"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Into-Me-See


To know and be known, completely.  To lay open, naked and unashamed before another.  That's is intimacy.  It is a gift from our heavenly Father to all married people.  It makes me tick.  It's my heart's desire (one of them, anyway).  

Intimacy = “Into-Me-See”

Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and realized they were naked,people have found ways to hide their true selves from each other and from God.Yet before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Huh???  Yes, they were totally free with one another.  No secrets, nothing hidden,nothing too embarrassing to say or do. There was no sin in being unclothed with each other, physically and otherwise.  They were fully themselves with each other and with God, and they were surrounded by the safety of knowing that they were accepted and welcomed (even desired) as-is, from top to bottom. 
Today’s society is amazed that two people like Adam and Eve could be so completely comfortable with each other, to lay open to one another, not only sexually, but entirely, body and soul.

That’s because human beings have become very good at hiding.  In his book, "Abba's Child,"Brennan Manning refers to this as the "imposter self."  The imposter is responsible for holding back our true feelings, thoughts, and desires from other people.  It keeps us from being vulnerable and open to another person, and they to us, so that we never really know each other.  The imposter prevents us from experiencing true “one-ness” in our marriages.

The problem is that most of us do not feel safe to express ourselves in away that cultivates intimacy.  We use the imposter to hide our feelings instead of expressing what is truly on our hearts.  Joe Beam says, “… most of us don’t have a person, much less a group of people, with whom we can be so open.We learned early in life that people tend to accept us when we meet their criteria for acceptance, and we learned to paint pictures of how they want us to be rather than showing who we really are.” In general, we spend our lives pacifying the people in our lives.  In other words, we don’t want to “rock the boat,” so we become agreeable on the outside, which results in frustration on the inside.


 
Because God created us in His image, we can experience intimacy in our relationship with Him and with others. This means that we can be naked and unashamed with our bodies, our minds, our wills, and our emotions. Sadly many married couples do not work toward developing real intimacy and they grow apart.  They are willing to settle for a “good enough” marriage.  How sad.

How, then, is intimacy cultivated? 

1.     Pray – Prayer is the most important thing a couple can do.  Pray individually to increase intimacy with God, and pray as a couple for God’s guidance and leading.  He wants us to enjoy all that married life has to offer.  We need to be open to His plan for intimacy. We must ask Him to break down the walls that prevent us from developing the kind of intimacy He wants us to have.
2.     Communicate – When we talk to each other about our hopes and dreams, our needs and wants, our victories and disappointments, AND when we listen – really listen  to one another, we will lay the foundation of trust that is needed to feel safe in an intimate relationship.  People will not share feelings when they do not feel safe. Listening without criticism or attack will make certain a safe place for sharing deeper and deeper aspects of our true selves. 

3.     Study – Reading and studying are imperative to the learning process.  If we need help breaking down walls and barriers, we need to use all the resources available to that end.  First and foremost we have to go to God’s word for guidance.  He provided us the perfect resource for everything in the Bible.  He also provided many resources in the form of online sources and books on every subject, including intimacy. It would be a shame to ignore these resources.  Also, we must study our spouses to know what makes them“tick.”  When we begin to know the true person of our spouse and reveal ourselves to them as well, then we can start building intimacy by nurturing one another and providing that safe place.

4.     Practice – All the knowledge in the world is worth nothing ifit isn’t put into practice.  When we know what the our spouse’s hopes and dreams, we then must make it a priority to make sure those things are met by us as much as possible.  We must not only learn about their needs and desires, but we must be the primary source for those desires to be met, at least here on earth.  If we truly long for the kind of intimacy God intends for His children, then we must learn and do what is necessary to foster intimacy in our relationships.

For Further Reading:

The Joy of True Intimacy

Into Me See

Cultivating Intimacy in Marriage

Developing Emotional Intimacy

Cultivating Real Intimacy Between a Man and a Woman


... Later!

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