Love Ed 201
1. Emotional intimacy is a key component to a happy marriage. It is about becoming best friends, sharing secrets, desires, wants and needs. It is you nurturing them and them nurturing you with a deep understanding of feelings and the need for emotional support. It is giving them daily compliments and telling them how much you love them. How successful you are at this intimacy is directly related to your E.Q. - Emotional Intelligence as opposed to I.Q., which is more useful for Intellectual Intimacy. Working on improving your E.Q. can be quite helpful in a relationship. There are many resources online to guide your training.
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ - Daniel Goleman) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, utilize motivation to overcome challenges, defuse conflict, accept valid criticism and improve your social skills.
2. Physical intimacy is about soft caresses and touches. It is holding hands, kisses goodbye and hello, massages and shoulder rubs, cuddling during sleep and the need to be close to each other. It is also fun activities such as darts, table tennis, video games, hiking, talking walks and playing games with each other. The key is that you get to enjoy each others company, just as good friends do. What type of activities do you enjoy together?
3. Intellectual intimacy is the sharing of thoughts and ideas, hopes and concerns, hobbies, skills, goals, plans and values. You should also discuss how you want to raise your children, schooling decisions, and considerations such as financial management and how to address structuring time with the in-laws. It is spending attentive quality time talking about daily issues, opportunities and fun stuff, perhaps during afternoon tea or while enjoying a cool beverage.
4. Spiritual intimacy involves practicing and discussing your spiritual and religious needs and differences. Which type of worship or religious organization might be appropriate. Do you want to spend time doing a spiritual study together? What key concepts might you want to learn about first? Perhaps the Golden Rule which is observed by nearly every religion :) How often each day do you want to pray? How might you involve yourselves and your children in prayer? Perhaps before meals and before turning out the light at night, as a start? There is a popular saying, "the family that prays together, stays together."
Are you willing to learn about other religions and attempt to understand their value, meaning and essence or would that be a threat to you? Are you familiar with the 3 Abrahamic religions?
5. Creative intimacy is where you try new things and go to different places. Maybe you enjoy listening to music together. You could garden together or plant flowers. Perhaps you surprise your loved one with a special gift or flowers on days other than Valentine's day. Maybe you give them a hand written love letter or write a poem. Go on a picnic, watch a sunset or go to the park, beach or river. The idea is to keep fun alive in your relationship and not forget to appreciate your partner.
6. Sexual intimacy often gets much of the attention during the early stages of any passionate romantic relationship. The real concern is after the infatuation stage cools down, how do you continue towards a more relaxed intimacy? Some couples get overly worried that because the passion is less intense your relationship could be in jeopardy. Might you drift apart? That is where the other intimacies really kick in and prop up your relationship rather than it be based predominantly on sexual intimacy. Successful relationships usually need to have a certain amount of passion even after the infatuation stage has passed. With mutual understanding, communication and teamwork, your relationship can remain passionate while adding other intimacies to make it more balanced. In fact, as you develop the other intimacies, passion can actually improve in ways you had not anticipated.
7. Athletic intimacy is based upon exercise and sports. You can try yoga or work-out together at home or at the gym. Choose a sport that you both like or learn one together. Some options include: tennis, golf, badminton, table tennis, soccer/football, cricket, basketball, field hockey, skiing, bowling, bicycling or dancing.
8. Artistic intimacy involves addressing your artistic desires such as drawing, painting, watercolor, sketching, ceramics, cooking, jewelry making, photography/film making, writing or playing musical instruments. You might need to take some online or in-person classes. You might be saying to yourself, "I don't have that kind of talent or creativity". Our reply to that is to stop degrading yourself. Learn to have faith in your abilities. You are amazing in many, many ways. Art can be learned just like reading and writing. We know because we previously thought we could barely draw a decent circle. After reading Betty Edwards book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" we discovered that not only could we draw, we were meditating and improving our intuition simultaneously since those are right brain treasures. In fact we were advised to utilize that book because we really wanted to improve our intuition, and it improved immediately. We started doing what we "knew" we should be doing instead of going against our intuition and suffering the consequences.
9. Amusement or Entertainment intimacy is just what it sounds like, finding ways to entertain yourselves together so that boredom does not take hold of your relationship. Maybe you enjoy going to concerts, plays, museums, parties, sporting events, casinos, amusement parks, the movie theater, the zoo, the fair, the science center, doing puzzles, scrap-books, volunteering to watch another couples children so they can have some time alone, volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or nursing home. Help someone in need. Create a bucket-list and pick one to do every week or so.
10. Meditative intimacy is both a relaxation, stress reduction technique and a partnership building method. By helping each other improve your meditative abilities it will likely open doorways to an area of your soul that you have not worked on before. Meditation can help you get in touch with your subconscious, your intuition and your spiritual nature. It is hard to put it into words until you experience it. At first you will both find it difficult to stay focused and not get distracted with random thoughts such as "what else do I need to add to the shopping list" or "did I forget to take my vitamins today". After you have spent 5-10 minutes practicing, it is fun to ask your partner how many times they got distracted and what thoughts were popping into their head. That is normal but with practice you can reach greater depths and last for perhaps 30 or 60 minutes or more, assuming you can schedule that amount of time for yourselves. There are many apps online that can offer soothing sounds such as a soft flowing stream or waves at the beach to help you relax. Science has proven that meditation / stress reduction techniques can be a great benefit to your health and to your relationship whether you practice alone or together, but many cultures have not yet come to comprehend that wisdom. How do you think monks get so wise and relaxed? Here are several quotes from the Dalai Lama.
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."
"Love is the absence of judgment."
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster."
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
"Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other."
In conclusion, agree to enjoy 3-5 or all 10 intimacies. Each partner should pick their top choices and compromise so that each of you gets to enjoy your favorites with each other and maybe discover that they are more fun than you expected, especially because you are doing them with your best friend.
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