Within the soul of every human being there is an innate thirst to know, and to be known. To love and to be loved. We all have it. This desire rests under our skin and inspires our behaviors, our cravings, and our emotions. It is the rudder by which we steer our lives. This thirst is the reason we choose relationships.
Every relationship – whether friendship, or parental, or mentorship, or marriage – is a reflection of this sacred wiring. God created relationships to manifest Love. And this creation was good. So good, in fact, that He replicated it over and over within His creation.
He etched it into our hearts.
The very fact that we hunger for such connection is a mirroring of our Creator.
God, Himself, wants to know and to be known. He created the world – to know and to be known. He created man and woman, to know and to be known. He delights in the mystery and the adventure of learning a heart while simultaneously being learned.
He enjoys the process of relationship.
We were designed, first and foremost, to be in relationship with Him.
The Bible is a story of how God designed humans to be in relationship with Him. God created man and woman to walk in perfect relationship with Him. He created man and woman to know and to be known by Him. Through this relationship, He exposes the most powerful energy – Love.
Those who are familiar with Genesis know that man and woman were tempted by evil. They chose evil over good and the result was brokenness in their relational bond with God and one another. God would not be around evil. Because He is Love.
One would have to delve into the Bible to know the full story. Ultimately, God desired for that relational bond to be restored. He sent His son, Jesus, to pay a price for the evil choices of mankind. And through that sacrifice, His relationship with mankind was restored. Forever. He was so angry that evil had broken His most cherished relationship that He defeated evil itself.
The author of romance. This was the first love story – and one that has been repeated in different forms and fashion throughout history. Through the halls of high school to the scripts of Hollywood, it is a storyline to which we continue to return. It is our “deep cries to deep” – it answers the “why” of our hearts.
While all relationships are sacred privileges, and we all crave relationships of various sorts, this month I will be focusing on romantic relationships.
Romantic relationships reach into our hearts and draw out the deepest and most inherent desire of men and women. A desire God carved into our hearts when He originally created us:
the desire to know and to be known at an intimate level.
The desire to be intimately connected to another person is natural. It is godly. It is good.
God knit our human hearts together with this sacred craving as a gift. It is a gift that teaches us, grows us, excites us, and strengthens us.
This gift also kills us. To become intimately connected with another person the way God calls us to be requires us to lay our lives down and die to ourselves. It requires us to take risks.
Though fun, thrilling, audacious, and fulfilling, intimate relationships are hard. Even the process of beginning and growing these relationships can be mysterious.
He knows the craving of our hearts, and He knows what it will take to truly satisfy our longing. He longs for us to guard our hearts in the process of learning to love. He inspires us to save the deepest places of our hearts, our minds and our bodies for the one who promises us his or her forever.
Should we operate outside of His boundaries, we set ourselves up for heartache and dissatisfaction. We compromise what could be.
The sacred craving for romantic relationships planted deep in our hearts is a fragile, beautiful and holy desire.
God created this craving to be fulfilled in a specific way, by one man or one woman. By a person who protects, cherishes, respects, and commits to us.
Heartache and brokenness result from relationships in which the level of commitment is unequal to the level of emotional and physical investment.
Ultimate commitment is marriage, therefore ultimate physical and emotional investment should be reserved for that covenant. When these elements are in balance, the true potential of romance can bloom.
I have met countless women in therapy who have slept with more men than they could count. They diluted the palpable love available through covenant by giving away their bodies through shallow sex over and over again. This left them feeling empty and alone. They struggled with overwhelming self-doubt and low self-esteem. They had difficulty discerning why their craving for intimate connection could not be fulfilled.
Did you know there is more than one word used for “sex” in the Bible?
The first time sex is mentioned in Scripture it is called yada, which means “to know, to be known, and to be deeply respected” (Genesis 4:1). This very word demonstrates that the original intent of a sexual encounter was more than simply a physical act. It was a deeply emotional one.
The other word used for sex is used in casual sexual encounters. In these contexts the word used is shakab (often paired with sikba), which means “an exchange of bodily fluids.”
Gross. I do not want to simply exchange bodily fluids with my mate. I want to yada. Our hearts and bodies crave yada. And the way to land in a place of yada is through a balanced and gradual process of getting to know your partner and moving toward a life long covenant.
All relationships are hard.
We are not all called to be in romantic relationships. Some of us are called to spend a season of our life single. Some of us are called by God to spend our entire lives single! In fact, in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul urges us to remain single, informing us of how difficult intimate, life-long covenant with a human can be.
God speaks to us through all relationships, not just romantic ones.
He will speak to our hearts through our relationship with friends, our parents, our pets, our siblings, and nature. If you are single, do not be dismayed. The enemy of our souls delights in using the month of February to steal joy from some people. So silly, but so true.
Pray for eyes to see God’s romantic love for you in this season. Allow Him to romance you through the sunset, or the soft snowfall, or the yummy cup of coffee, or the silly way your dog greets you after work. Give God permission to romantically pursue you this month, and celebrate the fact that the author of Love, Himself, is your Valentine.
If you are in a romantic relationship allow God to use this season to have intentional conversations with your partner about Love – about yada – and about your plan for making great space for yada in your relationship based on where you are right now.
If dating or engaged, perhaps that means discussing physical and emotional boundaries and ways to anticipate the future together. If married, maybe that means recalibrating physical and emotional intimacy.
This season of Love does not have to be a Hallmark quip, it can be a season during which we thank God for this craving to know and to be known, and allow Him to touch our hearts and our relationships in a special way.