The Truth About Intimacy

Couple holding hands a watching a beautiful sunset in Hawaii.
Do not worry. This is not another “sure-fire” piece of advice for relationships. No, I am much too unqualified for that. Instead, I just want to share one general truth that I’ve observed over the years – one that too many of us tend (or try) to forget.

Here it is:

Intimacy = Vulnerability 

Intimacy

Deep down, I think that all of us desire to know and be known by somebody. It’s an innate longing that all people have. We want to go deeper than a surface level relationship and to experience a love that is stronger than simple words or phrases can express. I don’t think that anyone can deny the truth in this. However, we too often forget the process through which this is achieved.

What I think that I’ve come to understand, is that there are two sides to this spectrum, both of which are wrong. On one side, there are people who are so afraid to be vulnerable that they constantly back away from intimate relationships – even potentially good ones. On the other side are people who make themselves vulnerable too often – only to receive deep hurt.

 

Vulnerability

See, to be truly known (and therefore truly loved), there has to be openness. There has to be exposure. There has to be vulnerability. If someone doesn’t know all that you are, then they can’t love all that you are. If they only know part of you, then they can’t love you. Now, as I stated earlier, this is scary to some of us – and it should be. Being vulnerable means that you are opening yourself up to potential harm. The more vulnerable you are, the greater the hurt is that can come with it. This is true mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

But now what do we do with this?
We can only be truly loved if we’re vulnerable, but if we’re vulnerable we could get hurt.

 

I suppose the answer is that it all depends on who you choose to become intimate with.

Intimacy and vulnerability are not bad things. They are very good things. But, who can you trust with your vulnerability? That is a huge question, and a huge risk to take. I personally believe though, that the risk can be minimized. As we get to know and trust people, we can become increasingly more vulnerable and more intimate with them mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. However, I wouldn’t want to be fully intimate with anyone – fully vulnerable with anyone – except the person who has pledged to love me and be with me for the rest of my life. Why would you trust anyone who isn’t willing to make that commitment? Why would you open yourself up to be fully vulnerable if you’re not bound together by the sacred and unbreakable covenant of marriage?

I’ve seen the hurt that is caused with people who are unwilling to accept this – with people who become fully intimate before marriage.
Especially physically. One night stands and fleeting sexual pleasure are all too common.
But make no mistake – the vulnerability still exists…and the hurt always follows.
The same is true, perhaps less obviously, with mental, emotional, and spiritual vulnerability as well.

 

The Big Picture

Once again, let me emphasize that I’m not a love guru or relationship expert. Far from it. However, I don’t think that I need to be. See, earthly relationships are only a mirror of a much larger and much more important relationship. I can’t help but be reminded how the all-powerful God – the creator of the heavens and the earth – desired intimacy with His people…so he became vulnerable for them. For us. He came down from glory and lived on this earth. He grew tired and hungry and wept with us. He was stripped naked, beaten, and died on a cross for us. He was vulnerable because He loved us – because He wanted to fully know us and wanted us to fully know Him. So we too have to be vulnerable with Him if we want to be intimate with Him. We have to break down the walls that we put up and expose ourselves, give ourselves over, to the God who created us. There is no relationship more important than this – because there is no love that is greater than this.

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:7-8a

Intimacy = Vulnerability
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Russ Allen

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