Emotional vs. Physical Intimacy in Marriage: Which is One More Important?
Many people do not realize is that there are two distinct forms of intimacy in marriage: emotional and physical intimacy. And those who realize it wonder whether one form of intimacy is more important than the other.
Spouses crave an emotional bond with each other. They want to be loved and accepted for themselves and to share a sense closeness, trust and comfort with each other.
Emotional intimacy can exist without physical affection. In fact, communication in marriage is much more important when it comes to cultivating that sense of “deep sharing” and trust than physical affection.
Physical intimacy is not all about sexual intimacy. It also includes simple things such as a kiss on the cheek, a hug and hand holding.
Physical intimacy requires a certain degree of trust and vulnerability. It is impossible to be physically intimate without bringing down our walls and letting our spouses into our personal spaces.
Which is One More Important?
First things first, physical intimacy cannot be used to fill the void of emotional intimacy or vice versa. Also, it is not so much that one is more important than the other but that different people require different levels of physical and emotional intimacy in marriage. It is therefore up to the couple to find an optimal mix that is satisfying for both spouses.
For most people, emotional intimacy is a pre-requisite for physical intimacy. It is hard to be physically intimate with your spouse when you do not feel a sense of security and acceptance with them.
There’s also a direct link between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. When people feel unaccepted and unloved, they refrain from being physically affectionate. This creates distance in the happy marriage and makes the marriage vulnerable to resentment and infidelity.
However, the bottom line is that couples should strive to find an optimal mix of emotional and physical intimacy in marriage. The question of “which one is more important” comes down to the spouses’ individual needs.