In their book, “Stripped Down“, Tony and Alisa Dilorenzo mention six types of intimacy: emotional, intellectual, spiritual, recreational, financial, and physical intimacies. In their book, “Red Hot Monogamy“, Bill and Pam Farrel discuss eight types of intimacy: social, financial, recreational, vocational, parental, emotional, spiritual, and sexual intimacies.
One thing I have realized is that intimacy is like a merry-go-round. If a merry-go-round stops, someone grabs hold of one bar and runs around holding onto it until the merry-go-round gets going again, then they jump on and let centrifugal force keep it spinning for awhile. When the merry-go-round slows down someone else might get off and grab another bar to get it going again. Most likely the bar they grab will not be the same bar that the first person grabbed.
Sometimes it’s easy in a marriage to feel like your relationship has stagnated. If one partner will grab one of the intimacy bars and start running with it, then all different sorts of intimacy start working better and the marriage starts running better. Maybe you jump into some recreational intimacy by going boating, if you both enjoy that. Or you attend a pro-football game, if that is appealing to you. You possibly sit down and tackle some financial challenges and make some decisions to face those hurdles. You could enjoy going to a coffee shop and discuss a book that you have both been reading or a current topic in the news that you both have had thoughts about. Maybe you attend church or synagogue together and afterwards discuss the sermon to build your spiritual intimacy, or share something that God has shown you recently from scripture.
Most often when you get off dead-center in your relationship by pushing on one of the bars for one of the other intimacies then the mutual desire for physical intimacy will come back and happen very naturally. If you have been apart for a few days because of travel, or life has totally interfered and gotten you on a treadmill, you might jump right into some passionate physical intimacy. After you are winding down from that you may feel more emotionally connected and naturally share about some things that have been happening in your world which you haven’t had time to share with your partner.
The nice thing is that either partner can consciously make the effort to grab one of the bars of intimacy to get the merry-go-round going again. And, it’s often wise to grab an intimacy bar that you know deeply touches your partner.
What have you found to be good ways to re-ignite all levels of intimacy in your marriage?