Stop Saving Intimacy For Marriage

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“Kiss your friends faces more.
Destroy the belief that intimacy must be reserved for monogamous relationships
Be more loving
Embrace platonic intimacy
Embrace vulnerability
Use emotionality as a radical tactic against a society which teaches you that emotions are a sign of weakness
Tell more people you care about them
Hold their hands
Tell others you are proud of them
Offer support readily
Take care of the people around you”

-Lora Mathis

I think we’ve done ourselves a disservice by glorifying marriage and monogamy as much as we have. I say this because I am someone who has done just this throughout my life. And while I’m a strong believer in the beauty of marriage and the transformative power of being in a committed, long-term, monogamous relationship, I have also come to believe in the absolute necessity of dispersing the love and intimacy so many of us reserve for marriage amongst our friends, siblings, parents, and other close relationships.

The reason for this is 3-fold.

The first reason is marriage was never meant to be the one-stop, all-fulfilling role in your life. Your partner could never possibly be your all-in-one lover, best friend, therapist, co-parent, business coach, financial consultant, workout buddy, etc. It’s unrealistic and it’s too much pressure and it’s also limiting to your experience as a human to not receive the gifts of relationship in a multi-faceted way. I know that I set myself up for failure when I think of all the ways my partner will someday fulfill me and meet so many needs at once. While I probably recognize the beauty and need for my friends to fill these different roles more so while I am single, I won’t stop needing them just because I get married, I will always need these other relationships and aspects in my life and so it’s beneficial to keep investing in them always.

The second reason is because it heals ourselves and others when we practice radical vulnerability and intimacy with many and not just with one. And by many I don’t mean every single person you pass on the sidewalk. I mean your close, trusted people who are walking side by side in life with you. We need to experience that gift in our lives and other people witnessing it need to experience the availability of it to them as well. We often get to see pictures of happy, loving couples and hear about the impact their partner has made on them. We don’t often get to see pictures of close girlfriends holding hands and kissing each others cheeks and hearing about the ways in which their love for one another has absolutely transformed them into a better person. It’s the reason I share so many lovey pics with my best friend Kelsey. For starters, I want her to know how much she means to me, and I want others to see more pictures of loving, affectionate platonic relationships.

The third reason is the same tenet I always seem to find myself returning to: looking at my life now for the ways in which I’m already receiving the things I previously thought I was waiting to receive in the future. Here are just some of the things I wish we all could start practicing a little more of in our lives:

Be naked around your girlfriends
Be vulnerable physically and emotionally
Send your friends hot pictures of yourself just because you like them and want to share them
Walk arm in arm with your friends
Tell more friends you love them, including opposite-sex friendships, that word belongs in way more places than just romantic relationships
Share a dark, shameful secret with a friend, marriage isn’t the only place those are safe to come out
Ask for spiritual guidance from a friend, business guidance, financial guidance. Tap into your different friends’ resources
Have sleepovers with your friends
Invite people over for breakfast
Have a weekly standing date with a friend
Go on a tropical vacation with a girlfriend
Go to Paris with a girlfriend
Go to Paris alone
Share an insecurity with a friend
Wear a sexy date night outfit out to dinner with a friend
Split the dessert together
Play with your friends hair when watching a movie
Snuggle
Tuck your feet under their’s when you’re having a heart to heart on the couch
Volunteer with your friends
Have deep, philosophical conversations with your friends
Have silly, superficial conversations with your friends
Go furniture shopping together
Create a beautiful home with a roommate
Create a beautiful home for yourself
Ask for hugs when you need them
Ask for someone to bring you soup or medicine when you’re sick
Tell your friends you’re proud of them
Celebrate milestones together
Create celebrations around big and small life achievements and invite others into these
Make fondue with a girlfriend and eat dinner in on a rainy night
Take a spontaneous weekend getaway with a friend
Compliment and care for your friends
Receive compliments and care in return from your friends

I absolutely understand why there’s so much more literature, advice, articles, books, and attention out there on romantic couples over friendship, but I’m also just trying to be one of the voices that changes that a little bit. And that reminds us that it’s good and important to experience depth and intimacy in our friendships and non-romantic relationships. Intimacy isn’t just waiting for us at the end of the aisle, we can choose to fully embrace it now, with the people right in front of us, and our lives will be all the richer because of it.

All my love to you friends,
Sara B.

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