Do you want to have a passionate, fun, and satisfying relationship with your partner? But does your relationship feel more stuck in a rut of routine, busyness, responsibilities, and distance? This summer just may be the time to re-ignite the love in your relationship! Over the next six weeks I am going to offer you and your partner a road map for deepening the intimacy in your partnership. The first step is for you and your partner to decide, “Yes, let’s put in an effort to revitalize our relationship.” Then each week, I will be offering you a way to deepen your intimacy and some practical suggestions for living that out in our own beautiful backyard of Denver.
The road map that we’ll be using is called “The Six Types of Intimacy.” Healthy couple relationships are developed out of a wide variety of experiences that draw the couple close together. I often have couples call me up for therapy in crisis about their sexual relationship. In most cases the problem has manifested in the sexual relationship because the couple hasn’t nurtured the other types of intimacy that need to undergird a passionate sexuality. Likewise, some couples feel the emptiness in their relationship because it has been just “work, work, work” for so long: who takes the kids to soccer practice, who’s going to get the car serviced, why don’t you help me more with housework? The relationship has been starved of fun and romance.
There are three types of intimacy that reach down into the very core of our being: spiritual, emotional, and sexual. To experience spiritual intimacy with your partner involves not only discussing the big questions of life, like, “What do I want to do with this one, precious life I have?” Deep spiritual intimacy involves sharing about that in a way that bares your soul, shares your self-doubts, describes your fears and deepest longing. Rome wasn’t built in a day and that type of spiritual intimacy isn’t accomplished on a first date.
The second type of intimacy that can reach into the depths of our hearts is emotional intimacy. Most women love it and most men are uncomfortable with it. But emotional intimacy is the “broad band connection” between the hearts of two lovers. At its beginning level it is about expressing preferences and one’s experience of life. At the deepest level of emotional intimacy we experience an “emotional resonance” in which there is profound openness, hearing, and empathy.
Of course, sex is the third arena in which we can experience deep personal connection to our partner. Truly intimate sex is not very much about body parts and orgasms. It is an erotic dance of showing love to your partner through touch, responsiveness, and caring that results in an experience of oneness.
But the potential for intimacy in these three realms of intimacy is only reached when the couple has built a foundation of intimacy on the other three types of “easy intimacy”: recreational, intellectual, and vocational.
Recreational intimacy is as simple as having fun together. Let’s play. Intellectual intimacy is built upon the sharing of ideas. Whether it is discussing a movie, commenting to your partner about a news article you’ve read, or hearing about new things your partner is learning at work, intellectual intimacy weaves together your minds in ways in which you feel understood and stimulated by your partner. Vocational intimacy is developed by engaging together to accomplish a goal. Vocational intimacy not only satisfies by drawing you together but by satisfying your need for achievement.
So, are you ready to do this with your partner? Each week I will be blogging on one of these types of intimacy and then suggest some practical ways that you and your partner could develop that type of intimacy right here in Denver. Early Denver promoter, Frederick Bonfils, wrote, “Tis’ a privilege to live in Colorado.” I think he’s right. Denver summertime is the perfect time and place to build your romance. We are blessed with day after day of sunshine. Denver’s low humidity makes it a joy to be out on warm summer evenings. Denver is geared toward active, fit adults who want to engage all types of recreation. Out of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., Denver ranks number nine in percentage of college degrees: 38%. Therefore, Denver is rife with opportunities to develop intellectual intimacy with your spouse.
This week your assignment is to talk with your partner, show him or her this blog, and agree to spend some each week developing your intimacy. Then get ready for Summer Love in Denver!