Searching for deeper connections with others? Surrounded by others but still feeling alone? Christian Counseling can help build closer relationships. We were not made to live alone regardless of the independent nature of our American culture. The fast pace and media saturated lives may leave less time for nurturing close personal relationships. While our social networks grow through various social media, our true intimate relationships suffer, including intimacy in marriage. Why this loneliness when there is so much going on around us? Within each of us there is a void that can only be filled with an intimate relationship with God. Also, as image bearers of God, we seek intimacy within community. God said that it is not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So from Adam he made Eve (Gen. 2:23) and joined them together showing a deep intimacy of the two becoming one (Gen. 2:24). They were naked and unashamed, not just in a physical sense but in a completely emotional, vulnerable, open and trusting relationship. They were truly known by one another and by the Lord. Before sin entered the world the relationship between Adam, Eve and God was perfectly intimate.
Since The Fall, we must now discover a relational God and develop the skills to be in relationship with others. Sin brought shame and the reaction to hide ourselves over being open, resulting in us not allowing others to fully know us. With the inborn desire for intimacy and the ability to increase in knowledge it is possible for us to improve in relational skills. The perfect, intimate relationship of our Triune God is impossible for us to develop but with His grace, He will teach us to be more like His Son, leading us to deeper intimacy with Him and others.
The Lord knows his people and how they work. This drive for intimacy brings benefits when it is being fulfilled. Research shows the importance of intimacy. Intimacy provides a buffer to psychological and physiological effects of stress. Lack of intimacy or emotional support from wives makes a heart attack more likely in men. Both men and women report less depression and anxiety when they also claim to have high intimacy within their relationships. Intimacy difficulties are also associated with maladjustment, personality disorders, admission to mental hospitals, and suicide. Marriages that are suffering from a lack of emotional intimacy will also negatively impact the couple’s spiritual and physical intimacy. So, it is evident that intimacy is a need psychologically, physiologically and spiritually. We were created for intimacy.
What types of experiences keep people from allowing themselves to be known or intimate with others?
1) Abuse – those that have experienced abuse of any type will naturally become guarded
2) Unforgiveness – unable to forgive and harboring the pain and resentment toward those that have hurt you keep people from opening up to others.
3) Judgmental- When expressing one’s self has been met with criticism, sarcasm and judgment.
4) Fear of rejection – fear of not being liked or cared for will also keep others from experiencing the real you.
Healing past hurts and traumas, learning to take steps beyond these experiences and allowing yourself to be open toward others in a safe relationship are all possible and will allow you to experience deep personal connections and acceptance in others. Christian Counseling can assist individuals in the identification of intimacy breakdown and walk with the client in opening up a path to experience real intimacy with others.