Marriage and Family: The threeSeptember 06, 2013
Get a 100 men and women in a room and ask them to define INTIMACY and you would get a bunch of different answers. Some of this is simply because men and women are different (can I get a good AMEN?) For instance, Jena is an outward processor & I'm an inward processor. She is creative and energetic & I'm logical and strategic. As she says, sometimes I think God gave me Dale to be my "heavenly sandpaper" rubbing on my last nerve while growing me & smoothing off some of my own rough spots all at the same time. No wonder intimacy in marriage, any relationship for that matter, is hard to truly find much less maintain. After all, we are doing life with people much different than we are, with their own brokenness, their own back-story of life, their own sin and struggles. And don't forget we have an enemy roaring around trying to destroy intimate, life long marriages and relationships.
I would be willing to bet that right now atleast 1/2 of the people reading this blog feel disconnected, over-loaded, maybe even emotionless and stuck...your relationships and marriage have become more about ritual and routine, you go through the motions, tackle the day, finish your "to do" list - fall into bed and do it all over again tomorrow, all the while not really experiencing intimacy in your relationships. Well if this is you, then this blog is for YOU! Here are three "I's" that could be destroying your intimacy with your friends, your family, your spouse and Christ. So guard against these and when you get done reading the blog, take some steps toward restoring some intimacy in your relationships and with Jesus, you'll be glad you did.
To begin with...here is what I belive is a good definition for real relational INTIMACY: "into me I will let you see"! Real relational intimacy is all about closeness, warmth, connection, understanding, empathy, partnership, transparency and vulnerability. It is about being known and knowing others. And to have real relational intimacy takes EFFORT. You have to take steps and make some real efforts to build it. You must also guard against these three "I's" along your way to building greater intimacy in your relationships:
1. Guard against ISOLATION - scripture says "whoever isolates himself seek his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment" (Prov 18:1 ESV). Isolation will destroy your intimacy. It's impossible to be connected and close when you are isolated. Busyness, stress, being overloaded can drive a person to isolation. Many people just emotionally check out and stay checked out for days, weeks, even years. And it all started with them choosing isolation, so work on building your relationships by consistently engaging and connecting to the people in your life.
2. Guard against INDIFFERENCE - scripture says "If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you; but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you." (2 Chron 15:2 AMP). Here's the slippery slope of becoming relationally indifferent - it will cause you to forsake your relationships! This is what the Scripture says about forsaking Christ. When we no longer seek (which is isolation) we can become indifferent - indifferent to Christ and indifferent to our relationships. The next step will be to forsake them and at that moment we loose intimacy in them. The truth is that your reap what you sow. Being indifferent means you stop sowing good seed (i.e. through seeking and developing) into your relationship with Christ and others. When you do you will stop reaping intimacy in them.
3. Guard against INSENSITIVITY - why would someone become INSENSITIVE? Well, I'm sure there are many reasons but the main one (to me) is they have been deeply wounded. Their wounds have caused them to become guarded, jaded and insensitive.Somewhere along the way they have lost some hope. Hope in the goodness of others, hope in the goodness of God, hope in their relationships. Scripture says "hope deferred make the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12) and heart sickness can lead to insensitivity and insensitivity can lead to a loss of intimacy. Because the wound is deep insensitive words, unhealthy neediness, selfishness, living guarded and untrusting become a way of relating. Unfortunately, all of these choices will destroy intimacy because warmth, closeness, vulnerabilty and transparency are now masked over by insensitivity.
So why not take a little test today? Are you living isolated? Have you become indifferent to the relationships in your life? Have you become insensitive to the needs of other, their feelings, even your need to be in relationship? If you answered yes, then you are probably experiencing a loss of intimacy.
Here is one simple/ helpful hints to start building or rebuilding intimacy in your relationships
Intentionally connect with others.
Start sowing good seeds into your relationships by setting a date with your spouse, your family, your friends and go to dinner. Have some people over, throw a dinner party,share a cup of coffee, send an email to touch base or reconnect...the point is don't stay isolated..don't stay indifferent...don't remain insensitive! And when you do these things...choose to let other people into your life...remember..."into me I will let you see!"
By the way, this also works with your relationship with Christ....intentionally connect with him, spend some one on one time, have a cup of coffee with Him as you read his word, pray and share some intimate moments with HIM. In fact, the more intimate you become with Christ the more HE will equip and empower you to become intimate with others. So be willing to say to Jesus..."into me I will let you see!"
We've got some great new resources at our websites, so please check them out. If this blog has positively impacted you today, please leave us your comments and share it with others by using the share buttons across the top. If you would like to read Jena’s Blogs on Living Deeper with Christ and helping others do the same, don't forget to visit her website: www.livingdeeperministries.com . Lastly, don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter@daleForehand and @jenaforehand
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