I am struggling with this word. In one of our group meetings, we defined intimacy as having four parts: spiritual, emotional, physical – non sexual, and physical – sexual.
The first three must be achieved by an addict (that is me!) and with your spouse before you get to the last one. I don’t like this word right now. God is breaking me to end my lack of intimacy.
My wife put me on the spot this morning. And I froze. So we were finishing up church. She walked out of the sanctuary before me. I had hung back chatting with a guy in Bible study with me. My phone starts buzzing. My wife….asking where am I. Evidently she is in the lobby talking to our son’s Bible study teacher. It seems our son was ducking out early a couple times and had not told us. My wife was upset about it and was talking to this guy who is his teacher. We had met a couple times before, he seems nice enough and focused well on high school kids. Well, she is in the midst of talking to him about our son and his trying to push away from us and be more independent. I walk up and she looks at me and says, “Well tell him why things are stressed at our house, explain why our son is the way he is.” And I locked up………..”uh, uhm, uh well we have just had some issues in our house recently.” Not the right response, evidently. My decision making sucks so what do I know? I did at least recognize she was steaming. So, I gathered myself, took a deep breath, and plunged ahead. “Well, you see, I have been the issue. I have caused a lot of damage to our marriage and my son has been in the midst of it.”
So, I chatted with him for a bit and said why don’t we get coffee and we can talk about it? He agreed and my heart kind of started back after the conversation was over. And I realized that I had just taken a big chance and my anxiety was at a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. I had to go through with this. This was the first time I was sharing my story with a stranger, someone not in recovery. I didn’t know if it was safe. I decided that I would do something I hadn’t really done very much in my life to this point. I would trust God with my truth. I would trust that He had given me this chance to practice intimacy. My friend in recovery defines intimacy as in-to-me-you-see. So here was my chance to try it out.
I would love to describe a smooth, easy transition to full openness and transparency about my story and that I now have complete faith in God in opening myself up to anyone. But that isn’t the truth. I stuttered, stumbled, felt very awkward, was terrified that this guy would look at me like a leper and move as far away as possible. And yet, I survived. I opened up to another person who I didn’t know and wasn’t sure if he was safe or not. Turns out he was safe.
God is teaching me intimacy. It sucks. I don’t think I have a choice. Intimacy or isolation. I think I will learn intimacy. It feels unnatural to me but its what God desires for me. So intimacy it is.