Intimacy: Know and be known

There is written into the DNA of every man the need to know and be known. From the very beginning God created man in community. He said, “Let us make man in our image.” He gave man a name, Adam, and of all His creatures only called Adam by name. In fact God assigned to Adam the responsibility of naming the other creatures. Then God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And He made woman. God knew that men needed to know and be known. Another word for that is intimacy.
Emerson Eggerichs in his book Love and Respect reminded us that only human beings are intimate face to face. Of all other creatures, God made us to “know” each other looking into one anothers eyes. This need for intimacy, to know and be known drives us when we are dating, moves us to the altar in marriage, creates a constant, subsurface yearning in us that can, when not fulfilled lead us to the most unhealthy of choices.
This sexual illustration of intimacy points us to another issue, men confuse intimacy with sexuality. We even use that language. “My wife and I were intimate last night.” “Have you been intimate with her?” Men are intimate in order to be sexual. (Women are sexual in order
to be intimate.) But intimacy is not the same thing as sex or sexuality. The truth is that the need for intimacy is incapable of being satisfied by sex or any other human/physical means. The hunger is far too deep.
C.S. Lewis speaks of this hunger when he says, “We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives, chose our friends, or chose our work, and which we shall still desire when we are on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friends or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.”
There is an insatiable need written into the DNA of every man to know and be known. And that need can only be met in a face-to-face, deep and dedicated relationship with the One who created us. Intimacy is a part of my relationship with my wife. It fuels my love for my children (and for Jon-Mical.) It moves me to desire strong male friendships. But true intimacy can only finally be found in my walk with the One who really knows me. Paul says, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him as He is, and so somehow to attain to the resurrection of the dead.” That is intimacy.

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