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Dating & Relationships

I recently started thinking about what makes for true intimacy in a relationship. After a bit of contemplation, I realized that it’s a very simple, but elusive and rare thing. The person you are with should be someone with whom you can be your most “you.” Your higher self, certainly, but also your true self, your secret self that maybe only you knows. I thought of everyone in my life and realized that very few people fit that bill. 

I thought about some of the things that initially attract people, as opposed to that which forges a pathway for true intimacy. If a relationship exists for other reasons, like financial security, it may lead to temporary happiness, but not true intimacy; obviously.

It made me think back to my article on the trend of dating based on credit scores and why I find that method of dating so unappealing.

It’s definitely the reason I stopped watching The Bachelor. I just can’t see how competition and mass exposure can lead to true relationship building. But of course, any kind of trend-related dating scheme is suspect to begin with—case in point, scent—based matchmaking.

I then thought about the idea of who I’m most “me” with; and realized that something in that person would have to be a mirror, of sorts. In other words, the person we are with ultimately reflects who we are right back at us.  
 
After a while of dating, and certainly during my marriage, this thought occurred to me often. The way I treated my ex reflected the way I treated myself—especially in terms of the things about him that drove me crazy. I remember challenging my now-ex-husband with, “why can’t you confront your boss/finish graduate school/be nice to your sister-in law?” It was always countered with, “why can’t you?” And he was right. They were all things I couldn’t do myself. 
 
So what are we left with? Should we attempt to reach true intimacy with every relationship we start? Should we leave the relationship the minute we realize we can’t access real intimacy? And how do we really, really know that we will reach that level of bonding in our relationships?
 
I would love to hear from the wise and wonderful members of CatholicMatch about this.
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20 Comments

  1. Rodney-959694 April 5, 2013

    This has made me think deeply about my past relationships…and NONE of them have been the intimate type as mentioned above. Thanks for your article.

    I believe the one you are with should make you feel comfortable enough to share your deepest secrets, without being judged. That person needs to accept you unconditionally unless of course there are character flaws that lead to dangerous or illegal behavior.

    I think I’ve a long journey ahead of me until God places that person in my life…and you know what? This road is worth traveling!

  2. Patricia-706626 April 5, 2013

    True intimacy is yes about loving and sharing unconditionally. It is being VUNERABLE
    show your true colors . You are able to share your deepest secrets,disappointments,mistakes,and blessings without feeling rejected or shocked.
    Someone you know that will love you no matter what you do ,say,and trust your whole being,heart and soul with. Someone who loves you as much as he loves himself knowing we all need love ,and forgiveness. True intimacy we will help our love one to feel acceptance with our worts.Thus, we will both become more like Jesus.

  3. Kathy-700871 April 5, 2013

    The covenant of marriage involves helping your spouse attain the ultimate goal–which is Heaven. I don’t think you can do that without true intimacy in your relationship. There are many facets to this. We judge so that we can improve. We love so that we can be loved. We share so that we can open up and truly be ourselves.

    As a widow the thing I miss the most about my late husband is that he was my best friend. We shared everything and in life we agreed on all the big things. I loved being married and I hope to have that true intimacy again in my life. So many of my married friends say that they would never get married again and I think that is so sad. They are missing out on one of the best gifts we can have in this life–True intimacy.

  4. MJ-951904 April 5, 2013

    My late wife and I were married for over 65 years. Our intimacy was based mostly upon the attitude we developed over the years. To be intimate in all respects a spouse must desire the happiness, welfare, satisfaction, prosperity, and health of THE OTHER PARTNER. Selfishness is, to my mind, the reason couples fail to achieve true intimacy. You will notice that my formula for intimacy is also the definition of love. Check your scriptures. Note that I said we developed our attitude.It takes time to get to where when God parted us. If you want it, work for it.

    • Lilia-959452 April 7, 2013

      BEAUTIFUL said, hey you all should read this, MJ has based his intimacy description on his own experience, meditation and most important, scriptures. Men and Women of this days are super busy changing names… Intimacy = Love… THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS THOUGHT!

    • Lynea-297530 April 7, 2013

      Even praying every day won’t make for any try emotional shared intimacy if there are not the things MJ mentioned mentioned, “To be intimate in all respects a spouse must desire the happiness, welfare, satisfaction, prosperity, and health of THE OTHER PARTNER.” A relationship can’t be one-sided or there is no relating for their to be a relationship. Also, I’d like to add that there needs to be complete honesty about everything.

    • Carol B. September 17, 2013

      thank you sir! I am trying to figure out if my partner is the one god wants me with and I like your last line… if you want it. work for it!

  5. Kathleen-917901 April 5, 2013

    I agree with MJ, it takes time to develop the true intimacy we desire. It is unconditional, other centered and wants only the best for each other. I have been single now 30 years. Raised my children and have dated many men. Have been engaged a few times also. I had a taste of the grandest love of all–it was everything that has ever been written and deeply intimate but he left–Why? I think he was not quite ready for a marriage commitment and was a recent widower. I was too impatient–I did not want to wait.. I was like many others. I was so smitten and too much in a hurry to have it happen. I have been told and it is true that you just cannot rush love–in fact sometimes you have to be very patient and devote a large investment of time to really get to know that person. Most of us are so stressed out with just living, working and raising kids, that love and deep romance gets pushed aside. Now I am retired and have the time to devote so where is the love of my life? Should I just forget it –no– I have put it in God’s hands and focus on positive self talk so I can be open when God sends him my way. Ladies -God designed us humans to live life to the fullest –to love intimately and be happy–do not give up your quest. Keep your minds and hearts open because the love of your life could be right next door. He may not look like prince charming or be a wealthy CEO or 6′ tall but he has a heart and mind that when it clicks in for you –real intimacy can flourish and your happiest together will be immeasurable– That is all I have to say about that. Kate

    • Carol-737878 April 6, 2013

      Kathleen, these are wise words. Thank you for sharing. I, too, am waiting for God’s blessings and His perfect timing in relation to finding the right person with whom to share my hopes, dreams & most intimate thoughts.

    • Maria-930320 April 16, 2013

      Excellent points! Discernment can be a challenge. Our wills with our impatience with time vs letting the Holy Spirit work toward the evolving revelation of if the relationship is “the one” or an encounter for an unknown reason that is but temporary.

  6. Thank you for your article. I think we should definitely leave relationships where true intimacy won´t happen or if one partner can´t or doesnt want to have real true intimacy.

  7. Marie-958315 April 6, 2013

    I agree, how beautiful if we reach that point were we find real true love , that you know that you know that is love to the deepest core your beeig. I believe that one will know it when it happens…but you are right one must be true and open to the opportunity.

  8. Amy-952196 April 6, 2013

    Hm…. true intimacy. This is a really great blog–I’ve enjoyed reading others comments. There have been some very insightful thoughts about what it is–and how to find it. Yet, as I look at this with my own life, I am faced with the fact that maybe it starts with me–not with a prospective partner. Am I someone who can be truly intimate?

    Thank you for this opportunity to work on this idea in my prayer life–as I think God will find a way to teach me this valuable lesson.

  9. Kathy-730470 April 6, 2013

    Yes true intimacy is being able to be loved for who you are. It is being able to be your true self without fear of rejection or judgement. It is also loving someone else without judgement or rejection and wanting the best for the other person. It is finding your best friend, loving someone unconditionally and letting that someone love you unconditionally too.

  10. Lynea-297530 April 7, 2013

    Everything that Patricia-706626 said. Thank you very much.

  11. Steven-958229 April 7, 2013

    I would like to say thank you for the article and thank you to the CatholicMatch member for their great comments. I believe that our pop culture has redefine( or misdefined) “Intimacy”. The idea of this “so call Intimacy” gets in the way of “true intimacy”. A good definition I like is “Intimacy is two human beings dancing [metaphorically speaking] with dignity and respect within a complete commitment and appreciation for each other’s concerns and for each other’s possibilities—with little possibility for threat or invalidation, with openness and vulnerability and no need for protection and defense.”

    What I must do is to grow away from “bad” ideas of our pop culture.

  12. Xiomara-954748 April 17, 2013

    Thanks I think this is true. True intimacy is hard to find in a relationship your partner should be your better half and together be each others reflection!

  13. Lamont-961776 April 17, 2013

    Intimacy

    I feel that first finding love is an adventure: you don’t know where it is, what it looks like, or where you will end up when you find it. Just think how grand it really is.

    What would we do for love and true intimacy. I think anything, but God knows each one of us, and when we ask for something so grand as that, we would have to know him very well, so that we know the adventure that he has set for us to find our true love–for without your true love there can be know true intimacy.

    We have to ask yourself: Is this my adventure, or the adventure that God has planed for me.

  14. Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

    Why do so many women reach the level of insight that this author has only AFTER they get a divorce? I hope the Church starts granting wholesale annulments, or there are going to be hundreds of millions of miserable women in the church in a few years, or they will have to leave to find their sole mates.

  15. Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

    Soul mates. Not sole mates. Sorry.

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