Up front let me admit this is a bit of a rant. The topic has been brewing in my mind for awhile, and some recent comments pushed it to the top of the list. But please look beyond the rant factor here; this is a common issue in marriages and I suspect we all do it to some extent. And we all suffer for doing it, to whatever extent we do it.
My friend Debi Walters of The Romantic Vineyard is fond of saying intimacy means “into me, see”. I agree with her; intimacy, real intimacy, is about knowing and being known as fully as is humanly possible. Of course, that’s a scary thing. What is my spouse doesn’t like something about me? What if I can’t handle something about them?
Ironically some of the same folks who say they want greater marriage intimacy also admit there are things they will never share, and/or things they don’t want their spouse to ever share. When a couple refuses to share or hear certain things, their ability to have real intimacy is seriously crippled.
Either a couple can and does share everything, or they don’t. If they do, they have a great start on intimacy. If they don’t, they will never have true intimacy. I suppose if neither of them wants real intimacy you could say it’s none of my business, but I still think such a couple is cheating themselves and falling short of what God intended, and it still makes me sad.
Real intimacy is scary. Real intimacy shows us our own faults, fears, and shortcomings, and even worse it shows those things to our spouse. It also shows us all the ugly stuff in our spouse and challenges our willingness to show love, forgiveness, compassion, and empathy. Still, when I read the Bible I see God calling us to intimacy. Intimacy with Him and intimacy with our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we can’t be intimate with our spouse, who we have seen, how can we be intimate with God, who we haven’t seen?
On a related note: I know plenty of men who keep a number of secrets from their wife because they have learned there are some things she doesn’t want to know. But they don’t know where the line is, and they figure better safe than sorry.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife just confessed her long-standing affair with chocolate to me. Working on grace…