Don’t Confuse Harmony With Intimacy

She was walked down an aisle–the aisle, scattered with colorful fall leaves by a dad who prayed for her and for that moment from the time she was born. The sky was brilliant blue. Her mom and dad, both godly and faithful, gave her away. Family and friends watched with misty eyes as vows were shared and the symbolic two color sand was poured into the vase. Layer upon layer the sand represented lives impossible to separate. The supernatural exchange when two becomes one. Every detail had been attended to, and both the bride and groom, like every bride and groom through the ages, entered this new chapter of life with every intention of a marriage that would stand the test of time.

Just weeks earlier a group of women, young and old, sat in a beautiful home and lavished gifts of kitchen supplies for her home and advice for her heart. One by one we shared out of our experience and our hopes for her future with her soon-to-be husband.

This is a paraphrased version of what I remember sharing:

Don’t confuse harmony with intimacy.* Marriage is hands down the hardest relationship you will ever experience. Just because two people love God and each other doesn’t make for an automatically “good” marriage. It takes work and intentionality. You may be tempted to “just  get along” and think that you have a good marriage. The danger of pursuing harmony is that getting along may be at the expense of sharing what you want, what you need and most important who you REALLY are. A good marriage is one that is marked by intimacy. Intimacy is knowing and being known deeply. And it’s messy. It often involves conflict. And vulnerability. It’s risky. Humbling. Sometimes scary. It takes an investment of TIME to listen, untangle, explore, understand, reconcile. But intimacy is incredibly worthwhile. Your marriage is worth fighting for. True harmony comes from the hard work of pursuing intimacy. Don’t settle for short cuts.

And so the challenge for them, for me, for us, is to pursue intimacy in our relationships. Invest the time, the hard work of knowing and being known. A relationship book I have found to be helpful and recommend highly is “How We Love” by Milan and Kay Yerkovich.

What are your thoughts about harmony and intimacy?

*I’ve been sharing this little nugget at bridal showers the last two years. Truth is, it was Leila (of the Awesome Threesome) that came up with the initial idea. She is ever wise in the relationship department. I have taken her thoughts and elaborated a bit and then woven in some of my own. But trust me, if you want incredible relational insight, seek this amazing woman out. I can’t tell you how my life has been enriched because of her wisdom, example, and deep love for God. Those of you privileged to know her can attest to these truths.

This post is dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Matt and Nicole Harrelson with love and prayers. May you enjoy a marriage that enjoys true harmony because of deep intimacy….


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6 thoughts on “Don’t Confuse Harmony With Intimacy

  1. As a newlywed of 6 tender weeks, this is a GREAT encouragement–it is so tempting to to stuff it for the sake of “harmony”. Thanks, Viv!

    • Judy, Happy 6 weeks!! So happy for you and this new chapter that you are embarking on with your husband! Your wedding pictures and your radiant smile brings joy to my heart! Whether six weeks or 20 years the challenge remains for us to move past the temptation to stuff and move into the deeper waters of truly knowing and being known. I need the reminder and encouragement over and over. Thanks for reading and commenting. It means so much coming from a seasoned writer like you.

  2. Vivian…your words are both beautiful and bold. They inspire me as I begin to seek what kind of woman God is molding me to be in preparation to be a loving woman and wife to an incredible man one day. I am so grateful to have met you and plan on sharing these heartfelt words with friends and family. I am so encouraged as well as challenged by this post…perhaps my favorite part is when you talk about love and intimacy being “risky, vulnerable, messy…” I am already beginning to understand a twinge of what this looks like. Be blessed, as you are a blessing.

    • So wonderful to hear from you, Kelly! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Took awhile to get back to this post. Started it the night before the wedding and then life kept rolling along. Love and intimacy and LIFE (living rather than just existing) is risky, vulnerable and messy, but I’m finding that it’s worth it to go this route rather than go with “keeping up appearances.” This would be a great conversation to continue over coffee, eh?. :) I sincerely hope our paths will cross again. Let me know if you come down this way.

  3. Vivian, I can’t believe I never commented on this post when you wrote it last year! Thank you so much for such a beautiful, thoughtful message to Matt and I. I remember sharing your words with Matt after the bridal shower, and it is something that we have never forgotten. In fact, when we were counseling a couple over Skype whom Matt married this past summer (crazy that newlyweds were counseling newly engaged), this is the first piece of advice we shared with them. Our first year of marriage definitely hasn’t been one of complete harmony, but rather one that has striven for intimacy and realness thanks to your and Darrin’s wise counseling to us. We love you so much, miss you, and are so thankful to have you both in our lives!

    • Happy One Year Anniversary, Mrs. Harrelson!! Wonderful to hear from you. Love you and Matt and excited for all the adventures you two will have in the coming years. Can’t wait to see you “in human” next time you’re down this way. :)

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