When I was a young single man, I thought it would be the ideal life for me to marry a pretty and sexy woman and enjoy a lifetime of passion. By the time I was 25 years old, such thoughts led to my first marriage with a pretty and sexy young woman. While love and passion abounded, for a few years, I ultimately discovered that something was missing. I didn’t understand real problems and therefore sought an adulterous misguided lust-driven search for fulfillment – a path I believe many other misguided couples follow.
Today, over thirty years later and after a failed second marriage, I realize that this utopia that I was searching for was a higher level of intimacy - more stable and mature than love, passion or lust. Love can be fickle, passion cools off, and lust is a wanderer while real intimacy develops roots.
There is a pattern that I have noticed after many relationships. The pattern goes like this: First the passion was exciting. Then I started feeling funny about myself, and then I started feeling funny about my partner.
We argued and fought and finally we broke up. Gradually we become strangers. This pattern is what I now refer to as the year-after syndrome. We wake up after a few months to a few years and find that intimacy is not really there. The passion has slipped away and what we end up with is not what we really wanted in the first place. All you have is two people seeking physical gratification and using their partner as a tool. The elements of genuine love and passion cannot be sustained without a commitment and above surface understanding of intimacy.
Each of us has five significant parts of intimacy in our lives. We have the physical, the emotional, the mental, the social, and the spiritual.
All five of these parts are designed to work together in harmony. In our search for intimacy we often focus on the physical and lightly brush-over the others. One of our problems is that we want "instant" gratification. Ultimately, when the full well rounded need for intimacy in a relationship is not met, we drift apart. In short order, we find another because it's easier to be physically intimate with someone than to be intimate in any of the other four areas. You can become physically intimate with a person of the opposite sex in an hour, day, or week -- it just depends upon the urge! But you soon discover that the physical may only be a temporary relief for a superficial desire. There is a much deeper need that is still unmet.
What do you do when the thrill wears off and the more you have sex, the less you like it? In women, I believe it often leads to an intimate relationship with God and an adulterous commitment of celibacy. With men, I believe, it often leads to an unbridled conquest of lust. In my search for intimacy I have met many men and women also searching for intimacy returning with lust, while growing weary and untrusting. (Next week’s article will explore how to recognize, obtain, and retain well-balanced intimacy.)
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