What we Want and Fear in Every Relationship

What if I told you, in every relationship, there is one thing we all want.

One thing we all long for.

One thing we will do anything to get, and it is also the thing we are afraid of the most in relationships.

What is it?


Now, in our culture intimacy is always connected to sex or means sex.

And while intimacy sometimes involves sex, it is not equal to sex.

You can be intimate with people and not have sex, and you can have sex with someone and not be intimate.

One author said the vast majority of our intimate relationships have absolutely nothing to do with sex.

Intimacy is about connection. Intimacy is being known.

Dallas Willard said Intimacy is shared experience.

And this is why I say we long for it.

But we also fear it deeply.

We’re afraid of being hurt. Intimacy means being known by someone else. Katie knows me. She knows my strengths and weaknesses, my hopes and fears. She can use that knowledge to bond with me and come closer to me, or she can use it to shame, wound and betray me.

We also fear intimacy because it can set us up for disappointment and letdown.

We fear intimacy because we’ve been hurt. We’ve been divorced; our parents were divorced, the people closest to us walked out on us.

We fear intimacy because we don’t know how to trust. We don’t want to trust.

Maybe, you use intimacy as a weapon. You learn how to open up to people in an unhealthy way to get what you want, to get a connection.

John Ortberg said, When we experience intimacy, we can take whatever life throws at us. Without it, our greatest accomplishments ring hollow. 

How do you experience intimacy?

It is close. It can’t be coerced or forced.

It is letting go of pretense and opening ourselves up to hurt, but it is also opening ourselves up to experience love and life.

The same is true with God.

It doesn’t happen from a distance, it isn’t an afterthought, and it won’t settle with being second.

And don’t miss this: intimacy takes intentionality and a single focus.

In Song of Songs 1 – 2, we meet a couple just like any other couple that is struggling with this.

He is kind of the silent type, not as verbal (like most men).

She is scared and insecure about her looks.

So, she takes a step. She lets him know of her fear. And he responds.

He speaks directly to her insecurities, and slowly they find themselves closer.

They find themselves being intimate.

Now, they haven’t had sex, they’ve only created the connection we all long for in a relationship.

To be known, to be loved and for the other person to not walk away when they find out who we are.

So much so, that in chapter 2, we see the couple laying with each other in an embrace, her in the arms of the man, feeling completely safe and secure.

The woman speaks in verse 3 of chapter 2 and tells us what the man has done for her and why she feels so safe with him.

She says he is strong like a tree. This might be physical, but also emotional. He can handle the ups and downs of life; he can handle her ups and downs.

A tree also provides shade and protection in the desert. If you’re dating, do you feel protected by the guy you’re dating? If not, leave. Husbands, your wife should feel safe and protected by you and your strength.

Here’s a simple but difficult question for your marriage: does your wife delight to sit in your shade? In your presence? Now men, before you make an excuse why it’s her fault, why wouldn’t she want to anymore?

He looks on her with love. Does she know that you have eyes for her alone? And don’t tell me, I’m just looking like women are a menu in your life. When you get married, you have eyes for one; your “menu” has one item on it.

The lack of a single focus in any relationship is one of the biggest destroyers of intimacy. Without a single focus, the other person doesn’t feel as important, isn’t willing to give themselves, to let you in, you won’t let them in because you are still looking for another in greener pastures.

This couple has eyes only for each other and this single focus leads them to intimacy, to being known, to be safe with each other.