helping people connect & discover true intimacy

Intimacy is Scary!

Everyone deserves it. We are born with the desire for it. Yet we’re afraid of it. It’s intimacy. I used to say that intimacy is the freedom to be ourselves without fear, but I’ve changed my thinking. Now I define intimacy as the ability to be totally transparent in spite of our fears.

We all long to have someone we can trust to totally be ourselves with and be completely known. I believe this is how God created us. Yet what we desire the most, we also fear. I believe we need to understand that the trauma of transparency started after the Fall of man. Adam and Eve were afraid and, as a result, they hid from God. They also covered themselves for fear of exposing themselves to one another. Not only did they cover themselves physically but emotionally as well.

No one is born into the world believing God has their best interest in mind. And no one is born believing that the opposite sex has their best interest in mind either. Remember your feelings when you experienced puberty? As men, we were afraid a woman would look at us and think “is that all you got?” In other words, we feared we would not be adequate in her eyes. The same is true for a girl who feels insecure about being accepted by a boy.

This fear of being inadequate and insecure is within us from the beginning of our lives, no matter what “Adams” we were born to. The family system we grow up in can further validate this fear. For instance, if a divorce occurs, mistrust in the opposite sex increases. I have heard every story you can imagine of hurts resulting from the opposite sex, including rape, incest, physical abuse and emotional abuse. This innate fear of vulnerability is only deepened when we are hurt by someone close to us.

So how do we overcome or deal with our fear of intimacy in marriage? While it’s important to consider each other’s feelings, we should not make our spouse responsible for taking away our feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. If we look to anyone or anything to cover our fears and they fail—and believe me, they will—we become more afraid. Eventually this increasing fear will drive the other way. Remember, we are responsible to each other in marriage but not for each other.

If we are not to look to our spouse to take away our fear, where do we look? There is only one source. Scripture states that without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins (inadequacies, shortcomings, failures, imperfections, etc.). In Genesis 3, God demonstrated breaking the power of Adam and Eve’s sin by killing an animal and covering them with the skins.

In Christ, we have the perfect sacrifice. His blood was shed for us so that we would be blameless or sinless before God. So when insecurities or feelings of inadequacy arise in us, we need to first take them to Christ and proclaim, by faith, that He has broken the power of the Fall over us. He alone is our security—not our spouse, our job or anything else in this world.

This foundational truth allows us to fully submit to our spouse as God intended—free of the fear of intimacy. In Ephesians 5: 21, Paul says submit to one another as onto Christ. We are to give up control of our life to the Lord first. Then through the power of the spirit of God, a man is able love his wife, as Christ loves the church, and a wife to submit to her husband. It’s the process of submitting that opens the door to be fully known in our innermost being… intimately… without fear.

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