Intimacy is close relationship. In the traditional family model, family intimacy springs from the sexual intimacy of a man and woman who parent, nurture, and provide learning and examples for children. Other less traditional families vary the model described, but what is unchanging is that the intimacy needs of members are first met in the family unit.
Families whose relationships are characterized by violence replace the normal, pleasurable ěntěmate activities with violence. Distance replaces the areas where normal families experience intimacy. Often, intimacy needs are satisified by violent interaction. When families are locked into violence, there is a bitter closeness that, eventually, is preferable to no intimacy at all.
In replacing a violent style of family relationship for a nonviolent style, a new vocabulary of intimacy must be learned. Eating meals together without the interference of television, learning the art of family story telling, laughing together, resisting the isolative tyranny of computer and video games: these and other simple pleasures are now available. Also important is the role of trust – if family members open their hearts to each other in new ways, people who had hurt each other will now treat each other with respect and reverence.