True friendship of various kinds
Is made where collective minds
Run toward loving things
Like mutual respect and the trust it brings.
Four steps can be taken
Where neither person’s forsaken:
To accept and to value and to belong,
Then feelings of intimacy cannot be wrong.
RELATIONSHIPS are made and are broken through an intertwining patchwork quilt of respect and trust, or a lack thereof. And the key to achieving a seamless sort of respect and trust is the achievement of intimacy between two, whether they be a married couple, an employee and an employer, or between friends.
Relationships cannot get to first base without a basic level of trust and respect earned. Without trust and respect conflict is inevitable and relational damage is bound to occur. With trust and respect, conflict, whilst it will still be inevitable, will be the vehicle for the enhancement of both trust and respect.
TRUST & RESPECT = INTIMACY
Now that we acknowledge what builds and sustains intimacy, let’s look at the building blocks of intimacy so far as relational investment is concerned.
The Base Importance of Acceptance
Acceptance and rejection are the most powerful voices for and against relationships. Where there is even a hint of a delay in accepting someone, that person may perceive it as rejection; that’s how powerful a force it is. But where we make a special effort to ensure the person we are in relationship with feels accepted – completely as they are, as we model God’s grace toward them – they will feel accepted. First base has been made safely.
The Secondary Importance of Valuing Another
When people feel accepted their eyes look for evidence that they are also valued. Being valued is about being recognised in small yet significant ways that are meaningful to the person who feels valued. Evidence of being valued is a confirmation of true acceptance. Second base has been made.
The Tertiary Importance of Creating Belonging
When people feel accepted and valued they feel like they belong. And where people feel they belong they earnestly seek to contribute meaningfully to the relationship and to the goals of the relationship. Where a person is accepted and valued, where they feel they belong, there is a rich vein of trust and respect that ebbs and flows, and a seminary of intimacy thrives, and both cohabit in relationship and grow together. Third base is taken, and the home run is but steps away.
Acceptance is first base, and being valued is making second. We slide into third when we feel we belong. And home base is making all three together, which manifests as intimacy – the place where respect is implicit and trust abounds.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.