FamilyLife Blog

Gaining the Intimacy You Desire

by | Apr 2, 2020 | Emotional Intimacy, Marriage

“I assumed if she wanted to know more about me she would ask. She didn’t, so I assumed she didn’t care to know any more.” — The Digger 

“I assumed if he had something to share he would. He didn’t, so I assumed he was either disconnected from his emotions or didn’t have anything else to share with me.” – The Disher

While we all value intimacy — knowing and being known — we take different routes to achieve the same goal.

Until recently, I considered these different paths related to our personality differences. For example, introverts tend to develop intimacy through smaller, often one-on-one, connections, while extroverts can enjoy connecting and being known through larger groups.

It has recently been brought to my attention that other variables also influence our development of intimacy, namely our tendency to either “dig” or “dish.”

The Digger probes and asks questions to cultivate intimacy. “What’s your favourite…? What do you think about…? Have you ever considered…?” This type of intimacy building is more focused and directed.

However, if they are not careful, diggers can come across as a detective, caring more about the facts than the other person. Building intimacy should not feel like an inquisition.

The Disher spontaneously shares or “dishes” to foster intimacy. “Let me tell you what happened…. Did I tell you about…. Can you believe…?” This type of intimacy building is more open and free flowing.

Dishers must be careful about the timing and the amount of sharing. It is difficult to drink water from a fire hydrant. Without giving up your spontaneity, still consider what needs to be shared at this particular time. Midnight might not be the best time to share about your office politics.

Intimacy is hindered when we assume others operate the same way we do. In order to gain the intimacy we desire, sometimes we have to do the opposite of our natural preferences.

Diggers might need to learn how to dish and dishers might need to learn how to dig.

If you are a digger, instead of waiting on your spouse to always ask you questions, be willing to spontaneously offer the things on your heart. Your spouse is waiting and longing to hear from you.

If you are a disher, be willing to pause and ask your spouse questions about what is on their heart. Your spouse is waiting and longing to be asked.

Building intimacy takes time and effort. The process goes a lot smoother when we know if we are a digger or a disher and are willing to honour these differences in each other.