Rethinking Friendships and “Romance”: Emotional Intimacy

By | July 19, 2011
  1. One of the most difficult subjects which I’ve yet to make up my mind about is that of emotional intimacy. For example, many view emotional intimacy as something only for marriage, and engaging in emotional intimacy with someone other than one’s spouse is considered emotional adultery. In our culture, where marriage is based mostly on feelings and “romance”, it’s easy to understand why this is the case. But I’m not sure if emotional intimacy is inherently tied to marriage originally, nor that it must be exclusively with one person. The next two items are related.
  2. There is a lot of talk about “guarding one’s heart”. The advice is usually not to get too close to someone and not to become emotionally intimate with someone unless you are on the way to marriage. It is wise to exercise discernment and a certain amount of caution, but I’m not sure that you should never be close to anyone other than your spouse. That’s putting a lot of pressure on that one relationship. What if that person changes and you are no longer as close? Do you have to go without a close friend? Or is that grounds for divorce (especially if you believe it is wrong to be close with anyone other than your spouse)? Is it good or is it too dangerous to experience emotionally intimate relationships if not married? Do those relationships always have to end in hurt?
  3. Friendships carry risk, just as do “romantic” relationships. “Break ups” hurt, whether they are between friends or lovers. I know this from experience. Does that mean we should simply avoid friendships? I would think not. We don’t abandon the pursuit of “romantic” relationships, despite the even great danger as compared to friendship.
  4. Close friendships are not an escape from dealing with marriage. If there are problems in a marriage, those need to be addressed. Spouses ought to be open with one another, both regarding the marriage, problems, and outside friendships.
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