In the last blog I concluded by saying intimacy can be achieved only by following the pattern of God in His relationship with man. Intimacy is a precious need for all couples, but we may need to learn to put up with some mess to find the real treasure. This is buttressed by this story told by Stanley Carvell and I quote, “In March 1995, The New England Pipe Cleaning Company of Watertown, Connecticut, was digging twenty-five feet beneath the streets of Revere, Massachusetts, in order to clean a clogged ten-inch sewer line. In addition to the usual materials one might expect to find in a clogged sewer line, the three-man team found sixty-one rings, vintage coins, eyeglasses, and silverware, all of which they were allowed to keep. Whether it’s pipes or people, if you put up with some mess, sometimes you find real treasure”
In this illustration we can see the effect of clearing up the debris and the benefit. Couples need to clean up for close up through speaking. The potential for knowing God is borne out of the fact that God spoke. Holy men wrote down what God spoke and these become the will of God for man. There is no one that can know the partner intimately without the partner speaking. Paul reiterated this when he asked who could know the thought of man, none except by the spirit of man. There is no way you can read any individual as a book but only when he speaks. You only know what is going on in your mind; no one can read your mind save by questioning and by responding.
Body language is supposed to tell us about people by the way they fold their arms, cross their legs, sit, mold the mouth, or use facial expressions. It is true that we can pick up cues from a person’s behavior, but we can never know what is in others’ minds simply by looking at them. Verbal communication is essential in order to understand what is going on inside other people. If they do not tell us their thoughts, their feelings, and their experiences, we are left to guess. Unfortunately, our guess is usually wrong, and we misunderstand them. That is why communication is an absolute necessity if we are to reach intimacy.
I like to adapt S. Chapman illustration about the assumed communication pattern that people exhibit that keeps intimacy for a short time but later spelt doom for the marriage. He used four different kinds of fowls. These fowls are Dove, Hawk, Owl and Ostrich.
There are couples whose partners don’t want trouble and for that reason they consent to whatever their spouse says. They don’t want trouble and for that reason they always agree with their spouse even though resent it in their inner being. The result of this, the ‘dove spouse’ seeks for refuge outside the home. He tries to burn all his time in the office and with other friends or get involved in other activity but avoid time with the partner. The hawk is the next one. This is Mr. or Mrs. Right always. Anything that happens is the fault of the partner. The blamer is the boss, the dictator, and the one in charge who never does wrong. Typical hawk statements are, “You never do anything right. You always botch it up. I don’t understand how you could be so stupid. If it weren’t for you, everything would be fine.” They appear strong but in reality they are weak emotionally. They only derive joy in getting somebody to do their bidding. This made them to feel better about themselves.
The third fowl is the Owl. The spouse in this relationship is more like a computer than a person according to Chapman. Mr. or Mrs. Owl gives you logical answer and they show no feelings when the partner is in disagreement with them. An owl thinks of himself as being intelligent and reasonable. He is happy in not showing any emotional feeling. If the partner shows any feeling he or she would wait calmly till the partner cools off, Mr. or Mrs. Owl will take it from there, still standing on his /her point. The fourth fowl is Ostrich. Ostrich in his case does not respond to what the partner is saying. He only changes the topic to something different from the partner’s line of discussion. The ostrich often develops a singsong approach to talking. Often the inflection of his voice is out of tune with his words. You can interrupt him, make your own comments, and he will start talking again unrelated to what you have just said or what he was saying beforehand. His conversation goes in all directions and seldom reaches any conclusions.
All these kind of communication will not help in the school of intimate relationship. Healthy communication therefore is the communication that starts to effect a change. There is no way we have a change if we don’t understand the type of communication we have with our partner.
Sincerity and faithfulness is the fabric or the life wire of faith. Stand before the Lord and say it yourself who you are. Are you dove, hawk, owl or ostrich? When you judge yourself then you will not be judged. Tell the Lord you want a change. The way up is down; confess your faults one to another so that you can be healed. After this intimacy foundation can be laid.
I like to conclude that the intimate relationship you desire can be yours as we look through the scriptures as reiterated by the prophets of old. Lay down the unprofitable pattern and pick with sincerity the new way of life and see how the Lord will turn things around. Looking forward for the next blog.
One of the reasons why many women including me dread marriage is the question before us today. When I was young I looked at the women that were married, and thought they entered the land of second fiddle in the entire game. I wonder why it should be so. Dating my husband before we got married I express my feeling to him.
He responded by telling me that he will love and keep me happy in the marriage. Praise God I have no regret in my marriage. I felt I must share my understanding in the relationship with you.
Intimacy is not what we gain or retain in marriage forever. I realize that intimacy is not concrete object that can be kept in a safe at the emotional bank. Intimacy is fluid that is proportional to the communication that goes between two close people (in the light of my argument couples).
The life of every marriage is communication between the parties involved. Communication is like the air we breathe that cannot be stored in the bank, but take and use at all times even in sleep. The fact that we communicate does not bring intimacy it must be healthy one. The quality of what we communicate matters. Bad communication can be like poisonous gas that can choke life out of couples. In the natural if anyone inhales Carbon- Monoxide, he dies naturally in just few minutes of inhalation.
Eating healthy food is dependent on education. The skill of knowing which food is good for the body and the ones to avoid. Communication is a skill as well that must be studied between couples to know which is healthy for their intimacy and the one to avoid. School to emotional stabilities is lined with patterns of communication that will lead to intimacy.
Some of our communication patterns are positive, leading us to intimacy in marriage. I will look at this pattern more closely in the future blog.
Many things are responsible for breakdown of communication between couples. This ranges from the inheritance to social company and the society world –view of the subject. It is very difficult to make changes in our communication that can lead to intimacy without understanding the ones that easily erodes it.
The purpose of my blog is not to give rules and regulations but to lay the matter on the table and see how to practically practice them according to the leading of the Lord. The model for healthy communication can only stem from the example God has with man. Christianity is the ability to hear from God and communicate back to Him in terms.
Christianity is self-revelation of God on God’s part and listening to Him on the part of the individual. None can claim to be a Christian till he meets this condition. There is no way couples can have intimacy till there is self-revelation from each other and listening in simultaneous balance.
Self- revelation and listening must be accompanied by honest, loving feedback on the part of the listener. If there is no honest feedback from the listener there can no intimacy and deep relationship. In fact, miscommunication and misunderstanding will probably be the results.
In good marital communication the husband and wife each share thoughts, feelings, experiences, values, priorities, and judgments while the other listens sympathetically. Both partners share on the same open, honest level. Taking bearing of intimacy from God, who took the initiative to seek audience with Adam even after eating the forbidden fruit, will help our search. God has used and still in business of applying different methods in reaching out to man. God at times speaks to man through the inner voice, at another time through dreams. The Holy Spirit has been agent of bringing to man the mind of God. The fact I am establishing is that we must all learn intimacy steps from God. It’s only through this we make it permanent and if neglected it will be temporal.
I will continue from this point next week.