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In relationships, there are different types of intimacy to nurture to help couples feel validated with each other.

What makes marriages last?

With divorce rates being a constantly pressing problem, this question provides one of the most powerful keys to the foundation of a thriving society. To most, the answer is, without a doubt, commitment. It’s the basic element of a solidified union, a term everyone understands the significance of.

Commitment is the established straightforward solution against separation. It is a mindset couples must operate under to ensure nothing in their way would break them apart.

But is this all there is to it?

While commitment is the exclusive answer, a term thrown around as integral to unions, it also is complex. It comprises other components that make it everlasting, one of which is intimacy.

What Is Intimacy?

Intimacy can exist without commitment, but no commitment exists without intimacy. Hence, when couples reach a union of tying their souls for a promised eternity, both must exist.

To foster a secured and enduring connection, commitment and intimacy must feed into each other. The latter encourages a deep connection between individuals, leading to a stronger commitment. In simpler terms, the closer couples are, the more willing they become to stay committed to each other regardless of obstacles.

The more intimate they have been, the stronger their will is to remain intact with each other and to communicate honestly and vulnerably with their partners.

But what is intimacy?

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What is intimacy to a man can be different from what women expect. Upon hearing the word, physical closeness is people’s automatic association. It’s often interchanged with the sexual experiences couples go through.

However, intimacy isn’t just limited to the physical connection that bodies desire. Instead, it’s about creating meaningful connections encompassing different types of intimacy.

What Are the Different Types of Intimacy in a Relationship?

To better understand the different types of intimacy, couples can read the book written by Angelo and Tj Haygood titled How to Build a Successful Marriage: 39 Activities to a Healthier & Happier Marriage.

Written with what was initially their mess of marriage in mind, the authors perfectly capture the essential elements necessary to resolve, build, and strengthen marriages. They’ve experienced the ups and downs of a marriage, having gone through a tumultuous union themselves. Banking on how they overcame challenges, the book serves as a guidebook to others.

In one of its chapters, the book dives into the different types of intimacy necessary to maintain happiness in a union. It’s not all about physical connection. Instead, it’s an amalgamation of different types of intimacy: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual intimacy.

What’s the difference between these?

Physical Intimacy

The most common form of intimacy, physical intimacy, refers to the couple’s closeness to one another. This involves cuddling, kissing, and hugging. Depending on how far they are in their relationship, this form of intimacy changes, becoming more intimate and frequent.

What separates this from the other different types of intimacy is proximity and safe touch to enhance the couple’s emotional closeness. This only becomes present when people fully trust their partners to display vulnerability and an openness to proximity.

Emotional Intimacy

Among the different types of intimacy, emotional intimacy can be the most challenging to build. Emotional intimacy takes an individual’s rawness and passes it on for another to value.

Being emotionally open with someone means being vulnerable and honest about one’s deepest thoughts. This also involves fostering a feeling of safety and having an environment that is free of judgment.

To nourish this type of intimacy, people need to open themselves and embrace the discomfort of unraveling their thoughts to another. They can’t form an emotional bond if they hold themselves back from opening up and fear intimacy. This type of intimacy can be intimidating as it revolves around truly becoming bare before someone. But it’s essential in forming genuine and unbreakable bonds.

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Intellectual Intimacy

Being mentally close to someone might be less taxing and intimidating than other forms of intimacy. But it’s necessary to ensure couples are on the same page.

Intellectual intimacy refers to an openness to sharing ideas, perspectives, and opinions, especially in disagreements. Like emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy can be better cultivated when the connection doesn’t allow for judgment. People must be open to having their opinions corrected to foster a healthy opportunity to build intellectual intimacy.

The key to strengthening this is mutual respect. Although there will be moments when couples have different perspectives, they must be open to accepting what the other expresses.

Spiritual Intimacy

In Angelo and TJ Haygood’s book, spiritual intimacy is among the most potent forms of closeness for couples. People are motivated by their beliefs, and it’s not guaranteed that simply because they’ve coupled up, their beliefs will automatically match their partner’s. There will be moments when they clash, and when this happens, it can be challenging to move forward.

With spiritual intimacy, couples feel close enough to understand, validate, and share their beliefs with each other to strengthen their connection. This may not mean forcefully having the same beliefs. Instead, it simply means they’re intimate enough to respect their differences and find a healthy in-between. This fosters a desire to continuously learn more about each other and find the strength to support each other despite these differences.

Understanding these different types of intimacy is integral to feeling validated and safe in a relationship. This is the key to lasting a long time with another person.

If you’re interested in learning valuable secrets to an enduring marriage, check out the book by Angelo and TJ Haygood.

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