How to Pursue Intimacy Whether Married or Single

Two people touching hands, to pursue intimacy

Your heart that crave connection. Humans can’t survive in isolation. The irony is that today we can be more “connected” than ever and still be isolated. That’s why you need to pursue intimacy, which is more than just connection. You might call it communion.

The smart device in your pocket can connect you instantly to almost any other human on the planet. Social media allows you to “connect” with hundreds, thousands, of people. But is that nourishing your soul? Does that assuage the need you feel for intimacy? Not at all. You may also sit in church where people are “connecting” but you leave even more empty.

Research in recent years on the science of happiness and on the epidemic of loneliness all demonstrates the same thing; humans need a few deep authentic connections. This is more than a wish; it’s a true need. Your brain doesn’t have the capacity to do that with 50. But you have the desire, need, and capacity for intimacy, communion, with a few.

In marriage that includes sex with your spouse. But not sex as simply an act of biological release, but in the sense of true one-flesh-ness.

But what if you’re not married? Or what if your marriage has no intimacy? This true need in your soul is present regardless of your relationship status.

Let’s look at the idea of communion and what that can tell us about intimacy.

Intimacy and Communion

Many Christians think of “communion” as receiving the sacraments of the bread and the wine, the Eucharist, in honor of what Jesus instituted at the Last Supper. But the word itself means “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” I thank my friend Kurt for reminding me of this. Using the word communion to denote these Christian sacraments depicts what Jesus intended, that through receiving His body and blood we would commune, experience intimacy, with Him.

Intimacy has often been used as a euphemism for sex, and as such has lost some of its punch. But what the need in your soul is all about is to be truly seen and known.

This is why sex used in unhealthy ways becomes so destructive and unsatisfying. It’s why some marriages have become life-taking rather than life-giving (and that can happen whether sex is happening or not). And it’s also why people, including Jesus as a human being, can become and live truly whole in any relationship status.

Superficial connection, whether through your phone, social media, or even sex, does not fill that need to be seen and known, to truly commune with another person(s).

Patterned After God

As followers of Jesus in the western church we often fall into the trap of starting with our own experience or mindset and extrapolating to what that might mean about God. We must think about this the other way around. God is the original, the Creator. We must start with Him, and then seek to understand our own experience and steward our lives in light of who He is.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are so close, so intimate, that we are told to think of Him as one God. And He is! (Deuteronomy 6:4) One could say the Trinity experiences infinite communion together. And you and I are made in God’s image.

And intimacy, communion, is exactly what Jesus wants for you and me. A couple examples:

  • “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me” (John 15:5).
  • Jesus’ prayer: “I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one” (John 17:23)
  • “so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

In the church we’ve often paid lip-service to Jesus’ statements “that they may be one” or “abide in Me.” What might happen if we as individuals, as married couples, and as the body of Christ intentionally pursued that?

It seems most human beings, including most Christians, feel a desire, a need, for something more, even if they can’t articulate it. Could this be it? Could intimacy, fellowship, communion with a few others and with God be “it”?

How did Jesus Pursue That?

Let’s start with Jesus as the pattern. How did He pursue intimacy? What did that look like for Him in His earthly life?

I was talking with a small group of men and women about sexuality and intimacy, and what it looks like to steward that well as an unmarried person. When talking about Jesus, who never had sex and was never married, yet was Fully Alive, one young man said, “But Jesus was different. He was really tight with His heavenly Father.”

Exactly! That’s the point. You’ve got to be “tight” with your heavenly Father too.

There’s absolutely no way simply stuffing more facts into your left brain will, by itself, let you have that kind of fellowship, intimacy, communion with God. You must also include the other parts of you; your physical body, your emotions, your right brain’s sensing and experiencing, your trauma history, your desires, and every other part of you.

And Jesus also sought fellowship, intimacy, communion with a few other man and women who knew Him deeply and who sensed Him knowing them. Seeking that level of connection with a few other human beings is always incomplete; Jesus was not infrequently disappointed, even hurt, by the people He sought fellowship with. But He did it anyway.

So shouldn’t you and I do the same?

Communion, intimacy, with God; of course. And with people? Yes, it’s messy. It doesn’t always “work.” But if Jesus pursued intimacy anyway, perhaps you and I need to too.

Your Turn:  Have you embraced your need to pursue intimacy? Where are you seeking fellowship, intimacy, communion, regardless of your relationship status? Leave a comment below.

Tweetables: why not share this post?

  • What if the “it” the human heart, your heart, craves is intimacy, fellowship, communion – with a few others and with God? Perhaps that’s the biggest reason why you must pursue intimacy. Tweet that.

Married and Feeling Disconnected?

You said “I do” expecting lasting love, connection, intimacy, and joy. But you may now be feeling more loneliness, frustration, or anger. What happened to “happily ever after?”

In one important sense it’s not your fault. Nobody ever taught you how to do marriage, intimacy, sex, and relationships well. Our Fully Alive Marriage online course shows you how to overcome marriage challenges, learn to love well, and build an intimate and Fully Alive marriage that lasts!