I used to think intimacy was a code word for sex. The more I have experienced intimacy in our marriage, though, the more I realize how wrong I was.
Intimacy is being fully known and completely loved.
I want you to really think about that for a moment.
How many of us believe—deep inside—that if our spouses really and truly knew us, we wouldn’t be loved at all?
This belief interfered with my marriage for a long time. I avoided anything that required me to be authentic and vulnerable, all because I thought Big Guy would reject me if he really knew me.
Scott’s book is available today. I received a free advance copy but no other compensation for writing about it today.
To encourage you to read it, I’d like to share with you three sentences from his book that both resonate with me and challenge me.
“Genuine intimacy excludes nothing.”
In order for my husband to love me, I made sure he never saw certain aspects of who I was. I hid myself away from him. It isn’t like I presented a perfect version of what I thought he wanted. However, I tried to prevent exposing any area where I felt especially vulnerable. I never told him how much I feared that I was unlovable. I didn’t share with him the things I believed were true about sex because I didn’t want him to be mad or think I was broken. When I struggled with something, I didn’t ask for help because my need showed him too much of who I really was.
I presented a version of myself that was not authentic, all because I wanted to feel loved.
It didn’t happen. Because I presented an inauthentic version of who I was, every time I would start to feel secure in his love, I would be reminded that he loved the version of me that I presented to him. Because he didn’t fully know me, I couldn’t believe that his love was real.
My inauthenticity gave me nothing more than the illusion of love—and the illusion of intimacy.
In order to be fully loved, I must make myself fully known. I must exclude nothing.
Is it a challenge? Yes, even now, I often struggle. I don’t always like myself, and I don’t always make good decisions. I don’t like sharing these things with Big Guy.
But I know that in order to trust that I am completely loved, I must be fully known.
“Grace is an invitation to intimacy.”
We all mess up. We sin. We make mistakes. We hurt each other’s feelings without even realizing it.
When I’m the one who messes up, I feel bad enough. Condemnation and judgment from my husband would make me feel like I’m pretty worthless. If I expected that kind of response from him, it would be really hard to be willing to open up in authenticity to him.
What I need is grace.
That’s what my husband needs, too.
I have a tendency to want to chew my husband out when he messes up. It’s a tendency that’s been rearing its head again lately, in fact. I know it’s wrong, and I know it hurts him—and our marriage.
Some of the most tender, most intimate non-sexual moments between my husband and me have been the times when one of our sins or mistakes has been revealed—and the other responds by pouring out grace.
When we have responded to each other’s confessions or revelations of sin with grace rather than with criticism, we have been able to experience how very loved we are, even in the face of what might make us feel so unlovable.
Judgment and criticism repel intimacy.
Grace truly invites it.
“Real love is action.”
I grew up thinking that love was an emotion. Love was supposed to mean that my heart felt a certain way—and if it wasn’t feeling that way, then something was wrong.
It turns out that actions really do speak louder than words. The Bible even tells us so. Paul says about love, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:7).
Learning to view love as an action was transformative for me. I’ve learned that when I DO love, the FEELING of love grows.
I’m challenged to think of the ways I love Big Guy. What choices do I make that speak love to him? How do I serve him? How do I reveal myself in a way that invites intimacy? How do I extend grace?
What do I do to love my husband every day? Do I protect him? Trust him? Hope for him? Persevere with him?
Real love acts.
The Path of Intimacy—and a Giveaway!
I want to encourage you to read The Path of Intimacy. Scott lays out a biblical foundation for the importance of intimacy in our marriages. He also walks us through strategies to help us actively pursue deep intimacy. He shows us attitudes that contribute to intimacy, and he shows us small things we can do every day.
If you want to pursue intimacy in your marriage, The Path of Intimacy can help.
Products from Amazon.com
I want you to read this book so much that I’m going to give away a copy for Kindle!
Congratulations to Tracey for winning the Kindle copy of the book!