Friday, July 25, 2014

Breaking the Chains of False Intimacy

Ask yourself the following questions before you begin reading this post:

  • Do you feel like you can share anything with your partner?
  • Do you feel like you completely understand the pain of the past?
  • Do you trust you partner?
  • Are you completely open and intimate with your partner?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, odds are you are pursuing false intimacy. Unlike genuine intimacy, false intimacy gives us the temporary satisfaction of feeling loved, accepted, powerful, or important, but eventually lets us down when reality sets in. Dr. Harry Schaumburg is one of the leading experts on sexual addictions and other behaviors that destroys relationships. Although Dr. Schaumburg's book, False Intimacy, deals primarily with the rooting and causes of sexually addictive behavior, the book also can be used to understand the pitfall and roots of people pursuing false intimacy in place of genuine intimacy. 

Designed primarily to help people overcome addictions to pornography, affairs, and other destructive behavior, Dr. Schaumburg also talks about the causes and roots of why some people resort to this destructive behavior to heal their past wounds and find some sense of intimacy. When people do not understand what intimacy is because of being abused as a child, having a poor parental relationship model, or any other event that would cause intimacy confusion, two responses are common according to Dr. Schaumburg: seeking false intimacy or withdrawing entirely from intimate relationships. 

This book was recommended to me because it can help readers truly understand the roots and perversions of false intimacy and helps readers grow to understand what true intimacy is. Schaumburg argues that most of us at one point or another are the perpetrator of false intimacy. We have all be hurt, disappointed, or confused at one point during our lives and it has led each and every one of us to seek intimacy in satisfaction in a sinful way. Schaumburg states that false intimacy doesn't simply include severe cases of addiction, like viewing pornography or having an affair, but also seemingly minor things, like compulsively fantasizing over romance novels or casually flirting with a coworker. 

To understand what false intimacy is, we need to define what real intimacy is according to God's plan. Real intimacy is what is portrayed in the Garden of Eden between Adam and Eve before the fall of man. The couple lived naked, unashamed, and completely one with one another. 

False intimacy is serpent that comes into our lives and tempts us with false comfort and satisfaction. False intimacy can be rooted in past relationships, pains, and hurts or those of the present. If we have experienced major disappointments or an inability to be intimate with our parents or our early childhood friends, Schaumburg argues that this can be detrimental to our development as an adult with the capacity to be truly intimate. 

I want to briefly share how false intimacy has impacted my life and my side of my relationship with Marisa. I want to put a disclaimer that my sharing of this information is out of humility and I apologize if it offends or saddens you in any way. From around the time my parents got divorced, I have struggled with poor self-esteem and never understood what true intimacy is. I never truly understood what it was because my parents got divorced when I was 12, and much of my early childhood memory of them isn't filled with marital intimacy.  Instead, it's filled with marital disharmony and fighting. I also felt very awkward around my early adolescence because I was a lot taller than my peers and I matured (with a lot of body hair, I might add) significantly faster than any of my peers. This resulted in me being called a 'freak' by a variety of my 'friends' and not being able to make and maintain friendships that I genuinely desired and needed. 

I also had feelings for many of my female classmates around middle school like many guys that age, but I was frequently rejected because of my awkward demeanor and often very gregarious personality. One instance that sticks out in my mind to this very day is when a very attractive classmate of mine whom I had a crush on asked me if I was gay because of my outgoing personality. Ever since this moment, I have had a lot of issues thinking that any woman would genuinely love me, and I've tried to fill the void with destructive attitudes and behavior because of my fear of rejection. 

Without any sort of model for what real intimacy was, I gave into the lies of false intimacy and still struggle to break free. Yet, my past is not an excuse for my continued behavior and sin. My continued negative attitudes and behavior has severely damaged my relationship with Marisa at times. I cannot even begin to imagine how much pain it has caused her. 

IF YOU READ ANYTHING IN THIS POST, READ THIS! The beauty of real intimacy is that although it's hard and it requires a great deal of humility, honesty, and openness, real intimacy embraces you, a sinner, for who you are and loves you even more! This... this has been my relationship with Marisa. We have both shared our struggles with one another and been very hurt at times by things that have occurred. However, we hurt for the other person, not for our own pain, grief, and confusion. Do we have pain from what the other person does? Sure... we are human, after all. Honesty, openness, and total safety are what makes real intimacy work and uplift both people involved! This intimacy was designed by God for parent/child mentoring and eventually husband/wife love. This perfect, real intimacy is modeled after God's desire for an intimate relationship with us! How blessed we are that God loves us and that he shows us how to be truly intimate and truly love!

I must put another disclaimer here: You need to be in a certain place to have real intimacy. You need to be in a place of humility, total love, total acceptance, and you need to completely understand your own problems and past. You need to set aside your own pain, disappointment, and confusion and come to the aid of your partner (or whomever you are intimate with). I have been tremendously blessed, well beyond what I deserve, because of the real intimacy Marisa and I are constantly perfecting. We have had our own issues in our past and we have failed each other. We still have problems embracing real intimacy because setting aside our own pains at times can be hard. However, real intimacy and real love has transformed our lives and makes us certain that we are destined to be together and that we are blessed by our amazing, forgiving, and ever-loving God!

Pray for me, an imperfect sinner, as I journey to break my addiction to false intimacy. I'm praying for you too and encourage you to remove the sources of false intimacy from your life!


We are blessed to hear from so many of our readers! I encourage you to email us at if you have any comments or questions! I also want to open our email to prayer requests for anyone struggling with anything, but especially relationship issues or the pitfalls of false intimacy. We love sharing our experiences with you and hope that you continue with us on our journey. God bless you!

1 comment:

  1. We noticed that this post says Marisa authored this article, but in reality Josh was the author, just in case you didn't catch that.