“In to me see” is a term our pastor coined for intimacy.
If done right we are inviting our spouse to see into our lives in a way no one else does. It is for their eyes, ears and heart only. Some spouses see this as a privilege. Others can make it a bone of contention. The difference between the two is realizing we are on the same team going in the same direction for God’s glory. If we tend to see our lives as separate, yet together, we are missing intimacy in the way God desires.
Vulnerability is essential to deepening our intimacy as the years pass.
In order for our marriage to grow there are four areas of intimacy that must be cultivated on a regular basis.
Four key areas of intimacy in marriage
(includes but is not limited to)
- Spiritual – Bible study, prayer, church involvement, ministry to others, confession of sin, sharing convictions as God reveals them
- Emotional – Feelings, affections, love languages, romance, date nights
- Intellectual – Current events, reading books-both non-fiction and fiction, newspapers, magazine articles, documentaries
- Physical – Sex, working out, hobbies which require physical endurance, such as hiking and running
What is your plan for growing in these four vital areas of intimacy? If you don’t have a plan, then you are planning to neglect your marriage.
Tom and I have gone canoeing many times together. This is how I prefer to canoe because Tom is purposeful in steering the canoe. Me? Not so much. I canoed once with our daughters. Tom was in the canoe with our son. He managed to get his canoe where he wanted it to go. Mine drifted into the banks where spiders and gators lurk. It is not a fun memory–although Tom got quite a good laugh out of it.
Truth be told…I have a tendency to neglect the consistent effort needed to stay on course. I see Tom as God’s gift in my life to help me do what I couldn’t or wouldn’t do left to myself. I am a better me with him by my side. I pray he feels the same way about me when it comes to other areas of intimacy.
Showing our weaknesses in marriage is something we tend to avoid. If we open up these insecure areas we may discover God has given us the help we need in our spouse!
…does my spouse know the areas where I am weak, or the areas I am willing to neglect because I don’t want to do it?
…do I hide for fear of being judged or rejected?
These are all important questions to ask. No one can help us grow and change when it comes to these heart issues. We have to be honest with ourselves and take the mask of self-sufficiency and pride off. You may not be familiar with these masks. It’s a way we are often tempted to show only the good parts of me. The ugly, shameful side is often hidden hoping that no one will know what lurks in the darkest parts of our heart.
I recently cleaned out my closet. It has been a chore I’ve avoided because I knew I would have to make decisions about keeping, tossing or donating. I dreaded doing it given the amount of stuff crammed in my closet. I knew it would get worse before it got better, but you know what? It only took me an hour at the most! The hardest part was starting.
It’s the same with cleaning out our thoughts. Knowing our spouse is for us and wants to help us is good, but we have to believe it to actually start. It may create a mess at first, but the mess is worth it on the way to intimacy.
It is important to note: These messes are the doorway to true and lasting freedom found only on the threshold of honesty and transparency. Run, don’t walk through that door! It’s worth the effort!
Love this post – so many vital truths, so well-expressed!
Vulnerability is not for me, though, not now; dealing with two rather lethal forms of cancer, I HAVE to be the hard Man, to whom the whole thing is a bit of a joke, and hey, “It could be worse; I could be slow, soft and ugly.”
This paradigm lets me keep going, though survival comes with a cost, because my wife really hates this attitude. It pushes her away; she feels that her sympathy becomes undervalues, and she’s tempted not to care because I seem not to care about myself.
It’s not true, because I am walking a tightrope over an abyss of pain and despair, and flippant humour is my balance-bar. But I can’t explain that; I’ve tried.
So I’ve learned to wear a mask around her, one that admits vulnerability that I don’t feel, and despair that I won’t allow. It works, kind of.
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Andrew, We appreciate your comments because it adds a different level of what it looks like to be intimate through the dark valley of death and despair. Of course it’s different for everyone, but you give us a glimpse of your life that we greatly value and appreciate. Thank you.
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