The definition of self-esteem is confidence in one’s own worth or ability.
The definition of intimacy is not – contrary to popular opinion – sexual intercourse. Sometimes intimacy gets expressed physically through sex, but that doesn’t make sex synonymous with intimacy. Intimacy is a closeness and connectedness created between two people where they can each fully be themselves.
There is this age-old issue between couples: the man wants sex more frequently in order to feel close to his wife, but the woman doesn’t want to have sex without feeling close and connected. So neither is getting their needs met and they’re sort of at a stalemate.
It’s typically not that the husband doesn’t want to give his wife what she’s asking for; he just doesn’t know how.
Don’t worry, there wasn’t a class you missed.
No one’s ever taught you about creating intimacy.
It’s just something we’re supposed to magically pick-up on through osmosis or something.
In order for us to feel comfortable enough to open ourselves to becoming mentally, emotionally and physically close to another human being, we have to be comfortable with who we are and what our partners are going to see when we let them into this part of ourselves.
If we do not have a healthy self-esteem, feeling good about who we are, it’s virtually impossible to be open, vulnerable, and authentic in our relationships. Better said, without self-esteem, you will not be able to create intimacy in your marriage.
We at least got a bit more training (or modeled behavior) to help us with our self-esteem. It’s just got to be authentic; fake confidence is always painfully obvious.
Fake confidence looks like trying to be someone other than who you are so that others (including your partner) will like or approve of you. Self-esteem (or genuine confidence) is when you approve of yourself and how others feel about you is completely irrelevant.
Fake confidence looks like pretending that you have no fears and that you always have the answers (which has accurately described no human being ever).
Fake confidence or low self-esteem will also be the very things that will keep those we love the most at arm’s distance – the exact opposite of creating an intimate relationship.
If you want a more closely connected and healthy marriage, first work on becoming more self-aware and self-accepting to solidify your self-esteem and confidence. Then, look for opportunities to express who you really are and how you truly feel within that relationship in an authentic way.
In that space where healthy self-esteem, openness, authenticity are present, intimacy can be created.