Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 18: The Twelve Steps to Intimacy

As we continue this series on parenting, it is important to remember that the relationship between two parents is crucial  for family life and must be protected. This list of  “Twelve Steps to Intimacy” is one that was originally developed by a behavioral scientist decades ago, but Dr. James Dobson used and explained well to demonstrate the importance of the bond within the marriage relationship. 

1.       Eye to Body

A glance reveals much about a person – – sex, size, shape, age, personality and status.  The importance people place on these criteria determines whether or not they will be attracted to each other.


2.       Eye to Eye

When the man and woman exchange glances, their most natural reaction is to look away, usually with embarrassment.  If their eyes meet again, they may smile, which signals that they might like to become better acquainted.


3.       Voice to Voice

Their initial conversations are trivial, and include questions like “What is your name?” or “What do you do for a living?”  During this long stage the two people learn much about each other’s opinions, pastimes, activities, habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes.  If they’re compatible, they become friends.


4.       Hand to Hand

The first instance of physical contact between the couple is usually on non-romantic occasions such as when the man helps the woman descend a high step or aids her across an obstacle.  At this point either of the individuals can withdraw from the relationship without rejecting the other.  However, if continued, hand to hand contact will eventually become an evidence of the couple’s romantic attachment to each other.


5.       Hand to Shoulder

This affectionate embrace is still noncommittal.  It is a “buddy” type position in which the man and woman are side-by-side.  They are more concerned with the world in front of them than they are with each other.  The hand to shoulder contact reveals a relationship that is more than a close friendship, but probably not real love.


6.       Hand to Waist

Because this is something two normal people of the same sex would not do, it is clearly romantic.  They are close enough to be sharing secrets or intimate language with each other.  Yet, as they walk side-by-side with hand to waist they are still facing forward.


7.       Face to Face

This level of contact involves gazing into one another’s eyes, hugging and kissing.  If none of the previous steps were skipped, the man and woman will have developed a special code from experience that enables them to engage in deep communication with very few words.  At this point sexual desire becomes an important factor in the relationship.


8.       Hand to Head

This is an extension of the previous stage.  The man and woman tend to cradle or stroke each other’s head while kissing or talking.


9. – 12. The Final Steps

The last four levels of involvement are distinctly sexual and private.  They are:

9) Hand to Body

10) Mouth to Breast

11) Touching Below the Waist

12) Intercourse

Obviously, the last three steps of physical contact should be reserved for the marital relationship, particularly since they are immensely and progressively emotional and sensual.

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