3 Keys to Intimacy

Intimacy exists on three levels. Breadth refers to the number of activities and interests the spouses share. The greater the number of activities and interests, the deeper is the level of intimacy. The second level of intimacy is depth. Depth refers to how much commitment and confidence the couple has that the relationship will continue. Depth in intimacy allows partners to see the relational "us" as part of themselves and they experience the marriage and the partner as important to their own feelings of wholeness or completeness. Finally the third level of intimacy is openness. Openness is the comfort we feel in revealing ourselves to our partner through self-disclosure.

Trust serves as the basis of intimacy in that responsible and reliable behavior on the part of the spouses allow them to predict that the other will be committed (depth) and will behave in such a way that each can fit his or her life to the other's (breadth). As this trust grows, they are more and more able to engage in the self-revelation that will result in sincere growth (openness). Therefore, building trust is an absolute essential in the process of developing a growing "us-ness." Not only will if afford the couple a feeling of security in doing the work of marriage, but it will put the partners in a position where they can develop a strong, intimate "us."

  1. Using the above ideas, list some of the things that you think would be fair to put in a relational ledger with your spouse.

  2. What is the current status of the relational ledger? Are you or your relational partner being cheated? (Note you can ask yourself how you are feeling emotionally toward the relationship to give yourself direction. If you feel angry and cheated, chances are that you are not receiving your entitlement. If you feel guilty and manipulative, chances are that you are not fulfilling your obligations.)

  3. How much trust is there in the relationship?

  4. What changes would have to be made in the relationship to get back to the place where there was balance and trust?

#marriage #couples #intimacy #relationship #counseling

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