Replacing Him with ‘them’: Intimacy transference in relationships

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Intimacy. In-to-me-see. Intimacy is defined as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group; a close association with or detailed knowledge–deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc. We will discuss both of these definitions and how they relate to Singles as we transition into a romantic relationship.

We crave intimacy. Even if you are an introvert, you still long for that close connection with another person, and you will protect that bond. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight, and it represents something that is forged on the foundation of tears shed, joys shared, and secrets told. It’s a merging of hearts, emotions, sometimes even dreams and futures. It is a rare phenomenon to share a kindred bond with another in such a way that in many areas, you can’t tell where you end and the other person begins.

As Singles, we share intimacy with friends and families. Those connections that last through various trials and tribulations, that bring you closer together. We are blessed when we are born into an intimate family, even more blessed when we can choose it through friendships.

But, ultimately we share we are meant to share true intimacy with Christ. Paul states in 1 Corinthians that an unmarried person has undistracted devotion to the Lord, not worried about the cares of the world that marriage brings. I believe that this is true for relationships in general. When we are unattached, we may spend hours in our Word, listening to podcasts, volunteering, serving in several ministries, etc. Oh, but when we get a boothang, how the story changes. Priorities get twisted. We are still staying up late and getting up early, but the object of this intimacy has changed. We are now making efforts to get to know this other person, and that takes time. We shift our time to shared events, sync schedules to spend more time together, and cultivate the intimacy of this new bond, while inadvertently neglecting the other one.

This intimacy used to be how we felt about the Lord, now we are transferring it our new interest. It’s fresh, it’s new. Its.Tangible. If we can take the time to be transparent, and any of you that know me, know that I don’t operate any other way-sometimes it’s hard to build intimacy with an Unseen God. The drive to get out of the bed in the morning to get in the Word, or stay up at night to have quiet time, gets pushed to the side when your phone rings. I’m not saying that getting to know someone new is bad, I’m saying it’s dangerous when the time we used to spend with the Lord, is now devoted to a (wo)man.

In-to-me-see. When we try to imitate the closeness that can only be filled with Christ, with a potential mate, we will end up draining the other person and disappointing ourselves. We were created with a God-sized hole in our heart, but because He is a gentleman, He will patiently wait while we try to fit someone else in that spot. Only when we realize our mistake, and make a conscious effort to place Christ back on the throne of our hearts, are we ever able to achieve real intimacy with anyone else. It’s impossible to see into someone else, until you can truly see into yourself. And the only way to see who you really are, is through the One that created you.

In my relationship, I am still finding the balance. I sometimes find myself lacking in my quiet time, and in those moments, I lean on him to fill a void that he was never created to fill. I start to expect more from him, be more needy and clingy and can’t really pinpoint the source. My soul is thirsting for Christ, but I’m trying to fill it with a cheap imitation. This is not a slight on my man, it is an acknowledgement of my Savior. Any person pales in comparison when up against the Lover of my Soul. Only when I reset my eyes on Christ, can I take the pressure off my relationship and then I’m free to enjoy the love affair as it is, not as it can never be.

The intimacy that we share with Christ can be transferred to a man, but we will always feel empty, because a man can never compare to the Son of Man. When you find yourself running dry, or when you feel the strain of a pressure that shouldn’t be in your relationship, check your connection with Christ. As long as you are full of Him, then you will always have room for the one He created for you. See yourself in Christ, before you see yourself with anyone else.

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