The following is an excerpt from The Art of Falling in Love that describes intimacy.

Intimacy is closeness, warmth, and the feeling of being bonded together. When men hear the word, they tend to think of it as something they do. Women, on the other hand, think of it as something they feel. It is truly knowing one another, or, taking the very sound of the word: into-me-see. Therefore, intimacy is being transparent, building trust, and allowing the other to look deeply into your soul. It means giving respect, developing deep friendship, and connecting on that level that words never reach. Without intimacy, true love cannot exist. Yet intimacy is one of the most difficult things to master in a relationship because to achieve it you must allow your souls to go naked before each other, assuring that your love is for the person and not a picture the person has painted. When one feels intimacy with another, she feels that the other is a friend in the deepest and most meaningful sense of the word. He is one who knows her as she truly is, not as she represents herself in different environments and situations. He sees her weaknesses, flaws, or failures, yet continues to believe the best about her. He understands her deepest desires, her dreams, and her fanciful wishes that she would be embarrassed for anyone else to know.

He sees into her soul.

He knows what she is afraid of, what she will fight and perhaps for which die. He is aware of her consistencies and her inconsistencies, but never bothers to catalog either. He cares about what she wanted to be when she grew up, and understands her feelings about what she became instead.

Her secrets are safe with him. Her love. Her total being. She never thinks of the possibility of his betrayal. She knows that he loves deeply and completely, that he will never leave her, that he would search the earth over for her if she went missing.

If she were in danger, he would protect her. It would not matter whether she was right or wrong, he would never abandon her. He would sacrifice himself for her in battle, even if the battle was one she was wrong to have started.

Soul mate?

Maybe, but the phrase seems much too trite. A truly intimate relationship is one that exists in the deepest regions of our being, essential to our innermost sense of worth, and to our need for security in an insecure world.

It is not just a friendship when it reaches the depths to which it is capable. It is oneness. It is the purest form of love.

Not only do most of us crave this kind of love and this kind of relationship; all of us must have it to feel complete. Our need for it is the strongest need within us after our need for physical survival, and sometimes transcends that need.