Intimacy, take a moment to reflect on what your belief is on intimacy. Is it a belief that has been renegotiated as you have experienced life? Maybe you have a picture made up in your mind and you try to stick to whatever that is for you. With that approach I am not sure that leaves much room for compromise.
Which I guess may be another question in itself, should you be willing to adjust. To adjust to what some of your spouse’s thoughts are toward intimacy. Intimacy means self-disclosure and self-revelation. Put another way, it means transparency. It means tremendous openness, candidness and honesty.
Our capacity for intimacy with another is determined by and limited by our level of intimacy (or openness and honesty) with ourselves. When we are just starting out in adult life and love, part of our desire for intimacy with another is driven by our misplaced desire for self-intimacy or self-knowledge, to know and figure out ourselves.
But instead of wanting to actually get down to the labor and messiness of understanding ourselves and coming to better know ourselves, we opt for the seemingly easier and more conventional and natural route of expecting another person to know and understand us. Thus the all too common complaint in relationships, “You don’t understand me.” “You don’t understand me” means I don’t understand myself, nor do I know how to, yet I expect you to, and I expect you to do so perfectly and in place of me.
In other words, “You don’t understand me,” is the dodge of an ego trying to preserve itself and avoid light—the light of scrutiny, examination and potential truth. The truth, more likely, is that the person him/herself who is saying, “You don’t understand me” actually equally, if not more so, doesn’t understand him or herself and doesn’t understand why he or she is doing what she’s doing, saying what she’s saying, behaving as he or she is.
And furthermore, the person doing the complaining (“You don’t understand me”) is in all likelihood doing little to express him/herself clearly or to in anyway improve the situation or relationship by trying to be clearer, understandable and reflective.
You don’t understand me is the covering complaint of someone who is confused and has regressed (momentarily or longer) to the state of a child or adolescent psychologically and who is no longer willing to be an adult-equal in a relationship; meaning, thinking, reflecting, scrutinizing oneself and the other with equal passion or dispassion.
Thus the first duty of intimacy is getting to know ourselves. Which means penetrating through our own shells and masks and false-selves, penetrating through our own deception and disguises, and seeing ourselves as we are, as best as we can. If you noticed, I have not even mentioned sex, physical intimacy and there is a reason. Each of us has five significant parts in our lives.
We have the physical, the emotional, the mental, the social, and the spiritual. All five of these parts are designed to work together in harmony. In our search for intimacy we want the solution today, or yesterday. One of our problems is that we want "instant" gratification.
When the need for intimacy in a relationship is not met, we look for an "instant" solution. Where do we look? Physical, mental, social, emotional or spiritual? It's the physical. It is easier to be physically intimate with someone than to be intimate in any of the other four areas.
You can become physically intimate with a person of the opposite sex in an hour, or half-hour; it just depends upon the urge! But you soon discover that sex may only be a temporary relief for a superficial desire. There is a much deeper need that is still unmet.
Even in a marriage, if any of the three less physical areas are not met it can cause turbulence in your relationship. You should recognize what intimacy truly means for you and consider what areas are important your spouse.