strengths and talents. It takes work to be around YOU all of the time. Acknowledge the work that your partner is doing to pay attention to you. Paying attention involves giving compliments, thinking of your partner before acting, and going out of your way to brighten their day.

Building Trust – This is one thing that we easily give at the beginning of a relationship. Our past can create some difficulties for us to trust, but for most of us when we are infatuated with someone, we give our trust very easily. Trust can also be broken and taken away as easily as it is given. Once the trust is broken, it can be repaired, but it can be a difficult and long journey. Every relationship has times of mistrust; however, it is continual work at building and maintaining trust that is important. Trust involves open communication with your partner about what you need and what your hope is that they will do for you (in a respectful manner, of course). Trust is being fully present with the person that is struggling with feeling alone. Actions speak louder than words; it’s great to tell your partner that you care for them, but showing them that you care solidifies the bond. Being open about who you interact with and what you do when apart from each other builds trust. Your typical day events may be of great interest to your partner when apart.

Sharing Yourself – It involves sharing your hopes, fears, and thoughts with your partner. When we do not share our thoughts and feelings with our partner, it may lead to assumptions. Assumptions are the results of our own perceptions and biases. When two people come together, you are joining two different life stories and perceptions. It’s ok if those two stories are not alike; most likely they will be very different. Sharing our life experiences, how we were raised, and our hope for the future will intertwine your two stories to create a common story or bond that will carry you into the future. When conflict arises, share your thoughts and feelings using the phrase “I feel _____ when _____. My hope is that _____”. This simple phrase can foster the close bond that you have worked hard to create.

Paying attention, building trust, and sharing yourself takes constant work. The words you speak and the action you take describes how well you do these three things. There are more intricacies that can be helpful to strengthen your emotional bond. We hope that you will join us on Feb. 10 to learn more ways to strengthen your relationship. A positive, strong relationship is not something that is just given to you. Deepen your relationship, call today to RSVP your spot for the upcoming “Strengthening Relationships” class held at Family Advocacy, Bldg. 2123, Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to noon. 06371-46-2370 or DNS 479-2370. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in a current or past relationship, please get help by contacting the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate, 24/7 hotline, at 0173-628-4624.