We've discussed 'what is emotional intimacy' in terms of being one, being chosen, being known and being connected. Now we'll move on to why emotional intimacy is important.
Emotional intimacy is important as it permits us To Connect on deeper levels. It seems so obvious to say that. But if it is so obvious why are we sometimes immensely challenged in this area.
We were created for relationship, so without it we are prone to seek that connection elsewhere even if our faith tells us that is wrong. The desires of the heart sometimes override a known schema of the brain. For this reason having an emotionally intimate marriage is one of the best 'guarantees' against any potential future affairs.
A high level of emotional intimacy helps to avoid the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome. The problem is we often compare our insides to their outsides. Outsides can look really good while we mask a lot of turmoil inside. Our tendency is to focus on our turmoil and the outside shine of the other. In reality, that person who looks like he or she will bring you happiness has insecurities and struggles too. As the saying goes, the grass is greener where it’s watered. Seek emotional intimacy with your present mate. When you have it you’re less likely to seek it elsewhere.
And to have it, you’ve got to be intentional about it. It's not always affairs where we seek emotional connection. To combat the emptiness we'll try to fill it with being overinvolved with our kids, our job, our friends, our sport, our team, our anything we deem to falsely give us life. So be aware of those places where you hide and instead choose to move towards your mate.
Emotional intimacy connects us at a heart level. When we connect at a heart level, it is connecting at the core of who we are. Except, as the Blue Like Jazz post mentioned Saturday that some places are only accessible by God.
For Ann and I becoming more emotionally intimate has changed how we are as a couple. I am more apt to share my fears and insecurities with her. Just this week I procrastinated on finishing up our taxes. I could feel the shadow of the 1040 darkening my home. It really zapped some life and strength out of me. Confessing this to Ann (and her offering grace) was a 180 from how I would have handled this in a solitary manner in the past. Ann is much more open with me, sharing her heart and relationship with God. She was one of the speakers at a recent women's event with another church. Listen in as she describes that experience:
"We had free time in the afternoon, so I went for a walk. I was wondering "Why am I here?" Based on what I had seen and heard and experienced, I was feeling woefully inadequate for the task that lie ahead in sharing with the beautiful women I had just met. I took my session notes ~ just in case I felt the urgency to work on them as I spent time in the woods. As I walked through the woods I passed a dry creekbed. I thought, maybe I'll come back to that and sit there and work on my notes for the evening. I've been drawn to creeks since I was a young girl walking through them in the Ozarks near our family cabin. As I circled back on the path, I was compelled to lay down on the smooth flat rock. As I lay there feeling the coolness of the rock beneath me and the warmth of the sun above me, I began to understand why I was laying in the dry creek bed. God was showing me how dry I was. As dry as the rocks I was laying on. But he wanted me to be more than the trickle of water that ran beside me, he wanted me to be full and sloshing over onto the women that evening. He reminded me how he had smoothed my soul with the overflow of His grace much like He had smoothed the stones I lay on with the washing of His water. Then a hot flash hit and I took that as His signal to get up, go back to my room and write!"
For Ann, what used to be a tendency to keep all of that beauty to herself, is now a beautiful way that she shows me her heart. She is unashamed of the inadequacy that still lurks in her heart and sharing how God entered into it with her gives both of us a deeper bond than was possible before.