Here we go. As promised, we will explore 9 keys to cultivating and maintaining intimacy. Check in on Thursday mornings for the next little while to get your weekly key.
Let’s begin with Key #1 – Your story
We are complex beings; a mix of beauty and brokenness. We are, each one of us, a story being written. Our stories are unique and yet they all insert themselves in a bigger narrative.
You are a story. A story that wants to be told, heard and understood. A story that wants to be known. You carry dreams, desires, expectations, joys, hope, sadness, fears, wounds, disappointments, strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, etc. You have a past that was shaped by a variety of factors, most of them outside your control. You have inherited things you never asked for. You have made decisions, good and bad, that have contributed to the path you are on.
Being in a relationship amplifies and multiplies this complexity by merging two very different stories. Both stories wanting to be known, told, heard and understood. That is why it is good and necessary to be aware, to accept, to be open and honest with what is going on inside. Whether we understand it all is beside the point, but being true and letting our partner in on it is a key element to intimacy and growth.
To be aware is to see and acknowledge what is there. To accept is to embrace where you find yourself regardless of what went into getting your there. The good and the bad. It is what it is. To own is to take responsibility for your story (not in an “it’s all my fault” kind of way but in a “this is my story and I will be honest about it” kind of way). To discern is to know the difference between the good and the bad, what you did and what others did to you, what you control and what you don’t.
Your story is yours alone. No one else can tell the same story. You. Who you are. What makes you who you are.
Intimacy involves letting someone know you and enter your story. It also means you are willing to embark in this person’s story as well. There aren’t many things that can be both exhilarating and haunting. To know and be known truly.
The idea of being known creates fear and anxiety. Will this person still love me once they know me? Will they stay if I let them see who I really am?
Intimacy is risky. Like anything risky, it’s tempting to stay away. For those who enter into it properly, high is the reward.