Emotional Intimacy

Our souls crave intimacy. Erwin McManus
The longing for someone to know my innermost thoughts or feelings and still love and accept me resides deep in the heart of every person.

Real emotional intimacy is when I can share my deepest thoughts and feelings with another person AND that person can do that with me.

We do not share our deepest thoughts and feelings with everyone. We are willing to share some thoughts with acquaintances or strangers. We will share more thoughts and feelings with friends.

But we only share very personal thoughts and feelings with close friends, family, or a spouse.

To share on that very personal level, the relationship must have a high level of trust.

When I trust that person, I believe that what I have said won’t be shared with other people and it won’t be used against me. It means that my thoughts and feelings will be valued. I have the assurance that the person will still love and accept me, even if we disagree.

To come to that point of intimacy, I must be willing to look at myself honestly and come to an acceptance of who I am.

Divine intimacy ……
The deepest desire of our hearts is for union with God. From the first moment of our existence our most powerful yearning is to fulfill the original purpose of our lives – ‘to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly.’ We are made for God, and nothing less will satisfy. Brennan Manning

THERE IS ONLY ONE who knows all of my deepest thoughts and feelings, even those that never leave my mouth, that reside in my heart. That One is God himself. He knows all of what’s inside me but still loves me perfectly, unconditionally, and accepts me just as I am.

The Christian life is not about all the things we do for God- it's about being loved by Him, loving Him in return, and walking in intimate union and communion with Him. Nancy Leigh DeMoss

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.   
Philippians 3:8

Developing emotional intimacy ….
One of the first steps in developing intimacy in a relationship is acceptance - both for the other person and for myself.

Acceptance does not mean agreement. I can disagree with a person’s opinion or behavior and still accept who he is as a person.

Acceptance means that I will not reject you or try to change you.

Another step to intimacy is being vulnerable with that person. Being vulnerable means that I expose myself emotionally - my fears, my doubts, my shame.

Vulnerability is risky. I risk what others think of me. I risk acceptance and love. I am not vulnerable with everyone, only with those I trust. But we will never have that intimacy in our relationship without it.

That is why trust is another step to intimacy. I have to be trustworthy so that the other person can risk vulnerability. That person has to be certain that I won’t reject, ridicule, or betray him. Without trust, we cannot have emotional intimacy.

One time that many people become more emotionally intimate is when they find themselves in a stressful situation and work together during that experience. We see that in the military when they serve in the trenches together. When we go on mission trips, we forge closer bonds because we see each other when we are extremely tired, often stressed, and sometimes anxious.

Another way to form a close emotional connection is to share spiritually with each other. I can talk about what God has shown me and how He has changed me. I have to be open and honest about why I needed changing and how I open myself to Him.

Emotional intimacy brings joy into our lives!

What it is not ….
  • Emotional intimacy does not require that I agree with you. 
  • It does not mean that we like all of the same things or share the same experiences. 
  • Emotional intimacy does not mean that I share every thought that I have. That is dangerous and destructive!
  • Emotional intimacy is not critical or judgmental. Those attitudes are the opposite of acceptance.
  • Emotional intimacy is not manipulative. I don’t use emotions to try to control the other person’s emotions, behavior, or response to me.
  • Emotional intimacy is not exclusive. I can have an emotionally intimate relationship with more than one person. I can be emotionally intimate with my spouse, my friend (of the same gender), and my sibling. It can look different in each of those relationships. 
  • Emotional intimacy is not the same as sexual intimacy. When a couple is sexually intimate, they often think that means they are emotionally intimate also. But it does not; sexual intimacy can mask a lack of emotional intimacy. They can enhance each other but they are not the same.