Relational Intimacy – The 7 Realms

If there is one relationship topic that we could all spend more time intentionally exploring, it would be Relational Intimacy. 

I’m not talking the hot, steamy, volatile Hollywood relationship….stay with me here! The intimacy I’m talking about is the binding goo of a relationship where both partners feel seen, to their core, through eyes of grace and committed love. 

My favorite summation of the word intimacy is “Into-me-see. And love me anyway.”

Some folks came from a family where relational intimacy was modeled for them both visually and experientially through their parents or grandparents. Some folks came from homes with emotional disconnect and dysfunction, where intimacy was not spoken or expressed between the adults. Think of how each of these situations might impact our understanding and comfort within an intimate relationship.

If we didn’t grow up with an example of modeled intimacy, where are we to learn about it? I don’t know about you, but my 7th grade sex class mentioned nothing of intimacy. Or pleasure. Or consent. As you think back, what are some of the important lessons on relational and sexual intimacy that you wish you had learned about?

In a world where we’re constantly busy and being pulled in multiple directions, couples frequently get distracted and lose priority with connecting to their mate. We rush everything in life along: keep the schedule, check the boxes, busy, busy, busy. These are learned habits, which means they can be re-evaluated and replaced with new habits that will serve us better. 

Let’s explore some different realms of relational intimacy: Emotional, Intellectual, Experiential, Financial, Physical, Sexual, & Spiritual.  As you read, consider how these ideas of intimate connection up in your relationship. Remember, relationships are a journey, and we always have the opportunity to change the path we are walking. Sometimes we need to reach out for help from a relationship professional to help us navigate new habits.

We enter a committed relationship with high expectations of each other and of who we will be together. A pastor friend of mine tells folks, “Raise your commitment and lower your expectations.” For any relationship to evolve, thrive, and be sustained over time, a broad-based foundation of intimacy must remain an intentional priority for both parties. 

How do we create a relationship built on trust, acceptance, and tenderness that can withstand the storms and strife? We must learn how to communicate our needs/wants/desires effectively, resolve conflict in real time, and be willing to invest in each other every day so that we can cultivate safety, connection, and relational intimacy. We need to know that if it all falls apart, your mate will have your back.

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