Create your own Eden. The bible portrays Eden as a kind of paradise. A place of unity and intimacy. The picture that is painted for us is one of perfection where there is a kind of interconnectedness allowing for peace. Conflict is absent from Eden. One does not need to view Eden as a literal place to understand the picture that is painted for us.
Your Eden is the context, the places and the habits that you develop together with the intent of cultivating intimacy. They are moments when you shut the door to everything that is going on outside, the daily routine and preoccupations. Moments when you shut the door to distractions and pressures. They may still be there but you shut them out. You connect with each other as though there was nothing else in the world but you, your partner and that moment. Moments when you appreciate each other’s presence, each other’s company, each other’s hearts and even each other’s bodies.
Our lives can be hectic and easily become chaotic. Responsibilities, routines and habits add up to the point where days go by and we lose sight of one another. We become nothing more than chess pieces in the whirlwind of daily activity. Each one of us needing to be in her/his proper place at every moment for our house of cards to not fall apart. It’s no wonder many couples lose one another and, if they don’t split up, live like roommates rather than allies (more on this in another post).
Intimacy, as we’ve seen by now, doesn’t come easy. If we are to create our Eden we will need to be creative and take initiative. Look for opportunities. Create them. Don’t wait for them to appear out of a busy schedule. Be innovative according to the possibilities at your disposal during this season of your life. Of course, this may require re-organizing your schedule and maybe even saying no to other things.
There are two categories here. One, the planned opportunities when we shut the door to everything else. These can become rhythms built into your schedule. A daily touchpoint when you simply sit together for a few minutes to touch base. A weekly walk or activity allowing you to spend quality time together. A monthly date. A yearly getaway.
Two, the spontaneous moments we learn to seize without thinking we always need the perfect scenario. Learn to find ways to cultivate intimacy and communication daily. It doesn’t always have to be around a meal and a good glass of wine. Seize the moments even when kids are buzzing around, while preparing dinner, cleaning the dishes or folding the laundry.
It doesn’t need to be complicated but it does need to happen.
In the biblical story of Eden, unity, intimacy and peace are broken when a few ingredients are introduced: distrust, blame, fear and shame. If you are to find and create your Eden, those ingredients will need to be addressed and removed so that they do not become obstacles. The beautiful thing here is that intimacy is, in part, about dealing with and talking about those negative ingredients but doing so in a way that allows growth instead of allowing them to break us down.
In the wake of a new year, a resolution worth making is to become artists in creating intimate moments. Have that conversation together. In 2018, what rhythms can we try to implement to creatively cultivate intimacy in both the planned and unplanned ways?