Types of Intimacy

Types of Intimacy

Types of Intimacy

What are the 4 Types of Intimacy?

Previously, I thought that intimacy was just a polite way to refer to sex, but in reality, that type of physical connection is really just one type of intimacy. Intimacy is the concept of fully knowing another person and loving them as they truly are. A level of transparency that requires you to be your most vulnerable self and connect with your partner both in and out of the bedroom. Intimacy describes the closeness and vulnerability we offer one another in relationships. Intimacy is much more than a physical connection, it includes physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional aspects. Let’s talk about the different types of intimacy in more detail. 

Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is sharing thoughts, interests, and activities in common. It is human nature to desire spending time with people whom we can share ideas and projects, those who see the world as we do and share the same passions. Dating couples eagerly discover the interests they share in common and often try to learn to like new things. Doing interesting things together over time remains a key part of successful relationships. As we share life and discuss ideas with one another, we grow our intellectual intimacy. Having an intellectual connection can be fostered by simply having meaningful conversations daily. 

Below Are Seven Questions That Will Begin to Help You and Your Partner Develop a Deeper Level of Intellectual Intimacy:

  1. What challenges have you had in your life that you are grateful for?
  2. What is one thing about me that you discovered, that you love about me? One thing you dislike?
  3. What is a major investment or goal you would like to accomplish this year? 
  4. What is better than amazing, mind-blowing, passionate, and satisfying sex?
  5. What makes your partner attractive to you – physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually?
  6. What brings you the most joy in our relationship?
  7. What would you do if I changed my religious beliefs? 

[Looking for more conversation starters? Check out How To Fall Back In Love With Your Spouse]

Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is the intimacy that comes from being heard. When someone listens to the pain in our hearts, we develop a connectedness. Emotional intimacy grows when we feel that someone has taken the time to understand us. Which can easily become neglected amidst our busy lives. Our closest relationships are built on a foundation of having our emotions validated. 

5 Ways To Enhance Emotional Intimacy:

  1. Share your successes and struggles
  2. Write your partner a love letter
  3. Start weekly gratitude journaling together
  4. Create and complete a “bucket list” together
  5. Get comfortable being uncomfortable (vulnerability)

Spiritual Intimacy

Spiritual intimacy is the intimacy that comes from sharing spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, and worship. Our hearts become strongly knit together when we join together in shared spiritual beliefs. Spiritual intimacy has been shown to be a powerful indicator of successful marriages. A deeper bond is formed that shows that we are working together on the same team following spiritual leadership.

5 Ways To Enhance Spiritual Intimacy:

  1. Pray or meditate together
  2. Share the character lessons you are each learning from your sacred text
  3. Talk about the history of your beliefs, or any specific religion
  4. Get involved/volunteer together 
  5. Read devotionals together 
  1.  

Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is all forms of touching, from a handshake, hug, a kiss, or even sexual intercourse. Physical intimacy grows in a relationship as couples grow in their love for one another. Physical intimacy thrives within the boundaries of a committed relationship; too much touch beyond the scope of the relationship brings heartache. Relationships need boundaries around physical intimacy so that godly limits are observed. Physical intimacy is normally essential to a healthy marriage–too little touch and the relationship suffers. 

[Looking to “heat things up” check out: How to Keep Stress From Tanking Your Sex Life]

5 Ways To Enhance Physical Intimacy

  1. Enjoy a nice make-out session
  2. Lots of foreplay 
  3. Explore the body through massage
  4. Have sex in another room
  5. Conscious Sensuality 
  1.  

These four types of intimacy aspects are all connected; they move and grow together. As you strengthen one area it naturally builds on the others. However, neglecting an area can also have damaging effects. Intimacy allows you to preserve the emotional or sexual connection and excitement (the butterflies) you had when you first met. As you know, maintaining a strong and intimate connection is critical to the success of your relationship. We have a responsibility to invest in opening and closing doors of intimacy in the right places with the right people. You can build your relationships by getting intentional about developing all layers of intimacy together!

So, if you desire to strengthen the intimacy with your partner, I highly encourage you to immediately put what you have learned to good use, starting today. Some say, “easier said than done” and I agree. However, many couples can benefit from the support of a great marriage counselor or relationship coach to assist with strengthening the intimacy in the relationship for a deeper connection. If this feels true for you, please know that help is here!

Wishing you all the best, 
Tomauro Veasley, M.A., MFTC, CLC

tennessee online marriage counseling tennessee online therapy

Tomauro Veasley, M.A., MMFT, CLC,  is an experienced marriage counselor, family therapist and relationship coach, as well as a certified life coach and individual therapist. She specializes in helping you create understanding, purpose and strength in yourself and your relationships in order to promote healing and growth in the most important parts of your life.

Let’s  Talk

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How to Set Boundaries with Parents

How to Set Boundaries with Parents

How to Set Boundaries with Parents

Living YOUR Life

Do you experience uncomfortable tension around the family dinner table when gathering for events, holidays, or special occasions with your loved ones? It’s not uncommon for families to have blurred boundary lines. Often due to a level of familiarity and comfort, we may find what lines we do have in place are frequently crossed – especially when it comes to our parents and in-laws. Why is this?

 

Setting good boundaries can often feel uncomfortable when the relationship is as delicate as a parent/child relationship, and even though you may now be an adult (married with children, managing your own affairs, and pursuing paths in life relatively foreign to that of your parents), they may still see you as their “child” in the sense of adolescent, unknowing, and naive to matters of the world. 

 

Boundaries, similar to limits, are incredibly important to set early in relationships. We set them with our employers when we sign our employment contract, we establish them with our friends to maintain a healthy social / work / life balance, and we create them within our romantic relationships to protect ourselves and our partner. However, when it comes to our parents, these boundaries are set later in life as we become adults and the transition can often feel uncomfortable and confusing to navigate. 

 

We all have limitations, and it’s essential to know your limitations so that others cannot take advantage of them. When it comes to limits, we are only in control of ourselves. The first step in setting boundaries is to remember that we can change our actions and perspectives, but we can’t change others. Secondly, we must understand that boundaries can be uncomfortable for both sides of the boundary. 

 

As a relationship coach and individual therapist, I work with my clients around setting boundaries quite frequently. Many of my clients have already put in the work to excel personally and professionally with boundaries in their workplace, friendships, and romantic relationships. When it comes to parents though, it’s a whole other ballgame! If you’re feeling this way too, welcome to the club! 

 

I want to stress that this is a common experience, and you’re not alone in this struggle. Today I want to share with you some useful ways that you can begin to acknowledge where boundaries are needed in your parental relationships and tips for getting started in creating (and keeping) them. 

Why Do We Need Boundaries Anyway? 

Boundaries are necessary in relationships for both your own protection and mental health. It is important not to enable inappropriate or destructive behaviors – especially ones that lead to toxic relationships. Unfortunately, establishing boundaries and enforcing them with family can be extremely difficult, and even harder as you become an adult and get married. 

 

Do any of these parental examples sound familiar?

  • One of your in-laws causes division between you and your spouse
  • Your mother-in-law does not approve of the marriage
  • Your parents are struggling to accept you or your spouse as adult-children
  • Your father does not like your spouse and refuses to accept them as part of the family

 

With boundaries, you can protect yourself, your marriage, and your family (and make your relationship with your partner stronger). By doing so, you are still loving those on the other side of the boundaries, and you are opening the door for growth, forgiveness, reconciliation, and the start of a healthy relationship between your marriage and your parents or in-laws.

Creating And Enforcing Boundaries As A Team

When setting boundaries with parents and in-laws, you and your significant other must have a clear understanding and be in agreement about what those boundaries are and how you will enforce them.

 

Being on the same page is vital to the success of your boundaries as a unit. This means that you will both need to treat this part of the process with importance. Find a time that works well for both of you to sit down together and discuss your concerns without distraction. Then, come up with solutions to those concerns by drafting boundaries that will ultimately lead to a more productive, successful partnership with your parents (and leave you and your partner feeling good about the decision(s) you come to together). 

 

Do you and your partner feel differently about the boundaries in question? That’s okay, we all have different values and comfort levels (even in marriage!). This may be an excellent time to work through a difficult conversation and build a new skill within your relationship! This process of creating healthy boundaries should ultimately give you and your partner a sense of freedom and empowerment in your marriage. [Looking for advice on working through conflict constructively? Check out Constructive Conflict: Arguments That Help Your Relationship Grow for more information.]

 

Once you have your boundaries in place and your method for supporting and enforcing these boundaries as a team, you can then discuss them with your parents.

Discussing Boundaries With Your Parent(s)

How you address the conversation with your parents is as equally important as the boundaries themselves. For your parents to feel comfortable and not attacked, you shouldn’t shame or point fingers but instead use this time to speak about the future and how these boundaries will ultimately build a better bond between you, your partner, and your parents as a unit. Encourage them to voice how they feel about what you are presenting and actively listen to develop a common understanding between both parties. 

 

Here are a few conversation starter tips I like to share with my relationship coaching clients to use when addressing their parents about necessary boundaries, feel free to use them yourself:

 

  1. Be open and honest about how you feel, but recognize that this new information may be coming out of “no-where” in your parents’ eyes. Respect their feelings and offer the conversation as a safe place to discuss both sides of the boundary.
  2. Schedule your conversation or plan it around an appropriate time. Giving the other half a heads up about the conversation will lend to a fuller, more productive conversation and less confusion or defensiveness.
  3. Respect your relationship with your parents – sometimes your parents might not see eye to eye with you and/or your partner, and that’s okay. Remember that change takes time.
  4. Don’t let your parents take over your mission. If you have it in your heart to see change in the boundaries between your relationship with your partner and your parents – then don’t give up. Honor your relationship and keep showing up for it. 

 

It’s likely that this conversation will feel uncomfortable for both sides. My advice is that the partner whose parents are causing the conflict or displaying unhealthy / inappropriate behaviors should take the lead in setting these new boundaries with their parent(s). 

Be Prepared For These (Negative) Responses

Some parents may take this news extremely well, however, the response is often not rainbows and butterflies (that’s why this conversation can be so difficult!). So it’s important to prepare yourself for these common (negative) responses:

 

Anger 

Resentment 

Denial 

Guilt Trips 

Resistance 

Spouse Division Attempts

 

You should discuss with your partner the plan for moving forward if these responses show up in the parent(s) feedback.

Boundaries CAN Be Flexible

The thing about boundaries is they can be flexible. Boundaries don’t have to be in place forever. The length and extent will vary from person-to-person / relationship-to-relationship. The goal of the boundary is to take ownership of actions, respect wishes, and have the willingness to put in the hard work to change. The level of acceptance and participation will establish the length and severity of the boundaries.

 

As people change and grow, boundaries change with them. Be willing to revisit your boundaries as you move forward in your relationships.

 

Warmly, 

Tomauro Veasley M.A., MMFT, CLC

 

Tomauro Veasley M.A., MMFT, CLC is an experienced marriage counselor, family therapist and relationship coach, as well as a certified life coach and individual therapist. She specializes in helping you create understanding, purpose and strength in yourself and your relationships in order to promote healing and growth in the most important parts of your life.

Let’s  Talk

Real Help For Your Relationship

Lots of couples go through challenging times, but the ones who turn "rough-patches" into "growth moments" can come out the other side stronger and happier than ever before.

 

Working with an expert couples counselor can help you create understanding, empathy and open communication that felt impossible before.

 

Start your journey of growth together by scheduling a free consultation.

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