“Men move toward whatever makes them feel competent,” and sitting down to talk about feelings generally doesn’t fit the bill.
However, this does not mean that men do not do intimacy or are simply not good at it. It means we must expand our understanding of intimacy and how we go about achieving it.
For many, intimacy is equated with closeness and romance, or is simply used as another name for sex. While these things might be intimate, true intimacy is about allowing ourselves to be deeply known in the presence of another.
While the desire for intimacy is universal, it should be no surprise that men and women accomplish it differently. Assuming there’s only one way to do intimacy, which is usually the let’s-sit-down-and-talk-about-our-feelings approach common among most women, has frustrated many men and their relationships.
Certainly, there is a time to sit down and discuss feelings. There is wisdom here that should not be dismissed or assumed only valuable for women. At the same time, the masculine way of doing intimacy also has great value.
Masculine energy is focused and directed, driven toward accomplishing a mission or a goal. When this comes to intimacy, men rarely move naturally toward sharing their feelings simply for the sake of sharing their feelings.
Men allow themselves to be known through the things they create and build. Said another way, intimacy for men is accomplished on mission. This mission may be on the battlefield or sport’s arena, while working on cars or seeking to spread the gospel to a lost world. Men connect by moving purposefully toward a goal.
The challenge comes in taking this style of intimacy into marriage, and even in our deeper male friendships, those that move beyond mere surface relating.
It seems easier for most men to focus on an external mission, such as sports or cars, and feel awkward when considering relational intimacy. Again, this is because relational intimacy is often equated with the typical way women connect with each other.
Relational intimacy is not just for women and does not have to be a mere byproduct for men, an unintentional consequence of some other focus.
Intimacy for men is focused on being known through the things we create and build. And building relational intimacy is attained by purposefully moving our relationships toward their highest good.
All relationships are going somewhere and all relationships have their unique excellence. Our task as men is to draw out the beauty and the goodness of our relationships as we guide them toward their Divine purposes.
When men gather it’s generally with the intent of creating and building something. This was the case for Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as they regularly gathered to share in their common purpose to communicate deep truths through mythical tales.
The same would hold true for men seeking to create and build intimate relationships. Unfortunately, many of us are not aware of this need or have the opportunity to gather with like-minded men.
What if there was a gathering of men dedicated to changing the world through creating and building intimate relationships?
To be sure, men willing to drop the act and get Scary Close are a rare few. However, those willing to test themselves and dig deeper will empower their marriages, their friendships, and even their work and calling with new life and passion.
As author Donald Miller puts it, “When you’re good at relationships, you’re good at life.”
Let’s be good at life!