Ask yourself, what is it you love or like most about the individual that you are married to, dating, interested in and so forth. What about them truly draws you to them – perhaps it’s the way they carry themselves, how they motivate you, their physical appearance, a shared belief system, their profession, etc. The answer to that question will of course vary for everyone, and may even be multifaceted; therefore, it’s quite possible there could be an ongoing list of what attracts you to that special someone.
A few months ago my grandmother asked me a question that would forever alter the way I looked at, regarded and demonstrated love. I was in the earlier stages of dating with my boyfriend at this time, and she like most in my family knew I was smitten; I was truly in what they consider the “honeymoon stage” – he could do no wrong and I just adored everything about him. Needless to say, my grandmother didn’t ask me “Do you love him?”, but “Why do you love him Devin?” While I could provide answer, the question stumped me. So often you will find yourself being simply asked, “Do you love him/her?” and we quickly blurt out, “Yes!”
Her question stuck with me as our relationship continued to grow, I found myself delving deeper into why I loved him, which over time solidified my answer when someone asked me, “Do you love him?”
Our generation is bombarded with opinions, how-to’s, lists, and cliche rules for what defines a “successful” relationship, most often this is relayed to us via our social media timelines, friends or family, and even group messaging applications. In our minds, we’ve got it figured out (and for quite some time I thought I did too!), yet there’s some layers I’ve found that many of my peers need to pull back – the first, which is hinted at in the title of this post is: Redefining Intimacy.
From observation, this or moreover the lack of this is what is killing relationships. By definition intimacy points to familiarity, closeness, bonds, and so forth, yet when most of us consider intimacy we are only reflecting upon physical intimacy (sex). Ahh, sex – it’s so taboo within our society, we plaster it upon all of our advertising, films, and even social conversations, yet somehow it’s still this big “no-no” that isn’t talked about openly in the way I believe it should be (especially in relationships). Yet, sex is unfortunately the bottom line of intimacy for many couples (whether married, dating or in between). I asked some of my peers to consider, if you remove physical intimacy from your relationship, what’s left? Is the bond strong enough between the two of you to find (and most importantly want to find) differing ways to express love, attraction, and appreciation?
While being as candid as I can be, I too mistook physical intimacy as a way to show my significant other that I cared about him, and while it’s not wrong, it is very important to find other ways to demonstrate love. Sex is easy to find, get, what may have you – it’s always been that way and always will be, but the connection of two souls/bodies coming together is very hard to come by, and even more hard to come by without being physically intimate with one another.
Once I figured this out, I wanted to find other ways to show my significant other that I loved him, and in doing so our relationship strengthened – like a lot. Personally, I turned to writing as a form of expression, my handwritten letters to him allowed me to express what sometimes I verbally could not, I poured my heart on to paper, and the connection I felt with him watching him read my letters was (and still is) absolutely indescribable. He too, found ways to express love to me, outside of being physically intimate and such has opened doors for our relationship to prosper. Our conversations are stronger and deeper, bickering and arguments have lessened, we are more in “tune” with one another, I feel safe opening up to him and I can lay on his chest listening to his heart thump my favorite rhythmic tune without saying a word and just be at peace.
Don’t get me wrong folks, physically intimacy, of all kinds, is important to explore and cherish with your partner, but sometimes we can get so caught up in that (and let’s not even get into the self consciousness that comes with trying to please your partner) and forget the “why” of it all. So I challenge my readers to ask yourself, “Why?” and then take it a step further and show that special someone “how”.
Love on, lovers.