click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Join 400,000 Aish subscribers
Get Email Updates




Principles of the Soul: #11 - Marriage and True Intimacy

Principles of the Soul: #11 - Marriage and True Intimacy

Intimacy is ever-present and waiting to emerge as soon as the ego gets out of the way.

by

Here's another small peek into the inner workings of the very fabric of the universe: It's all a metaphor.

The entire physical world is a metaphor created specifically to understand the nature of the spiritual world. The deeper we probe the metaphor, the more clearly we will understand what the metaphor represents.

Our relationships with our spouses most closely approximate our relationship with God.

The metaphor given to us that most closely approximates our relationship with God is the relationship we have with our spouse. If we want to understand what it is to be intimate with God, we need to simply understand what it takes to be intimate with each other.

People have a large misconception about intimacy. Most people talk about "building intimacy," as if closeness is something that doesn't already exist. Wrong. Remember, the Torah teaches that you and your spouse are one soul, which means you're intimate even if you don't want to be.

So why don't you feel so intimate? One reason and one reason only. Your egos are in the way. Just like when you remove your ego from the picture your soul bobs immediately to the surface of your consciousness, when you remove your ego from your interaction with your spouse you suddenly get this sweet feeling of closeness and love, without doing or saying anything.

Thing is, that experience of intimacy was always there, but you couldn't experience it because of your anger, preoccupation, frustration, fear ... (you can fill in the blank).

Sound simple? That's because it is.

The same is true with feeling close to God.

Earlier in this series, we explored the idea that the soul is the breath of God. (Put your ear close to the monitor for a second.)

 

YOU'RE ALWAYS CLOSE TO GOD!

 

Your soul, your essence is a spark of God Himself.

If you don't feel so close God, try moving away from your ego and see what happens. The moment you stop thinking about yourself and put your attention on the inherent connection - boom!

 

THAT'S JUST THE FIRST STEP

 

The removing of the ego and uncovering of the soul is only the first step to intimacy, even though it is primary to the human experience. After this, intimacy must be nurtured and strengthened by demonstrating acts of love and making sacrifices. The Hebrew word for love, ahavah, comes from the root 'hav' which means to "give." Without giving there is no love.

The following is a short illustration of how this works with couples:

Harold and Fern have been fighting for almost thirty years. Fern is constantly nagging Harold and trying to get him to change. Harold feels Fern is just out for herself and isn't sensitive to his needs. They've tried therapy, communication workshops, seminars, nothing works. It finally gets so bad that they decide to sleep in separate bedrooms. One day soon after Fern learns she has terminal cancer. The doctors give her thirty days to live. There is no cure.

Suddenly Harold and Fern's relationship transforms. They find themselves sharing the most intimate moments. The fighting and criticisms vanish. Harold is constantly at Fern's side. They feel incredibly close. They cry about all the time they wasted not getting along.

Twenty-eight days later the doctors call Fern and apologize for a terrible mistake. She was misdiagnosed. All she had was the flu.

Within in a month the fighting and nagging is at an all-time high.

What happened?

When they thought Fern was sick, they both instantly dropped their egos from their relationship. What was left was two souls united. They felt close without any work at all. What they had was the pure experience of each other as they truly were. Then, as Harold began to give to Fern, that intimacy grew deeper and deeper.

Humbly relate to your partner and you will feel more connected than you ever dreamed.

As soon as they realized they had each other for life again in walked their egos.

Save yourself years of wasted life. Look for the opportunity to humbly relate to your partner without your ego and you will feel more connected than you ever dreamed.

 

SUGGESTED EXERCISES

 

The next time you feel deeply close with your spouse, become aware that this was only possible, because you aren't focused at all on yourself. Realize that this feeling is available to both of you at any time.

Conversely, the next time you are feeling distant from each other, ask yourself where your ego has worked itself in. Know that the only way to get back to the recognition of your innate intimacy is to blast your ego into the netherworld.

 

Published: May 13, 2000


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Crystal Chava G., September 7, 2002 12:00 AM

beautiful!

I love the feeling of trueness from this article. I'm not yet married, but with this knowledge, I hope to start and continue,...etc. with a union of my spouse's and my souls forever. I feel close to God as it is, and to continue my closeness to God still through marriage by keeping close to my spouse, is a beautiful way to live. Thank you for this article of awearness, for my future.

(3) julie, February 15, 2002 12:00 AM

Very well put. My parents faught for years and then split up only to both mourn what could have been. Why, because they realized how selfish and demanding they both had been. Reading this makes it plainly clear what the real cause of hardships are, not something someone did or didn't do, but simply thinking only from their own perspective and not their spouses.
ThanQ

(2) Anonymous, June 10, 2001 12:00 AM

mindblowing approach

Sounds so true and yet so simple
I'de like to read more about it.
Is there a book on the subject or more
articles. Please let me know.

(1) susan rice, May 17, 2000 12:00 AM

Helpful article that makes sense when I needed it!

Who is the Rabbi Chaim Levine that wrote this article? I haven't felt a connection with a rabbi in a long time!

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub
Sign up today!