Philosophy and Relationships28 Nov 2009 11:01 am

The following are excerpts from my book Exploring Intimacy which you can read by clicking on the words tab above.

From the chapter Defining Intimacy

Becoming intimate with something means to gain a familiarity with a desired object, to become more at home with it.

Any object or activity which gives us joy or attracts our attention provides our life with a basic amount of intimacy.

Though it is true that intimacy can be gleaned from even the most mundane experiences, this does not imply that all forms of intimacy have the same value. Many activities and things we become closer to, and more intimate with, provide us with greater satisfaction than others.

In regards to our own skills and talents we are often unappreciative of what we have accomplished and instead focus  on what we are currently incapable of achieving or attaining.

The drive for intimacy is in itself a need, but very often in our lives it is a need overshadowed by social responsibilities, expectations and obligations.

A certain amount of selfishness is needed for a person to get their needs met and a person meeting their needs will generally be a happier one.

Only through honest reflection on one’s wants and needs can an individual accurately assess if a perceived lack in their life is authentic or imagined.

Those who strive for and demand perfection are ruling out growth and feelings of intimacy to arise in their life. Expecting life to be perfect is not only unrealistic, but contrary to one’s experience of intimacy and happiness.

Without a proper sense of priorities in our life, it is impossible to maximize the amount of intimacy we derive from our life experiences.

When choosing which things to focus on and cultivate in our lives we should look for those things which provide us with the deepest sense of satisfaction.

Intimacy, like love, can become sterile or distorted. The difference is that also incorporates the ability to rectify itself.

Meaning comes from understanding, to “stand under” something, while ignorance comes from ignoring something.

And from the chapter Intimate Relationships

The desire to get more familiar with, to get closer to, is at the heart of almost every relationship we pursue and sustain in our lives.

Love and intimacy are very similar desires in both motivation and structure. Love is mainly an emotional response and state where intimacy encompasses the entire human spirit.

The aspects of love which intimacy shares is its desire to feel close and connected to the object of desire. Where they part company is that love is often blind or unconditional, while intimacy is always moving with its eyes wide open.

The desire to be love or be intimate with people is not enough, we also need to be selective. A person unaware of his real needs will often choose the wrong person to woo or love.

Initial attractions,  no matter how strong, are not enough to sustain a life long relationship without further growth and development.

One should not marry in the hope of finding fulfillment, but should consider marriage after they are actively engaged in a fulfilling and intimate relationship.

When an individual chooses a life partner without knowing themselves and their needs.or their partners needs, they are leaving the success of their relationship totally up to chance.

The flourishing of a long term relationship is greatly assisted when a firm common ground exists between a couple. When two people see the world through similar eyes, speak the same language, share like interests, and their basic needs make sense to each other, they are in a good position to maintain a fulfilling relationship.

The quality of what one communicates is more important than the quantity.

An intimate human being shares and expresses the very desires and needs which make up their existence. Though they often verbalize their thoughts and feelings creating a mutual history, they also take time to reflect on themselves and their friends. An intimate person takes as much joy in quietly learning about life as they do in revealing themselves to their partner.

Friendship is a very important aspect of intimacy. Friends give us the common language and vision it takes to feel close, to feel satisfied and fulfilled. Friends validate all the meaning we find in life, and give us the impetus to dig deeper.

Additional friendships are not inherently a danger to an intimate relationship but rather a source of stimulation providing more things for the life long partnership to share.

In an intimate relationship, both the quality and quantity of time spent together is important. No matter how intensely you share, an intimate relationship will have trouble surviving if each week you only have a few moments alone together.

Ideally, having children should be an expression of the love you feel for your spouse, and the intimacy you share. The tragedy is that all too often people have children as an attempt to find intimacy or save a marriage.

When our needs are not being met through our spouse we should not look to begin a family as a solution. A baby born to bring a couple together is a dangerous experiment. Seldom does the birth of a child create intimacy in a previously troubled relationship. More often than not only makes a troubled relationship more strained and intolerable.

For more on these topics I encourage you to read Exploring Intimacy.

Jim Guido

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