Emotional intimacy

I left home at the age of 18 to attend a college a thousand miles away from my nearest parent (2500 km). There, for the first time in my life, I had to share a bedroom. I was fortunate to get along well with my assigned roommate. We had very little in common, but his friendliness and easy-going attitude made up for my extreme introversion and morose tendencies. Chad and I became friends in spite of our differences. Though we didn’t hang out much outside of the dorm, in the confines of our room we conversed and confided and laughed and complained and rejoiced as each day required. Whatever unpleasant thing might have been disrupting our lives, our room was a safe haven.

I especially enjoyed the discussions we would have after the lights went out. We would lay in our beds and talk across the room about anything that might occur to us. During that time when we were tired, relaxed, and on the verge of sleep, facades fell, imaginations ran wild, and we would discuss deep theological ideas as well as fatigue-induced nonsense with equal intensity until unconsciousness overtook one or both of us.

On one such night, our discussion lulled into several minutes of silence that I thought signaled the end of the conversation. I had cleared my mind to prepare for sleep when Chad said, “You know, this is great and all, but I can’t wait to be married. I mean you and I are friends, and that’s great, but some day I’m gonna have a wife, and she’ll be my best friend in the world, and we’ll go to bed at night and be able to talk about absolutely anything for as long as we want. That’ll be so nice.” Having recently left the Army, he was several years older than I was and had a more mature perspective on life, love, and relationships than I did. I immediately thought of a few other benefits a wife could provide that I felt were more important than late-night rap sessions. I told him as much, sending our conversation in an entirely different direction, but I never forgot what he said.

Thirteen years later I find myself living the dream. Some of the most enjoyable and intimate conversations I have with Mrs. Happy occur when the lights go out and we let go of everything the world threw at us during the daytime hours. At those times we can truly be emotionally intimate. At those times we can be mutually vulnerable. We can laugh, we can cry, we can argue, we can tease, we can lower all barriers, and let go of every inhibition without fear. There is no greater intimacy than mutual vulnerability, and that intimacy strengthens our love and trust and builds up our relationship every day.

Chad was right. It’s so nice.

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