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12 Keys to Creating Intimacy
by Jackie Lapin

We all yearn for it. And even though we may be in a relationship, we may not have it. What is it? It’s intimacy. It’s that amazing point when two people open their hearts to each other and reveal their souls.

Intimacy emerges when there is trust. When trust overcomes and banishes fear. Intimacy is marked by authentic communication, shared dreams and deep respect for the other person’s feelings.

How does one Consciously Create intimacy? By doing the following:

Accepting—When someone feels accepted as he or she is, then that person feels safe. Once safety becomes a cornerstone of a relationship, people open up, trusting that they are not going to get hurt when they reveal their true selves. Accept your partner without trying to change him or her and intimacy begins to grow.

Comforting—Offer comfort, a place to go for refuge.  When someone knows that one’s partner will unfailingly be there to offer comfort and solace, intimacy swells and grows naturally.

Sharing—Intimacy must be a two-way street. Therefore, both parties must share their innermost thoughts, feelings, dreams, hurts, passions, goals, aspirations and joys. When you share fearlessly, then your partner feels safe to share. This triggers trust and a shared mission, which in turn feeds intimacy.

Listening—A vital key to intimacy is each partner’s willingness to listen intently to the other. People must feel heard to feel validated and appreciated. Interrupting, being too busy to listen, talking over the other person, narcissistically talking without giving the other person a chance to be heard, or listening half-heartedly are all intimacy killers. True listening from the heart will dramatically increase the intimacy quotient.

Opening—Too often people come to a relationship with a specific point of view or opinion that precludes openness. But it is in this openness that intimacy can flourish. A partner must be open to new ideas, new opportunities, new ways of being together that naturally flows when a second person is introduced into his or her sphere. Be open to what your partner brings to the table or what newness results from the union.

Empathizing—To foster true intimacy, each partner must empathize with the other. Place yourself in their shoes, know what your partner is feeling, let your partner know that you understand. To mutually share the feeling and the same perspective creates an ever-stronger bond.  

Appreciating—Everyone wants to feel appreciated, but it is especially essential in an intimate relationship. Each partner must express, demonstrate and exude appreciation for the other in any of a myriad of ways. But it must not be something that only happens in the beginning, when the relationship new. This fire must be kept lit for the duration of the coupling to maintain the intimacy.

Acknowledging—As humans, we want to be acknowledged. We need to know that we matter. To maintain intimacy in a relationship, it is imperative for each partner to acknowledge the other—to let one’s lover know that he or she is the priority, that he or she is valued as a person unto themselves, that each sees in the other a person of shining humanity.

Anticipating—People feel especially valued when their partner anticipates their needs, wants and desires—and acts on them. Whether it’s taking out the trash, offering a back rub or knowing just where one’s partner likes to be touched—such anticipatory actions inspire intimacy.

Giving—Giving comes in so many forms…giving of oneself, giving time, giving gifts, giving one’s heart. Without generosity in giving, a relationship will whither. For a relationship to be truly intimate, both parties must be giving equally, without condition, without expectation.

Encouraging—Intimacy in a relationship will thrive where both parties encourage and support each other in nearly every aspect of life—work, children, personal time, health, personal growth, individual passions, shared passions, family challenges, etc. Support and encouragement are essential to building intimacy.

Loving—Love, of course, is the reason for intimacy. Intimacy cannot stay for long in a relationship built on any other need, emotion or justification. Love must be abundant and flowering for intimacy to expand and grow. By loving fearlessly and unconditionally, the greatest intimacy can be attained and sustained.