Every year, I choose a word that I want to focus on during that year. I pray about it, and then go with where I feel God is leading me.
For 2014, my word was “abundance“.
And for good reason – I had a poor spirit.
Abundance comes in so many forms – but mainly it is an attitude. Ever notice how often poor people, who have very little, can feel so blessed and happy because they see the little that they have as being abundance? Or how rich people, who have everything, seem to whine and complain because they never have enough? My word for 2015.
I have learnt – no, I am still learning, that abundance is a mindset, and is a lot more about how you view life and a lot less about how much money you have in your bank account.
For 2015, my word was “trust“.
The thing that I really learnt in 2015 for my word being trust is that I can make a decision to trust God no matter how I feel. I trust despite my feelings – I don’t need to wait for my feelings to line up and then decided to trust God. God is greater than my feelings, and I can trust Him no matter what.
Reference: Baby Mama’s Blog
My word for 2016 is intimacy. Boy, am I uncomfortable with that word. I kinda like to keep myself to myself – I feel safer that way. But, I cannot grow in my relationship with God or my husband if I keep hiding myself away. I need to be open – to let them both in, to grow in intimacy with them. With God, mostly spiritually, but emotionally and physically (in worship) as well. And with my husband, too (he’s say mostly physically, then emotionally… 🙂 …
What is intimacy?
Intimacy is the experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be emotionally open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires. This can only occur when both people are able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable. Reference here.
Every time I feel fearful or anxious or nervous, I hide myself away. No growth or emotional connection will happen with my spouse or the people around me, and with God, if I keep hiding myself away. I never knew this before – I thought hiding myself away was protecting myself. And in a way it is, but it is also keeping out the possibility of truly connecting with God and my husband in a deep and meaningful way, and of feeling safe, and accepted and loved.
This year, I hope to grow past the need to run and hide, and learn to move towards and to open myself up to my God and my husband; to let them in – so that we can grow in intimacy.
Intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner, about being able to let your guard down, and let him or her know how you really feel. Intimacy is also about being able to accept and share in your partner’s feelings, about being there when he/she wants to let their defenses down.To be able to share our ‘inner-world’ with a partner we love, and to be able to share our partner’s experiences, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship. Intimacy often doesn’t need words, but being able to put feelings and experiences into words makes intimacy more likely to occur. Intimacy involves being able to share the whole range of feelings and experiences we have as human beings – pain and sadness, as well as happiness and love.
Saying ‘I love you’ is important. Assuming your partner knows about your love because of the way you behave is usually not enough.
Many couples start out their relationship sensing they have achieved a new dimension of intimacy which they have not experienced before. They are in love, it is exciting, and they cannot imagine a greater degree of intimacy. Yet, as the years pass and couples go through some of the highs and lows in their relationship, they discover a series of deeper levels in their intimacy. Each discovery makes the relationship more rewarding and fulfilling.
It’s important to understand that true intimacy in a relationship happens over time…not in a day, week or even a month. Think of the relationship with your husband (or wife), how long did it take before you felt at the highest level of intimacy with them, where you were able to trust them completely, or share your deepest self? But an important element is needed for true intimacy…both people in the relationship need to move through the levels together. If I’m sharing at level four with someone (feelings and experiences) but my partner is sharing at level three (opinions and beliefs) we’re not experiencing true intimacy. I may feel closer because I’m sharing at a higher level, but in reality what we have is a false sense of intimacy. In truth, intimacy is measured by the person with the lower level of vulnerability. Reference: Here
Intimacy does not happen by magic. It must be built up over time. This takes some people longer than others. Often the harder you work at intimacy, the more valuable and rewarding it is. The following are some steps that may help.
- Be positive about what you have in your relationship and let your partner know what you value about him/her and about the relationship. Put it into words, don’t assume they already know. Everybody likes to be told that they are appreciated and loved.
- Create opportunities for intimacy. Make times when you can be alone together in a situation where you can focus on each other and on your relationship. The harder it is to do this because of the children, work or other commitments, the more important it is that you do it! Try to plan a regular evening, day or weekend for the two of you to be alone.
- Practise making “I” statements about how you feel. This avoids putting your partner on the spot, and may help him or her do the same. For example “I feel hurt you didn’t ask me before you decided” instead of “Why didn’t you ask me first?”
- After an argument look at the deeper feeling behind the anger, hurt, anxiety, or your sense of being let down. Talk to your partner about these feelings and ask about their feelings.
Now, that I have a clearer idea of what intimacy is, I am going to work on that this year – but not just with my husband. Also, with God.
Next week, let’s look at one of the most important aspects of growing intimacy: TIME.