Intimacy in a relationship is more than sex, it involves faithfulness, deep understanding and commitment to another person. When we grasp that God created us for intimacy with Him and others, it can help us be better friends in the long run. Check it out.
I heard a guy recently describing his dating/love/marriage encounters with his wife of 17 years. They were using the Bible as their guideline for developing their relationship, and they began dating with the sole purpose of building their friendship. They talked and spent time together. They did not get physical at any level; no holding hands, no hugging, no kissing – for 10 months!! They did not know how the other person kissed, or how they hugged, or how they performed in bed, but they did know how they thought about numerous topics, their levels of compassion or certain issues, the micro-expressions of happiness and questioning and sorrow. They laughed, they listened, they enjoyed becoming best friends.
They were honest and trusting and dependable and learned what sacrifice in love was about. They prayed for each other and investigated things of God and worshiped together. In short, they became intimate friends, and yet, they hadn’t had sex or even kissed. They got married as best friends and the physical intimacy grew and blossomed in the rich garden of intimate friendship! Amazing? Unrealistic? Well, it’s true, and they will tell you that intimacy in friendship is a real gift worth pursuing, and it doesn’t need to get physical. Sadly, they wonder why so many young people will sacrifice becoming great, intimate friends on the altar of sex.
This is an amazing story of faithfulness, deep understanding and commitment—in a word, intimacy! Don’t worry about the odd names (give them nicknames if you want), the main characters are Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. You might also notice that they have to move from their home, which offers a connection to you as a military brat and the moving you’re required to do. But out of the move comes the most intimate friendship. (As a side note, Ruth is mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus in Matthew 1:5.)
Scripture: Ruth 1:1–22
- List several characteristics of intimacy in friendship that you see in the scriptural examples. How do you think that shared experiences bond you together in friendship?
- Have you had experiences of intimate friendship with members of the opposite gender without it getting physical? Is it realistic in today’s culture of easy hooks ups?
- How long does it take you to develop friendships? Do you have a mental cut-off date for people you will make friendships with based on their (or your) PCS date? How does that affect intimacy developing?
- Do you think you can develop intimacy in online relationships? What have you shared on Facebook (or other sites) that reveal intimate things about you?
- Do you feel like you have any friendships like Ruth and Naomi’s?
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Lord, I would love to be as committed and trustworthy a friend as Ruth was to Naomi and to have the kind of friendship they had. I need that kind of deep friendship to really flourish as a person. May my current friendships grow closer and more intimate. Thank you for loving me deeply. Amen.