Closer Than A Clasp
DRAW nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you …” (James 4 vs. 8)
God is not far from us. The faith I practice makes it clear that God came to be with us, and in us. But we still hear people say, “God, where are you?”
I understand that perfectly. You know, in a relationship there are times when you miss the point; we lose touch of each other. We are there in same room, but we are missing each other.
There is a kind of disconnect. And it is a dangerous condition … If we seek God, we will find Him (Acts 17 vs 27).
But there are times we look for Him everywhere and it is like He has hidden Himself. But He is there all the time. All problems in relationship start here.
We lose our fun; joy in a marriage or friendship when we miss the cause of our emotional conflicts. Recently, I hear a lot about unfaithfulness. Men can’t stand their wives or girlfriends cheat on them. And what they mean here is just the sexual relationship.
Once a man sleeps with another woman, we say the man has been unfaithful to the wife. And she is bitter and angry and vengeful.
The truth of the matter is that your spouse can sleep with you, have children with you and yet be emotionally satisfied only with someone else. They may not be kissing nor having sex, but they are the best of pals and share more meaningful things than you both share.
And I think the reason is because we neglect our primary reason for togetherness. We all have deep-rooted attachment needs. We talk about the surface emotions, the indifference and blame each other. Then each one retreats into a corner, making it difficult to reconnect.
What most couples do not see is that most fights are really protests over emotional disconnection. Underneath all the quarrels and distress, partners are desperate to know: are you there for me? Do you need me? Do you rely on me? Am I ok for you? Of what value am I to you? Love is the emotional search for basic secure connection with another person.
When we bond in marriage, we become emotionally dependent on each other for nurturing, soothing and protection. We need the love, re-assurance and emotional contact from a significant other. It is like a survival response, like the bond a baby seeks with its mother. That need to be attached emotionally for a feeling of safety, acceptance and security never disappears; it evolves into adulthood. Think of how a mother lovingly gazes at her baby, just as two lovers stare into each other’s eyes.
We have a culture that makes it seem like dependence is a bad thing or a weakness. But it is not. Being attached to someone provides our greatest sense of security and safety. The sin of Adam and Eve was that they wanted to become like God, not needing Him to tell them what to do. They wanted to be wise in their own eyes. But we all need God. It is because we think we don’t need Him that we are going through hard times. When we ask people to give their lives to Jesus, that is what we mean. We want to have someone who would respond when we call. We want to know we matter to him or her, that we are cherished and that they respond to our emotional needs. Emotional isolation is traumatising for human.
The brain actually codes it as danger. Our hunger for a safe emotional connection is a survival imperative. We need to feel safe with our partner. Once we arrive at that level of intimacy, we can tolerate the hurts they will inevitably inflict upon us in the course of daily life. You can endure anything.
This emotional intimacy is a felt need. You need to see that you reach that close to your spouse. You get to the point in your relationship that you feel peace, rest and calm, whether your spouse is physically present or not.
When there is a disconnection, please turn around and reconnect. If not, you will start engaging in fights that follow a clear pattern. You quarrel over things you can overlook. Don’t distance from your spouse at this point; reassure, reach and be able to touch your spouse where you can rekindle the sense of satisfaction and safety. Don’t let the quarrels gain momentum; seek the root cause.
Start loving in practical ways again. Otherwise, you will induce a terrible sense of emotional aloneness where your relationship feels less and less like a safe place and it starts to hurt badly. Bridge the emotional distance now. Never take your partner for granted to an unhealthy degree. Look at your partner; see deep.
Listen. Show interest, concern and attention, if only for a moment every day. It is easy to dismiss the people you are closest to because you expect them to be there, no matter what. By doing so, they may very well seek out people who will give them the attention and excitement they are not getting from you.
As we make progress in other areas of our marriage partnership, don’t lose your partner. Reach for the heart, the essence, the real person- needs, affections, feelings and desires. Have a concern for your partner. Make him or her feel whole.
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