Valentine’s Day is on the minds of many. The pressure is on. Not just for the perfect gift. But for the perfect experience. This one day every year, the official day of love and devotion can also open the door to disappointment and hurt feelings no matter where you are in your relationship. Personally, I’m a fan of everyday acts of intimacy. Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar. But I can’t ignore the obvious - we live in a social world and many of us consume it daily. We cannot help but be overloaded with all sorts of hashtag “goals” if we spend more than 90 seconds on social media. I am not here to judge but more often than not we only see the carefully crafted glimpses of any given relationship. Is that hand-crafted picture enough for those moments in time to really be “goals?” What about behind the curtains? I’m not throwing any stones but experience has painfully taught me all that glitters is NOT gold. More importantly, though, do we not trust the power of God enough to give us something beautiful of our own? I’m way off track though. Let me get back to intimacy and more importantly acts of intimacy during celibacy.
With all of the hype about this romantic holiday (I’m not rolling my eyes, promise), I started thinking about what intimacy means to those of us who are single and celibate. Let me tell you, the more I thought about it, the more I heard my inner Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City voice: “Is it really possible to achieve true intimacy without being intimate?” “Can relationships not only last but grow without giving up the V or receiving the D?” Was that crass? We’re all grown here, I think.
I got nosy. I got all up in my friends’ business to find out the ways my single friends define intimacy without being intimate. I spelled it out clearly for them, intimacy with zero sex involved. Let me give you full transparency first. I am on a journey of celibacy - most of my friends know this (at least the women). Before writing this post, I never put much thought into my decision to be celibate. At some point, I just knew it was something I needed to do for the place I’m at spiritually. I believe with the discipline and order God requires of me I needed to give up my old life. It’s been worth the cost and I have every faith in dying to my flesh daily and following His way and not mine I’ll be further blessed in ways I can’t begin to define. I want to put God before myself and my desires. It definitely takes wisdom (get into some Proverbs) and respect for His word. I will not lie and tell you I don’t have desires. I’m human and sex is natural. But I make every effort to surround myself with people who support my path and remove myself from circumstances that would test my conviction.
Obviously, there are many reasons people choose the decision to abstain or choose celibacy (yep, there’s a difference), but that does not mean they lack the desire to build a soulful connection - intimacy during celibacy. That’s why I went digging. This is a subjective area and the answer changes depending on the stage of life one is in.
I’m surprised to say this, but I was impressed with my guy friends. I half expected superficial answers. I didn’t have to even pry or tell them “c’mon, dig deep.” I asked the question and straight up and without hesitation I was flooded with details on how they connect and grow in their relationships without ever touching their significant other. It’s safe to say, based on The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts these fellas are big on Acts of Service followed by Words of Affirmation. The ladies were fairly like-minded in their thinking so I’ve tried to categorize the answers. Again, the answer likely depends on the stage of life you are in. As you grow, your needs will change but I think you will love these:
Be in touch with your partner's desires and needs and pray for him/her. Pray for their well-being and growth.
Dream together, build together, and plan together. Share sweet thoughts with each other and always look your partner in the eyes when he/she is speaking.
For the ladies, conversation turned into communication. Specifically creating an environment their significant other can be honest about their feelings good or bad without judgment. The intimacy focused on having deep communication about everything or about nothing at all.
However, connecting, truly connecting every day, not just passing each other by, is another idea. Understanding your partner’s needs, even if it is listening without feedback creates intimacy.
Providing your significant other with a safe environment for them to be vulnerable with you without fear of retribution or betrayal can be very intimate. This is different from the above, it focused on honesty, and this is about vulnerability.
The experience of becoming unguarded with someone and knowing you are protected regardless of your personal circumstances creates a powerful connection.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Providing something your partner needs (unprompted), random calls “just thinking about you babe” calls, and dropping meals off unexpectedly. Specifically, pick up the phone during the day (or night) and have a conversation. Texting is a way to avoid building a connection.
Provide an environment where both can be authentic and real with one another. No games, no pretense.
What do you say? Do you agree that without the act of penetration of the body and solely with the penetration of the soul and the mind, these are solid acts to achieve intimacy during celibacy? Now… what are some fun activities to partake in like ethnic cooking classes?