How to Form Healthy Intimate Relationships “Theology on Tap” Edition
Who am I? Former St. Brigid staff pastoral counselor from 2004-2006. USD graduate with MA in Pastoral Care & Counseling (2005). Alliant Int’l University graduate with MA in Marriage & Family Therapy (2007). Currently an intern at a local agency and in private practice.
My Website www.pccsandiego.com pcc = Pastoral Counseling Center
Slides are available www.slideshare.net Search on “introduction to intimacy” or “ryanbuchmann” Movie clips will not be available.
Question: Exactly what is it that I should be revealing about myself to my partner?
The Dimensions of Intimacy The Four Aspects of the Human Person
Dimensions of Intimacy Emotional Intellectual Spiritual Physical
Emotional Intimacy Entails knowledge of one’s feelings Being able to identify when one is experiencing an emotion. The ability to label the emotion which one is experiencing. The ability to know the source of the emotion.
Intellectual Intimacy Knowing how you think and what you believe to be true. To which beliefs to do you hold rigidly? To which do you hold flexibly? What drives, inspires, and motivates your beliefs? What is the source of your beliefs? What experiences did you undergo to form your beliefs?
Book Recommendation Eve Eschner-Hogan with Steven Hogan
Spiritual Intimacy Each person does everything within their power to become their most authentic self. The authentic self is the very person that God created us to be. We are most happy when we are authentic.
Natural Drives The drive to be one’s authentic self can be called the drive toward the autonomous self . Relationshipis another primary human drive.
Natural Drives People move toward relationship to insure survival of self and to procreate. People move toward autonomy to establish one’s individual identity and one’s place in the world.
The Delicate Balance Human beings must delicately balance the drive for relationship with the drive for autonomy.
The Delicate Balance Togetherness urges us toward others for attachment, affiliation, and for approval. Finds expression in companionship, family, and society itself.
The Delicate Balance Individuality is defining one’s self as separate from others. Individual beliefs, choices, personal autonomy.
The Delicate Balance Balancing between individuality (autonomy) and togetherness (relationship) creates a constant tension. Relationship Togetherness Individuality
The Delicate Balance In the early stages of a relationship, the goal is to develop togetherness (e.g. things in common). Togetherness pushes us to follow the directives of the other, to be a part of the group.
It gets dicey! Once togetherness has been established, we yearn to retain our individuality. We are propelled to follow our own directives, to be on our own, and to create a unique identity. This flies in the face of the “rules of togetherness.”
Differentiation The ability to maintain your sense of self… …when you are emotionally and/or physically close to others… …especially as they become increasingly close to you. --David Schnarch “Passionate Marriage”
Differentiation For the undifferentiated person, the need for togetherness resembles a neediness to be loved and accepted (aka “clingy” or “high maintenance”). There is a continued need for contact, validation, and consensus from the other. This leaves us unable to maintain a clear sense of who we are.
Differentiation The differentiated person does not say “I need my space.” They can stay in the relationship and know who they are. Differentiation is the ability to maintain your sense of self when your partner is away or you are not in a primary love relationship.
Excuse Me… Weren’t we talking about Spiritual Intimacy?
Spiritual Intimacy The act of becoming your authentic self while remaining in a relationship is a movement toward authenticity which is directly connected to God’s plan.
Spiritual Intimacy [Jesus] called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 18:1-3
Physical Intimacy Easy to do: a smile, a handshake, an embrace, a kiss on the cheek. As a couple we hold hands, walk arm in arm, or snuggle. Physical intimacy entails connecting with someone through any of the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste.
The Problem Very BAD! People think intimacy can be experienced by having SEX!
Physical Intimacy When physical intimacy is established too quickly, it begins to stunt the growth of the relationship. We begin judge the quality and value of our relationship on the basis of physical intimacy.