Building Intellectual Intimacy
The Importance of Intellectual Intimacy
Intimacy is often confused with sex, and while sexual intimacy is important, it is only one of the different types of closeness you can build in your relationship. Depending upon how you define them, there are at least five types of intimacy, according to most marriage therapists and counselors. The kinds of intimacy are Emotional Intimacy, Intellectual Intimacy, Physical Intimacy (both sexual and non-sexual), Experiential Intimacy, and Spiritual Intimacy.
Intellectual Intimacy may be the most neglected type of intimacy. This is unfortunate because knowing and loving your partner on an intellectual level can help deepen your connection and respect for one another more than ever before.
Definition of Intellectual Intimacy
Intellectual Intimacy is when two people in a romantic relationship can be their authentic selves and freely express their thoughts, questions, values, concerns, opinions, and goals. It is when two partners are on the same page, if not the same paragraph. It is when a couple can enjoy similar forms of entertainment or learn how to do something new together. It is when they “get” each other.
Benefits of Intellectual Intimacy
- Personal growth. Both partners will grow intellectually as you share thoughts and ideas. If you are learning and you share what you are learning with your spouse, they will likewise grow. The discussion that occurs, even if you have different perspectives, can stimulate each of you to expand your thinking and increase your knowledge.
- Greater closeness. As you share your thoughts and learn to appreciate your spouse’s thoughts, you will grow in love and respect for one another. It will prevent you from feeling alone or isolated in your marriage and will even build self-esteem because you are being validated in your opinions and perspectives.
- More consensus. The more you share things in common, the more you will begin to see things in the same way. That will build trust and create a sense of security in that you “get” each other. Fear of intimacy will diminish because you know your spouse from the inside out.
- A good time anytime. If you and your spouse can talk about various topics, you won’t have to be in a crowd to have a good time. The two of you can make a good time wherever you are, with or without others.
- Sense of ease. This can be true of discussions on all types of topics and especially conversations about finances. You can discuss monetary matters without feeling anxious or edgy.
How to Create Intellectual Intimacy
- Look for new things to learn together. This seems obvious, but you must be intentional about finding things to try and learn together. Try something new, from horseback riding to new dance forms, to gardening to culinary skills.
- Read and discuss together. Order the new bestseller and read it together. Pick topics of interest and each of you research them on the internet and then discuss your findings. Read, discuss and explore issues related to your faith and spirituality.
- Talk about work. While it is true that bringing your work home can be detrimental to your couple time, letting your spouse know more about your work environment can increase their understanding of you. It can make them feel included when you describe the people you work with, share a funny event or story from the office, etc. Of course, you want to avoid complaining, but sharing your challenges can help your spouse support you.
- Be supportive. Everyone faces challenges of various types, and your spouse is no different. Listening, offering suggestions when asked for, and brainstorming solutions are ways in which you can be supportive and build intellectual intimacy. Being supportive will increase your spouse’s ability to be emotionally and intellectually vulnerable with you.
- Discuss your past experiences. Telling your partner stories about your past – what happened, how you felt, what you learned, etc.- can build a bond because they get to share in the experience with you. For example, stories about your youth and childhood can give your spouse new empathy for you and an understanding of the forces that helped to shape you. It can also be healing when the stories are about painful or traumatic experiences.
- Talk about the news. Share your thoughts and feelings about current events in your neighborhood, city, state, nation, and the world. Talk about elections and who you plan to vote for and why. It will help your relationship to know your spouse’s feelings, and it will help you to be a better and more responsible citizen and patriot.
- Plan and adventure. Choose a destination, research it and make arrangements. Learn all that you can about where you are going and discuss what you would most like to experience there. Become experts together on what and where is entailed in this adventure.
- Talk about what makes you “you .”What core values are most important to you? What is your personality type, your behavioral style? What are you passionate about? The subjects are almost endless, and you are continuing to grow and evolve, and so is your partner.
Maybe the most essential thing you can take away from this blog is to ask your spouse, “What do you think?” and then listen to their answer. Intellectual intimacy, like other types of intimacy, can continue to grow deeper and more rewarding through the years if you continue to make an effort to know your spouse from the inside out.
If you want to learn more about the five types of intimacy or how Love Recon seminars and coaching can help you and your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.