click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Getting Ready for Intimacy

Getting Ready for Intimacy

Rate your intimacy potential and learn how to strengthen it.

by

Everyone can fall in love, but not everyone can stay in love.

Falling in love is easy. It does not require emotional strength. Falling in love is like getting high on someone else. It’s like fireworks that for a moment burst into exotic colorful patterns but quickly burn out and disintegrate in the darkness of the night sky. Falling in love has no permanence.

To stay in love one must have the capacity to be intimate, and intimacy requires great emotional strength. Intimacy is about connecting at the emotional and spiritual core of one’s being with the emotional and spiritual core of another’s being. A person with a weak emotional core will likely become overwhelmed by the intense feelings that are evoked by this type of relational experience and feel a need to retreat and disconnect for the sake of self-preservation.

Here are 17 questions to evaluate your intimacy potential.

Score each question on a scale of 1 (this is not true about me) to 5 (this is very true about me):

1. I am not afraid to tell people how I really feel and be vulnerable

2. I can express my needs without fear of being rejected or shamed

3. I do not have a fear of abandonment or being smothered.

4. I am not a people-pleaser nor do I need other people’s approval to validate my self-

worth.

5. I like who I am and know I am lovable.

6. I am a good listener and respect other people’s feelings

7. I don’t have any shameful secrets to hide

8. I am able to be myself no matter who I’m with.

9. I am not threatened by others being different than me and truly desire that others

be their unique self.

10. I am confident and can handle criticism reasonably well.

11. I accept myself with my limitations, weaknesses, and character flaws.

12. I am a team player and a good problem solver who strives for win-win solutions.

13. I like saying what I mean and don’t play games

14. I enjoy giving pleasure to others and am not afraid of losing myself

15. I am able to respect and love people even when I disagree with them.

16. I am not afraid of my feelings.

17. I am generally able to accept the bad along with the good aspects of people and do not split people into being all good or all bad.

This is not meant to be seen as a scientific test. It’s meant to give you some guidelines for learning more about yourself and help you become more aware of some of the essential elements necessary for building and maintaining a mature, intimate relationship over the long run. Take note of the questions you scored very low on and use this as an opportunity to become more curious about that issue and what it says about you. I suggest that you think about how this issue may have interfered with your having satisfying relationships in the past or present.

6 Ways to Strengthen your Intimacy Potential

1. Identify your greatest fear of being in a long-term committed relationship and get the help you need to come to terms with this fear. Until it is resolved, it is likely that this fear will prevent you from ever getting into a truly intimate relationship.

2. Judaism’s definition of love is the pleasure we get when we identify someone with their virtues and accept them with their faults. Start practicing loving people you don’t particularly like. The challenge of loving someone is to be able to experience him or her as a whole person without splitting the person into being either all good or all bad. Idealizing someone as all good or demonizing someone as all bad will never lead to an authentic experience of love.

3. Practice being more emotionally open, honest, and vulnerable with people that you feel safe with, like family members and friends. Push yourself when you feel like withholding your feelings or opinions to express them. Then begin to practice with people you may not know as well and don’t feel as safe with.

4. If you tend to be a people-pleaser, practice saying “no” more often when that’s what you really want to say. Learn to tolerate the anxiety associated with saying no.

5. When on a date make a conscious decision that you will not play games or allow the other person to play games. If you feel the person you’re dating is not shooting straight, call him or her on it. Don’t be afraid of confrontation. Share how you feel in an assertive not aggressive way and try to have a conversation about your concern. You want the person to know that your goal is to get to know him or her better and that playing games will only hinder movement towards this goal. This exercise will also help to improve your communication and problem solving skills.

6. Practice being a better listener, which means truly hearing what the other person says without reactivity, criticism, or giving your opinion on what he or she said. Just listen! Listening is a necessary skill for building true intimacy.

February 13, 2016

Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 3

(3) John Lakie, February 29, 2016 2:12 AM

This is helpful to dedicating to the kids who don't have any nike gear.

(2) Scott, February 19, 2016 7:24 AM

One man's perspective

I have to tell you at the start that I'm a Jewish man from Texas. Both parts of my identity make me. But most of the time I tend to go with the Texan side.

I read the list of questions and if that's a rating tool I'll be ready for intimacy somewhere in the middle of the next century should moshiac be delayed that long.

Funny thing is I'm happily married with a beautiful kid and strong relationships with my family and community.

See I think lists like this are why people get married later and later. People say they're "not ready." And my Texan nature says that lists like this are exactly why so many marriages are unhappy. They misstate what marriage is about. What its goal is.

It's a man and a woman, very different beings, cohabitating for the purpose of setting up a household and raising a family. Pooling their strengths and weaknesses developing respect through the achievement of shared goals which produces lasting "love." Love isnt a feeling for grown ups its a verb. My wife would step in front of a bus for me or my kids Thats the only kind of "love" that has any value to me and it will last forever as long as I demonstrate the same kind of "love" for her. My daughter gets it just cause shes our daughter.

Romantic love is just a bonus. Deep penetrating intimacy is just a bonus. But it's what people like you tell people they should be looking for in a spouse. So when the "chemistry" fails and real life starts these fools can't handle it.

But here you are telling people that the bonus is the thing and if you don't have it you are missing out.

And you wonder why so many people sit on your couch and tell you they're unhappy. But then its good for business.

(1) Rebecca, February 17, 2016 9:22 AM

Fish Love

I saw a really well made video (Fish Love) on aish.com about love, and I would say it expressed how Judaism defines love better than the definition given here. It made the point that love is something you do, a verb, not something you get, a noun (like pleasure - even "pleasure we get when we identify someone with their virtues and accept them with their faults"). A big problem with people these days is they think love is the pleasure, and so when they don't feel the pleasure, they assume they just don't 'have' love anymore. That's not real love - it's fish love. It's love of ourselves, not the other, just as when you love fish you love yourself, not the fish. You use the fish for your own ends (nourishment). With human love, you love the other person for his or her ends, not just your own. And the love isn't something you have or get, but something you do. Even in truly loving relationship, we don't always feel pleasure. Sometimes for many different reasons the of pleasure just isn't there for us. But love is a verb - accepting the person, giving ourselves to them in a gift, and so we only truly love them if we continue to do so, whether or not we get any pleasure from it at any given time.

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub