Love is Pain: Misunderstanding Is The Price of Intimacy

randomlychad  —  July 25, 2011 — 9 Comments
'Let's be friends with benefits' photo (c) 2011, Sarah K - license:

C.S. Lewis said it well when he said that “love is pain.” This is so because love involves risk–the risk of putting one’s heart out there… only to have it stomped on.

Again and again throughout life.

The temptation here is to–like Montresor in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado–wall one’s heart off, thereby insulating it from risk.

This desire for self protection is endemic to our race, but in closing off our hearts we run the (much greater) risk of denying ourselves the joys of intimacy.

This is not necessarily even sexual in nature. What I’m getting at is the intimacy of knowing–and being known. Whether it be in a marriage, or a friendship, how well are you known? How well do you know your friends? Your spouse? How well are you known?

(Please note: I’m not advocating wearing one’s heart on one’s proverbial sleeve, nor I am saying we should continuously reveal our inmost selves to those who repeatedly trash our hearts. Use discernment, find “safe people”).

Let’s take, for example, marriage, and sexual intercourse. Sex in this context is supposed to be the capstone–the pinnacle–of intimacy–of two souls fully knowing, and being known to, each other. Of being “naked and unashamed” on a far more than merely physical level.

Is it always thus? No–but it should be. It’s what it–sex–is designed to be. But as with all of God’s gifts, His “ape”–Satan–has twisted it into various shapes–thereby playing to our basest nature.

The latest of these “shapes” (not at all new–it used to be called fornication)–is the supposed “friends with benefits.” The idea here is that two people, apart from any love, or intimacy, can come together to have commitment-free sex. (Sorry, folks, there is probably no greater oxymoron known to man than this: “commitment-free” sex. Our hearts just don’t work that way. Nor were they designed to).

Because it’s a need, or a biological necessity, or something. But even here, despite the supposed lack of emotional bonds, people are acting out of that deep need–which we all share–to be connected to another. To know, and in turn, be fully known. Oh, they may deny it, but why go to the trouble to have sex at all when, as we all know, sex isn’t strictly necessary to get one’s “rocks off?” Why? It can’t be strictly about the orgasm–as good as they feel–right?

I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

For myself, and I’m laying my cards on the table here, I’ve seen the destructive power of sexuality misused, and abused, via infidelity in my parents’ marriage–and I want none of it.

Do my wife and I have a perfect marriage? Far from it. Am I still taken aback by the monthly mood swing (after almost twenty one years)? Unfortunately so. Does this make me want to withdraw, hide my heart? You bet, but…

I’m old enough now to realize that misunderstanding–and the closer you are to someone, the greater the risk–is the price of intimacy. Love is pain. For the sake of the depth of the relationship I have with my wife, it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

How about you?




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.

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  • Cindy Holman

    Yes. Totally agree. Greg and I celebrate 30 years together in September and we have had our share of ups and downs -- we were in full time ministry for 25 of that so it was a mess at times. Luckily we got out about 2 1/2 years ago due to a situation involving another person -- a good friend -- and it literally saved our marriage to do so. You bet it's a risk -- BIG TIME to love another person and have them see you and love you back -- flaws and all. And I appreciate my husband's ability to love me in spite of my many short comings -- and despite what I have done in the past. His love is unconditional -- even though at times, mine was far from perfect. But love can forgive and sees the other as better than we are -- so glad for this 🙂 Great post, Chad.

    • Wow! 30 years! That's awesome!I bet that took tremendous courage to leave what you after 25 years and step into a new phase together. The love of a good person is truly transformative.You know what's taken me since 1988 to learn? That Jesus took that BIG TIME RISK first. I mean isn't that what Romans 5:8 tells us? “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…”

      • Cindy Holman

        Totally agree. Thanks Chad.

        • You bet! & congratulations!Thanks for the shoutout on G+! Appreciate it.

  • Yup, that’ll do it. You have my appecraiiton.