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Is Your Life Rich with Healthy Intimacy? Here is Why it Matters

Updated: Feb 22

Have you ever been starving for intimacy without realizing it? Allow me to paint a not-so-pretty picture…


It’s Sunday morning after a busy week, and I’m standing in the kitchen trying to make breakfast before church. It’s 9:15, I’m not even dressed, church starts at 10, and none of us have eaten. Yikes.


On top of that, my husband has been stressed all week about a deadline he had to meet for work, we hardly had any quality time together, and I am feeling like the worst mom/wife ever right now - for many reasons.


Can you see where this is going?


Now let me say here that my husband and I love each other very much, but sometimes we forget that what makes the other one feel loved is very different.


I have learned through the years that my husband needs quality time and physical touch to feel connected and intimate with me. I’m more of a words-of-affirmation kind of gal; And trust me, when that tank gets low, it’s not a pretty sight. (On the contrary, when that tank is full, I’m on top of the world!)


So I’m sure it’s no surprise that this particular morning turned into lots of yelling, hurtful words, rushing around, and then faking a smile at church as if everything is A-OK.


It actually took weeks for us to realize that we were starving for the love and affection of each other, just in different ways.


A woman dancing with her husband

The picture you see above is of a happy couple who have been through many seasons of struggle. (Yep, that’s me and my hubby, Alex).


This week, Anne has given me the privilege to share about that eight letter, multi-faceted word I mentioned earlier:


“Intimacy”


So for starters… Does that word intrigue you? Or… does it make you cringe?


Honestly, I didn’t understand intimacy for the longest time. I grew up with a lot of family dysfunction in my teen years, which no doubt skewed my view of intimacy.


I didn’t realize that it applied not only to marriage, but also friendships, family, and my relationship with God.


Intimacy between people is often described as being seen, known, and loved.


When our “intimacy tank” gets low and we don’t feel seen, known, or loved, we miss out on a lot of life’s fullness.


For me personally, I can feel sad, agitated, misunderstood, unmotivated, etc. And when this happens, it is REALLY hard for me to properly pour into others.


I’m definitely not saying that cultivating healthy intimacy is easy.


In our February newsletter that Anne sent out, she shared about how multi-faceted intimacy can be. She shared 12 different types of intimacy.


12 Types of Intimacy


  1. Communication 

  2. Aesthetic

  3. Sexual

  4. Affection

  5. Spiritual

  6. Work

  7. Recreational 

  8. Family

  9. Social

  10.  Crisis

  11.  Emotional

  12.  Intellectual


If you download the list, she explains each type of intimacy and how it may impact your life.

Because we are such complex humans, there’s no doubt that the impact of these will differ from person to person.


We all have different ways that we desire to give love and receive love, so what feels more “intimate” to one may not feel quite as loving to another.


When my husband and I first got married, I didn’t realize that what made him feel seen, known, and loved was so drastically different from me.


I could encourage him over and over with words of affirmation, but I have learned it won’t ever fill his heart to the brim like it does mine. He needs my quality time and physical touch way more than he needs words of encouragement.


(What’s worse is that we KNEW about the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and we still weren’t implementing them!)


When Alex and I’s intimacy tanks get low, it is not a fun experience. It usually ends in one of us saying something hurtful and the other one shutting down. I remember feeling so drained my first year of marriage because we simply were not filling one another up in the ways that each other needed filled.


Nowadays, we still aren’t perfect, but I actually have a go-to phrase when I start to feel “intimacy-drained.” All I have to do is say to my husband (in good timing), “Hey Alex, I can tell that my tank is low. Can you fill me up in the next few days?” (That usually means, “Hey, I need words of encouragement as soon as you can get them to me!)


Now I realize this may seem silly to some people, but it has made a huge difference. We are to the point now where we can usually sense when the tank is getting low and point it out before it ends in chaos, (usually chaos which could have easily been avoided).


Marriage challenge to deepen intimacy and better communicate when we feel like our intimacy tank is getting low.

I want to end by sharing a challenge that we received recently at a marriage class put on by our church. Alex and I have been attending this marriage class monthly called “Cherish Your Marriage,” in which our pastors share their insights on topics like intimacy.


At our last class, one of my pastors challenged us to ask each other the questions: “When have you felt most cherished by me in our relationship? What was it about that which made you feel so loved?”


And the next challenge is: DO MORE OF THAT!


You simply can’t connect with your loved ones if you don’t know how they feel seen, known, and loved (AKA: cherished). And without connection, there’s no intimacy.


All this being said, my personal suggestion for y'all this week is to:

  1. Reflect on what ways you are desiring more intimacy.

  2. Communicate that with your spouse, friend, or family member.

  3. Ask what ways they are desiring more intimacy too, (you may need to refer them to the 12 intimacies list. Not all will apply).

  4. Write down 2-3 simple ways you could contribute to the facet(s) of intimacy that you both desire. 


You might be surprised by the responses you get! Sometimes, my husband just wants me to hug him more; How simple is that! 


I hope this blesses your life like it has mine. Allowing for healthy intimacy in our lives will surely lead to a more joyous existence.


Thanks for letting me speak into your world today!


Kalista


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