Monday, September 29, 2008

Chapter 12 - Preparing For Intimacy


Future Husband Application

" My Beloved is mine and I am His."

Song of Songs 2:16

Is it even possible to go through life in this day and age without getting your heart broken at least once? Very rarely I'm sure. As much as we know we're not supposed to, girls are apt to give away their heart way too soon. And while some of you are better with keeping your emotions under control (you are extremely blessed!) the rest of us must try to heal our broken hearts with the help of our ever-loving Prince.

"If you have ever had your heart broken, recently or in the past, it is crucial that you allow your Prince to fully heal the traumatic effects of that experience before you can be ready for true intimacy - both with Him and with your future spouse...And yet, if you let Him, your Prince is able to fully restore you, to completely mend each fragment of your fractured heart."

Practical Steps for a Broken Heart

Healing of a broken heart is a personal issue, however Leslie Ludy gives a couple of suggestions (they're good ones!). With your Prince's help, the insecurity and doubt that comes with a broken heart will be replaced with an unshakable confidence and beautiful radiance.

Soul Searching.

A good place to start is to prayerfully think through each aspect of the painful experience. She lists some questions in the book to ask yourself, a couple of them are:
-
Did I ever cling to tightly to the relationship for security or affirmation?
- Did I ever put the relationship before Jesus Christ?
- Did I allow my emotions to lead the way?

Asking yourself these questions will help you see if there was anything in your part of the relationship that needs to be made right. This is a very important step, understanding that the other person is not completely to blame will help keep us from bitterness and anger.

Getting the Prince's Perspective.

An amazing step toward healing can be to spend some time focused on finding Christ's perspective on things rather than be blinded by your own emotional view. Leslie suggests finding a secluded place, quieting your mind and reading the tender words that the bridegroom speaks to his bride, found in the Song of Songs. I can't wait to try this. When you read the words, realize that your Prince is speaking to you, His cherished princess.

"Instead of allowing the careless actions or words of others to shape your perception of who you are, allow your self-image to be shaped only by the reality of your Prince's sacrificial, unconditional, timeless love for you...Allow your Prince's perspective to become yours as well."

Talking with a Teammate.

Another wonderful act of healing is to ask God to show you someone who can help you work through any emotions that you may have. For me, this is my mom. We work through things together. I'm not very good at verbalizing my feelings, so often I just go without, but my mom knows how to get it out of me so that I don't bottle it up, which can be dangerous.

"Often the simple act of verbalizing the pain you are going through can go a long way in helping you heal."


Your teammate should be someone you trust, someone you respect and someone who has built their life around Christ. This person needs to be someone that you want to take advice from. And someone to listen.


Relational Intimacy

The word "intimacy" often means different things to different people. Some look at intimacy as a real emotional connection, others may think of a good physical relationship, while still others consider intimacy only being "with" someone longer than a month. But there is so much more to true intimacy than the emotional, physical or mental aspects of a relationship. Intimacy is knowing someone at the deepest level possible.


"True intimacy is sharing life with someone at the deepest level, knowing someone completely, and being known completely in return."


True intimacy is complete trust and vulnerability. Christ doesn't approach us with the "temporary relationship" mentality used by so many around us. He won't leave us when we fail, when we show our imperfections. He will not stay with us for 10 years or so and then leave us for something new. His love is unconditional and it is on that love that a marriage should be based. The marriage that lasts is the one that is based on the unconditional marriage between Christ and his bride, us, the Church.

"It is not based on our performance. It is not based on our perfection. It is not based on fleeting emotion or feeling. It is based on His choice, His decision to be completely faithful to us no matter what - even at the expense of His blood. True intimacy can only be discovered with this kind of commitment at the core."

The Beauty of Spiritual Oneness

A good rule of thumb when developing intimacy in a relationship:

"To experience intimacy in its fullness, it should be built in three stages - spiritual oneness, emotional oneness, and then physical oneness in marriage. It is important not to rush to the next stage until the previous one has been previously established."

Practical Steps for Spiritual Oneness

Savor a Season of Friendship.

Let Christ lead your relationship, not emotions. When emotions run rampant, two things happen. One, spiritual oneness cannot be developed. And two, physical temptation becomes harder to control.

Keep an Open Hand

One of the best ways to keep Christ at the center is to keep an open hand at all times.


"Whenever we start to cling to tightly to a friendship, a relationship, or even the desire for a relationship, we must take a step back, examine our hearts, and entrust the pen back to the Author of romance."

The Making of Poets by Eric Ludy

Last time Eric wrote in the book, he talked about the making of warriors. There are two parts of a man, the warrior and the poet. Here's the part about the man who is a poet.

A poet, in this sense, is more than just a writer of rhymes and prose. A true poet is more than just a man with a pen writing down verses.

"A true poet writes poetry with his very life. A true poet doesn't use poetic devices to con the heart of a woman but uses the beauty of all that is poetic to serve, cherish, and express love to the heart of a woman."

Just as the warrior is not a conqueror of femininity but a protector, a poet isn't a just a wooer of a woman's heart, but knows hot to nurture and plant love in a woman's heart.

"Simply put, a true poet is a man who knows how to be intimate with a lover - first a foremost with Christ."

Intimacy involves the blending of five very important ingredients: the ability to listen, the ability to be tender, the ability to enjoy the journey (move at Christ's pace, not his own), the ability to be thoughtful, and the ability to cultivate stillness.

The Art of Guy-Nudging

For a woman to train a guy to be a poet, she must use the rare (and sometimes difficult) art of guy-nudging. Guy-nudging is completely different from nagging (Proverbs says its better to live in the corner of your roof than with a nagging wife) and pressuring; its understanding how a man works and blending that knowledge with patience, gentleness, and quite a bit of creativity (sweetness while your at it is always a plus!).

Putting It Into Action

Four things we can do right now to help our brothers in Christ to be true poets:

1. Be tender.

Tenderness is giving to someone what they need the most in the moment they most need it.

2. Be a guy-nudger

3. Be willing to be unappreciated.

After a guy makes that leap and does that thing you've been encouraging them in, don't turn around and give them an "I told you so". They will either backslide or just shun you out of their life. Allow yourself to be unappreciated. He may thank you, but if not, that's OK, our security and confidence comes from our Prince, right?

4. Be a defender of masculinity.

Warrior-poets may be scarce, but that doesn't mean they can't reemerge into society. We as young women can help make that happen. C'mon, sisters, lets take the challenge!

Epilogue

Yes, this wonderful book is over. But you, my blog friends, should read it yourself! I wish I could've just copied the whole book down for you, it was so rich with encouragement and wisdom. However, plagerism is not something I wanted to dip into, so I had to pick and choose what I would say. But PLEASE read it yourself. I would also suggest Leslie Ludy's new book, Set Apart Femininity. I'm in chapter one and already super encouraged!

Here is Leslie's final challenge:

"My challenge to you is to become one of those few in this generation: a set-apart young woman who allows the passionate intimacy she experiences with her Prince to completely transform every other area of her life. This kind of fairy-tale romance between a young woman and her true Prince does not come without sacrifice. It does not come without pain. But it is the most priceless gift we will ever be offered. And it is the most beautiful, fulfilling existence we could ever know or imagine.

Our heroic Prince is with us. He is tenderly shaping us into His princess - lilies among thorns in this generation. In His presence is the fullness of joy. Let's live for His applause alone."


2 comments:

God's Princess said...

Thanks for sharing :-)

Mary said...

Just as the warrior is not a conqueror of femininity but a protector, a poet isn't a just a wooer of a woman's heart, but knows hot to nurture and plant love in a woman's heart.

If you don't mind, I would like to put that quote on fb