Intimacy is a major component of marriage that can accurately predict marital satisfaction. Many areas of intimacy are identified, but emotional and sexual intimacies are thought to be the most important within a marriage (Worthington, 1999). Intimacy is defined and discussed in relation to emotional skills and mutuality. Barriers to intimacy include personal differences in needs for intimacy, as well as learned behavior, social expectations, and attachment styles. Although some of these barriers are inflexible, interventions and possible changes are discussed. As humans, we experience many types of relationships throughout our lives. We have family relationships, which begin as our closest relationships and eventually become more distant as we become adults and gain independence. We also have friendships, which can begin and end, change or stay the same.
[...] achieving the kind of intimacy described in the Bible, and therefore are not satisfied in their marriages. Many times, this lack of intimacy creates a general unhappiness and leads to divorce. Barriers to intimacy are numerous, but they can be broken down, and couples can learn skills to increase their marital intimacy, creating a more satisfying marriage. Intimacy Defining intimacy is a difficult process. It involves openness and vulnerability across many areas of one's life. Intimate relationships such as marriage involve knowledge, caring, interdependence, mutuality, trust, and commitment (Miller & Perlman, 2009). [...]
[...] Worthington also identifies the need for a balance of distance, coaction, and intimacy in these areas in order for each partner's needs to be fulfilled. Lack of such a balance leads to dissatisfaction and a drive to change, which can create either tension or increased closeness in the couple, depending on how the individual addresses his or her needs to their partner (Worthington, 1999). John Gottman, a researcher who has developed a model that predicts divorce and marital stability with over 90% accuracy, describes the foundations of a healthy marriage, which are in essence different forms of intimacy (Gottman, Ryan, Carrere, & Erley, 2002). [...]
[...] Increasing Intimacy Although many of the barriers to intimacy are learned and individual needs and expectations are found to be inflexible, increasing intimacy in a marriage is entirely possible. Before any action can be taken, however, both husband and wife must be aware of their wants and needs in each area of intimacy. Without awareness of one's needs, one cannot communicate them clearly to one's partner, and the necessary actions cannot be taken. Worthington (1999) suggested that most people have ranges, or levels of comfort within each area, which include emotional, psychological, intellectual, sexual, physical (nonsexual), spiritual, aesthetic, social/recreational, and temporal (Bagarozzi, 2001). [...]
[...] These needs and expectations for intimacy in different areas are unlikely to change over time (Bagarozzi, 2001), implicating that lack of mindfulness, emotional awareness, and communication of needs will definitely lead to a lack of intimacy and therefore, marital dissatisfaction. Those who lack emotional skills are likely to have exchanges with their spouses that, instead of identifying and communicating emotions, consist of “retaliation, withdrawal, defensiveness, hostility, or avoidance” (Mirgain & Cordova p. 985). Other miscommunications within arguments may include interrupting, cross-complaining, contempt, stonewalling, and belligerence, all of which reduce the support needed from one's spouse in order to foster intimacy (Miller & Perlman, 2009) These types of interactions are what Gottman et al. [...]
[...] North American Journal of Psychology, 153-162. Cordova, J.V., Gee, C.B., & Warren, L.Z. (2005). Emotional skillfulness in marriage: Intimacy as a mediator of the relationship between emotional skillfulness and marital satisfaction. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 218-235. Miller, R.S, & Perlman, D. (2009). Intimate relationships.(5th Ed.) Boston: McGraw Hill. Mirgain, S.A., & Cordova, J.V. (2007). Emotional skills and marital health: the association between observed and self-reported emotional skills, intimacy, and marital satisfaction. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 983-1009. Moonshine, C. [...]
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