Intimacy is not the same as sex. We often use intimacy as a sexual euphamism, but it is much richer. Intimacy is indeed about the closeness and vulnerablility we offer one another, a kind of nakedness so to speak, but also includes spiritual, intellectual, and emotional aspects.
Physical intimacy is all forms of touching, from a handshake or hug to a kiss or intercourse. Physical intimacy is essential to a healthy marriage. Without physical intimacy we become merely roommates instead of the lovers God intended married couples to be.
Intellectual intimacy is sharing thoughts and interests in common. When we are dating we discover the things that we share in common. We may choose to be with people who see the world as we do or like the same things that we enjoy. We have a sense of solidarity with those who enjoy our same interests.
Emotional intimacy is the intimacy that comes from being heard. When someone listens to the pain in our hearts we develop a connectedness. Emotional intimacy grows when we feel that someone has taken the time to understand us. In our busy lives this can easily become neglected.
Spiritual intimacy Is the intimacy that comes from sharing together in spiritual practices like prayer and worship. Our hearts become strongly knit together when we join together in prayer. Spiritual intimacy has been shown as a powerful indicator of successful marriages.
Most importantly, these aspects are all connected--neglecting one damages the others. If you engage each other spiritually and emotionally, you are more likely to enhance your physical relationship, for example. Or conversely, failing to engage each other's interests or never touching one another is not likely to build much emotional connectedness, for example.
You can build your relationship by encouraging all layers of intimacy!
The Raineys once again offer solid advice on stoking the Spirit's flame in your marriage. This book is designed to help you rediscover why you still love your spouse!
The venerable Lewis Smedes offers accessible and practical perspectives on how God created sex to be a part of our lives.