Intimacy Part 2: What’s the Depth of Intimacy in Your Relationship?

Depths Of Intimacy

In the first blog in this four-part series, I talked about the three keys to deepening relationship intimacy. In this blog I cover how to assess the level of intimacy in YOUR relationship.

There are many areas in a relationship for developing intimacy. In my work I have found five in particular tend to form the pillars of a strong, long-term, fulfilling relationship.

  • Emotional intimacy

  •  Sexual intimacy

  • Physical intimacy (i.e., touch and affection)

  • Spiritual intimacy

  • Financial intimacy

I like using the iceberg analogy to describe three depths of intimacy: surface, shallow, and deep.

  • Surface. For many couples, intimacy stops at the tip of the iceberg. Their interaction is at the surface level, and they fail to connect with the depth of their partner because they don’t ask and learn about meaningful thoughts and feelings that lie beneath the surface.

  • Shallow. Other couples get under the surface and into the shallow depths of intimacy, but often shy away from the deeper discussions to avoid conflict, or uncomfortable conversations, or strong emotions (their own or their partner’s).

  • Deep. However, couples who regularly demonstrate vulnerability, support for their partner, and a willingness to openly communicate, are typically able to move into deep and more fulfilling depths of intimacy.

The tables that follow demonstrates for each of the five intimacy areas what intimacy might look like at the surface, shallow, and deep intimacy levels. The depth of intimacy a couple has can vary across the five areas of intimacy. For example, a couple’s level of intimacy may be deep in some areas but surface in others. Note as well that it is not unusual for couples to find that they haven’t yet achieved even the surface depth of intimacy in one or more areas.


Emotional Intimacy

Level 1: Surface

Level 2: Shallow

Level 3: Deep

We primarily talk about our day and the practical things we need to talk about to get through life.

We mostly talk about our day and the practical things we need to talk about to get through life. At times we do go deeper to understand why, how we felt, our hopes, and our fears. Note: Stressful events can trigger going beyond the surface level.

Our conversations frequently go beyond the things of the day. We often delve into why we did them and how we felt about them. We easily discuss our hopes and dreams, as well as our fears and concerns.


Sexual Intimacy

Level 1: Surface

Level 2: Shallow

Level 3: Deep

We have talked about sex but have not become sexually intimate.

We have an established sexual routine. We seldom talk about whether it is satisfying, how to make it better, or our sexual fantasies.

We talk about and understand each other’s sexual experiences, needs, and fantasies, and we regularly seek to fulfill one another’s sexual desires.


Physical Intimacy (i.e., touch and affection)

Level 1: Surface

Level 2: Shallow

Level 3: Deep

We have infrequent physical contact and rarely verbally express words of love and affection to one another.

We have routine physical contact and routinely speak words of affection but at predictable times and with predictable frequency.

We understand each other’s need for touch and affection and are intentional about providing the level needed for our partner’s fulfillment.


Spiritual Intimacy

Level 1: Surface

Level 2: Shallow

Level 3: Deep

We are aware of each other’s spiritual and religious beliefs, but seldom have conversations or shared experiences.

We have occasional discussions about spiritual topics and sometimes share in a spiritual or religious experience.

We frequently spend time together talking about spiritual topics and regularly participate together in spiritual or religious experiences.


Financial Intimacy

Level 1: Surface

Level 2: Shallow

Level 3: Deep

We know each other’s regular sources of income but don’t know amounts or overall financial status.

We know each other’s financial status, as well as regular sources of income and amounts.

We know each other’s financial status, as well as regular sources and amounts,  and have access to each other’s accounts.


What happens when you don’t have an adequate depth of intimacy in your relationship? You may hear things like this from your partner.

  • I don’t understand you …

  • You never listen to me …

  • You just don’t get me …

  • Sometimes I don’t think I really know you at all …

  • Why can’t you just be happy with …

  • I feel completely alone …

  • I can’t go on like this …

When I hear the panic, sadness, and hopelessness in phrases like these in my couple therapy sessions, it’s a very strong indication that the couple is having an intimacy breakdown.

Consider taking some time with your partner to evaluate together the depth of intimacy in your relationship across the five areas. In the third part of the series, I provide five strategies to increase intimacy in your relationship.

Take the Next Step…

These intimacy concepts and strategies are extracted from the over sixty strategies included in The Porsha Principles. Through my workshops, videos, and book, let me show you and your partner simple steps that you can start using today to lay the foundation for YOUR lifelong honeymoon.

Can your relationship benefit from the Porsha Principles? Find out. Take the free assessment.

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Porsha Jones is the founder of the Porsha Principles organization and author of The Porsha Principles: A Practical Guide for Creating and Sustaining Your Lifelong Honeymoon. Though no longer in private practice, Porsha is a licensed family and marriage therapist with over 10,000 hours helping her clients address some of the toughest relationship challenges including infidelity and couples in crisis. Through her books, videos, workshops, and retreats, she has made her insights and strategies available to anyone who truly desires to do the work involved in creating highly satisfying and enjoyable relationships.

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