Although you deeply desire healthy intimate relationships, just knowing this doesn’t make achieving it a quick and easy process. There are deep-rooted barriers that will hinder and undermine our efforts to develop healthy intimacy.
The top five barriers to healthy intimacy are our faults, our fears, our failures, our fixes, and our intimacy ignorance.
A healthy identity is critical to being able to both express and receive healthy intimacy. If we believe that we are broken, somehow so flawed or incapable of learning healthy intimacy, this belief will hold our heart hostage. Consequently, we won’t be able to allow anyone into our heart. This false belief binds our heart like heavy barbed wire digging ever deeper when anyone who tries to get close to us. Consequently, our belief that we are too broken to be loved cause us to repel from the piercing pain resulting in withdrawing to isolated loneliness, even within our own home.
We do not like to talk about our fears or being afraid because our tainted masculine culture has taught us that a “real” man should never be afraid. Therefore, except in dire circumstances like being in combat or a medical crisis, “real” men shouldn’t be afraid of anything. However, honest men do have fears, and we are afraid. These fears may be born out of long lost battles from a time when we thought that we were strong and invincible. Although emotional scars aren’t as visible as physical scars, they tend to be more crippling. They are especially crippling when it comes to fears born out of unhealthy or abusive relationships.
Anyone who attempts anything new or unfamiliar knows what it’s like to fail at something. However, if failing becomes an all too common experience in our life, especially within our relationships, we begin to see ourselves as a failure. Even if based on unrealistic expectations, once we’ve branded our self a failure, this becomes a very formidable barrier to any healthy relationship. Consequently, every mistake from that moment on becomes another self-confirmation to our belief that we are a failure — forever tattooed above the doorway to our heart.
When our history haunts us, either growing up abused, plenty of broken promises, our own failed relationships often results feeling isolated and lonely. Attempting to bear these burdens alone, we often reach for “quick fixes” to get us through the hour, day, week or years. Unfortunately fixes like pornography, affairs, alcohol, drugs or becoming a work-alcoholic temporarily mask the misery. So we settle for these temporary pleasures because we lack connection or resources for finding real solutions. Unfortunately the only thing our “fixes” do is fool us, then bind us into an addiction that drags us further into bondage.
Our Intimacy Ignorance
Ignorance is often viewed as a condescending word. The definition of ignorance includes the following: being unaware, uninformed, or un-knowledgeable. No one likes to be seen as ignorant, especially men. However, if you have no knowledge or experience of something like healthy intimacy, you are honestly ignorant. However, ignorance once revealed, provides an opportunity for us to seek the knowledge and understanding that can strengthen and deepen our relationships with loved ones.
In this series of blogs we will discover how to overcome these barriers to healthy intimacy once and for all. Furthermore, I share how to understand and develop “intimacy intelligence” that will transform all of your relationships now and forever.
I hope today’s blog has encouraged you. Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘email@example.com’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.