When You Say Intimacy, I Think of…..Create Your Intimacy Pie

What does it mean to have an “intimate” relationship? And what do you think the one factor is that seems to deepen your intimacy experiences with your partner more than anything else? Can you pinpoint intimacy components in your relationship? Do you know if your intimacy map is similar to your love partner’s?

Because intimacy is so vital to the health and longevity of relationships, researchers have been studying what “intimacy” is for years. Of course, everyone’s definitions of intimacy are different, because just like your love map and sex script, your intimacy map is built over time…as your experiences change, so does your meaning of intimacy.

Are you ready to build your intimacy map? Put the Snuggie on, crank up your Pandora, and settle in…this is a lengthy one, but oh so very well worth the effort you put into it!

Think of 10 things that you would consider vital to developing and maintaining intimacy with your lover.

I’ll help get you started, here’s what researchers have identified as key components of intimacy. You can choose from these, you can tweek them, you can add more:

  • Self-disclosure: The voluntary sharing of something personal or private.
  • Humor: Helps to keep things in perspective, and in doing so, brings couples closer together.
  • Affection: Expressing and showing feelings of love and tenderness.
  • Sex: Being able to communicate sexual needs, wants, and desires, fulfilling the partner’s sexual needs, wants, and desires.
  • Cohesion: Each partner’s sense of the level of commitment in the relationship.
  • Trust: The level of confidence, belief, faith, and hope held for the lover partner.
  • Compatibility: The sense of comfort each partner feels when they are together; how well the couple relates to each other, how well they work together, how well they play together.
  • Conflict resolution: How couples manage inevitable conflicts and differences of opinion.
  • Spirituality: Shared religious beliefs are known to intensify intimacy between partners.
  • Respect: The level of value and admiration for each other; how well each partner shows consideration of the other.
  • Personal validation: The reinforcement that the partner is worthy of love, devotion, and affection.
  • Emotional (nonverbal) communication: The ability of each partner to “decode” their lover’s nonverbal/emotional cues; as intimacy deepens, couples become more skilled at this.
  • Love: Feelings of connectedness, being bonded to one another, an intense emotional connection.
  • Friendship: Liking each other, hanging out with each other.
  • Desirability: Longing to be in the presence of the other in times of absence.
  • Intellectual: Connecting on intellectual levels.
  • Jealousy: Envious, perhaps resentful, when someone or something takes the attention of your lover away from you.
  • Identity: Being able to maintain separate, unique identities; to not lose individuality in the identity of the couple.
  • Expressiveness: Freely allowing the partner to share and disclose their most personal thoughts and feelings.

Now the tough part!  Click hereto build your intimacy map! If you need instructions, go to ** at the bottom of this page.

Each partner should create an intimacy chart. Be sure to share your charts with each other!

Why is all of this so important? Why is it so important to share your results with your partner?

Because if ANY component from your intimacy map is missing in your relationship, your satisfaction as a couple will be greatly diminished!

On the other hand, if you work to discover—from the very beginning of your relationship—what factors of intimacy are important to one another and how you each experience intimacy in different ways, then you have removed tremendous barriers to achieving a great relationship!

**INSTRUCTIONS:

1.Click on “pie”

2.Click on “data” (upper right hand corner marked by red arrow)

3.Title your graph (I titled mine “My Intimacy Map”)

4.Select the number of pie slices—how many components comprise “intimacy” to you? (I have 10 in my chart)

5.Label each pie slice (“Trust,” “Respect,” etc)

6.Assign a value for each (how important is each one to you? For example, is “Trust” 20% of your intimacy map? 30%? You determine the value for each component.)

7.Click on “preview” (upper right hand tab)

8.Click on “print” (upper right hand tab)

© Kelly J. Welch, Family Life Now (2 ed). Boston: Pearson Publishing

Photo Credit: “Intimacies” by Ferran (flickr.com)

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