Behind Closed Doors
By Habiba Jessica Tran LPC, NCC – North Star of Georgia Counseling
“I once had a thousand desires. But in my one desire to know you—all else melted away.”- Rumi
Love is one of the most profound emotions known to human beings. You bounce between exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, trembling, a racing heart, and finally feeling SO ALIVE! There are many kinds of love, but most people seek its expression in a romantic relationship with a compatible partner. Months go by and the reality of differing personalities starts to sink in and understanding the person you are spending your time with becomes crucial. When the feelings of love towards this person will start to merge with being in love with the person. This is the critical time- right at about 12-20 weeks where relationships are made or they begin to fall apart. At this point, you and your partner begin to co-exist together and values are either met or violated. For example, how do you make the person feel they are important when you don’t know the values they hold to be important? Is it quality time, affirmations, gifts, acts of kindness, physical touch? To get to know the person, first, you must create intimacy within the relationship. Intimacy in between the sheets is important, but I’m speaking more towards emotional intimacy which in its rawest form creates closeness with another person. Emotional Intimacy is the ability to feel vulnerable and still be confident that you will be accepted. There are different forms of intimacy and knowing the values within each aspect of intimacy will help you meet those needs.
1. Emotional intimacy: is closeness created through sharing our feelings, thoughts, and desires. One of the easiest ways to create this is to spend 10 minutes with each other without any distractions such as electronics, other people or multitasking.
2. Intellectual intimacy: involves having a mutual understanding and freedom to discuss topics of interests based on your values. This includes discussion about politics, religion, child rearing, family values, advocacy, and anything else that is important to you WITHOUT fear of consequence.
3. Recreational Intimacy is being active together. Find those things that you like to do or would like to experience and do them with your partner.
4. Financial Intimacy is the sharing of your financial situation. Financial intimacy comes with developing a plan for your finances and being able to have open and honest communication with your partner regarding plans and aspirations related to finances.
5. Physical Intimacy is creating a connection through touch. Be it holding hands, a hug, a kiss or making love, we humans were designed to want to be touched. Touch can communicate acceptance and love, a closeness that only the two of you have based on your shared experiences.
Using these different aspects you can then begin the conversation of finding and understanding the values within each level of intimacy. Examples of values that correspond with emotional intimacy would be: acceptance, openness, transparency, authenticity, honesty, trust, freedom, caring, creativity, curiosity etc. When you have a relationship that revolves around shared values and intimacy, the relationship and passion will feel very natural, and easy. Coexisting will be simple and conversations will reflect the values that make you who you are as an individual and also within the context of the relationship.