There is a belief that intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner, about being able to let your guard down, and let him or her know how you really feel. Intimacy is also about being able to accept and share in your partner's feelings, about being there when he/she wants to let their guard down. I am not convinced. For months and years, we have struggled to achieve THAT kind of intimacy. It nearly destroyed us both. Partners, intimate partners, so benefit from the ability to move into emotional closeness with one another, but our culture has pushed us into the acceptance of this seamless, airless, impossible sort of closeness that demands that we engage in full and open disclosure of every feeling and every reaction regardless of the pain caused to a partner. I will submit that our grandparents knew better as they lived more discreet lives that allowed for the necessity of keeping some bits of the inner life private, even from one's most intimate intimates.
We have learned, in these years, to share what is good with one another; to give with full hearts from our bounty and our joy. We have learned, through bitter experience, to protect one another from our dark moods and doubts and bitter memories. As we have come to be more judicious about what we share of our individual inner worlds with one another, we have gained a sense of peace and calm and gentle loving kindness. Doing that learning has allowed us to enter into a relationship that is characterized by some of the synonyms of "intimacy:"