"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Meaningful Intimacy on all Levels

     I heard once there were five different types of intimacy: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.  Hopefully none of these need much explanation, but maybe I'll write some posts about each one some day.  Today I want to talk about how understanding and balancing them can lead to greater happiness in our relationships.
     Disclaimer: I am a single guy and haven't actually been in too many relationships, but I want to share what I've learned from the few I've been in.
     In a past relationship my girlfriend and I focused too much on the physical side of things.  I don't think we would have stayed together even if we had done things differently, but perhaps there would have been fewer problems and heartache.
     After I broke up with her I thought a lot about what I wanted in a relationship.  For a while I didn't really care about the physical part of a relationship because things had gone so haywire.  As time went on I decided that I do want that, but I want it in proper balance with the other four areas.  It is my humble opinion that only when all five balance out can we find the greatest happiness in relationships.  How those balance out is between you and your significant other.  I won't even pretend to know how to help you find that balance, except in a general sense.  Not until I've done significantly more research and observation anyway.
       In general relationships will work better when both focus on the first four areas.  If all you care about is physical intimacy you can be satisfied with anyone.  Anyone can hold your hand or kiss and so forth.  But you want more than that.  You want physical intimacy to mean something.  If you are new in your relationship you don't want to feel awkward.
     Focus on the first four and whatever physical intimacy you have will come naturally.  You won't feel awkward and it will be much more meaningful.
     A wise man (a former bishop of mine actually) once told me that "romance was the icing on the cake or the seasoning of a meal."  Physical intimacy on any level is the seasoning, that while important won't sustain you.  You need to have a strong base to a relationship.  Learn to connect with your significant other on the other four levels.  Build your relationship on that base and when you get old and fat and ugly it won't matter.  The things that your relationship is built on will still be there.  When you look for someone to share life with, find someone that you connect with on those four levels.
     I'm still waiting to find someone to build that kind of relationship with, but I know that when I find her it will be well worth the wait.  And when I find her, the effort to strengthen that base will be worth the effort.