A Little Thing About Intimacy
Intimacy is a common word used when talking about relationships.
God designed us to desire intimacy with one another, and experiencing the fulfillment of closeness within a relationship can be very life-giving. Because intimacy can be so powerful, not experiencing it can evoke behaviors in us that seek to achieve closeness in ways that are hurtful to our well-being and our ability to relate to others in the future.
Understanding our need for intimacy and how it can impact our patterns in relationships can help us become aware of our vulnerabilities and help us better tend to our own needs.
Craving closeness is something that many of us experience. There are different areas of intimacy and the three most common are 1) physical, 2) emotional, and 3) spiritual. God designed us to experience intimacy in relationships and it's natural to feel poorly when it is lacking in your life.
Drs. Jack and Judy Balswick mention that when we are starved of physical closeness, we are more likely to engage in an act called "intimacy binge" because "touching is a basic human need and an important means of communicating acceptance, love, and care towards others." When these needs are unfulfilled, it is common for people to seek out intimacy through unhealthy avenues such as hooking up or forming inappropriately deep emotional bonds with others.
To find yourself involved in an unhealthy form of intimacy with someone is very difficult, and it can feel like a slippery slope once you start. Remember that many young adults may carry shame associated with physical, emotional, or spiritual intimacy. Sometimes the most powerful change agent and encouragement you can offer is the reminder that grace is available through a relationship with God. We can form a new start moving forward.
Recognizing we are designed for intimacy and that we can become vulnerable to binging on intimacy when our relationships are lacking is a step towards different patterns in your relationships.
It is essential to understand our need for intimacy and acknowledge that it's a desire in us designed by God.
The acknowledgment that much of intimacy is about emotional and spiritual needs also keeps us from focusing on only the physical part of intimacy.
Understanding the need we have for intimacy can help us be more attuned to the vulnerability that can arise when we lack closeness in our relationships and can help us be more aware of the ways we can get our needs met. Focusing on healthy touch and getting emotional and spiritual needs met, can develop deep, intimate relationships that are life-giving and long-lasting.
Learn more about intimacy by referring to the module What about Sex? from the rIQ Curriculum.