Do you know the difference between romance and intimacy?
Though these concepts are complementary, they are not the same. If you hope to keep the fire burning in a long-term relationship, you need to know what they are, what they do and when they are appropriate.
I’ve already written about romance so I won’t go into any detail here, but one of the keys to romance is its visibility.
When you are being romantic you are putting your love on display for the world to see. It’s like standing on a mountaintop and shouting to the world, “I am in love with this person!” The benefit of romance is twofold: (1) the special someone in your life knows they’re loved, and (2) the rest of the world knows you are in an exclusive relationship.
It’s the exclusivity of the relationship that makes intimacy possible.
Intimacy happens the moment we are invited into the exclusive VIP room of another person’s life. Intimacy always follows the statement, “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone before.” These are risky words of deep trust and vulnerability. The exclusivity of personal information creates the conditions of intimacy. That intimacy is preserved in that relationship as long as the information remains exclusive. The moment it is available to anyone and everyone is the moment intimacy begins to evaporate. -S. Hipps, Flickering Pixels (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 113.
You see, whereas romance is public — intimacy is private. Romance is broadcast to the world; intimacy is hidden from the world.
Intimacy is much more than sex – it is created by any exclusive activity, event or information privately shared between two people in a relationship.
In fact, sex is intimate only because it’s something private that’s exclusively shared between two people. If you video tape yourself having sex and post it online, I assure you (among 1000 other things) intimacy is lost.
The same principle holds true of things that don’t take place in the bedroom. INtimacy is INsider INformation – once it’s declassified (shared with the world), it’s no longer intimate (even if it is romantic).
In other words, if you want a romantic getaway — feel free to post pictures and status updates on Facebook. But if you want an intimate getaway — then the world can never know the details. In that way, intimacy creates a special bond between two people; it’s like the Super Glue of relationships.
Which brings me to my promised update on this year’s celebration of Dawn’s birthWEEK…
Last year, I went the roMANtic route (thus the blog posts and shared details); this year I’ve decided to go the INtimate route. In a couple of weeks I’m going to take my bride out of town and give her the best vacation of her life. (Scheduling conflicts made this week an impossibility, so our festivities are briefly delayed.)
Since INtimacy is my goal, I’m not going to share details with the world. In fact, I’m not even going to tell Dawn where we’re going until we get to the airport!
Upon our return, I’m not going to blog about it. We’re not going to post pictures on Facebook. And we’re not going to tell you about it when you ask. Sorry, you’ll just have to use your imagination.
Remember: INtimacy is INsider INformation.
My friends, romance and intimacy are both critical for your relationships, but they are not the same thing. Each has a specific role to play and one should complement the other.
So… if roMANtic is what you’re shooting for — bring a video camera and find a WiFi hot spot (no sex videos, please). But if you’re wanting to create INtimacy, don’t undermine the exclusivity of your relationship by sharing INsider INformation with OUTsiders (even if they are your friends).
I love you all; but I love Dawn more. ~Kraig