I’m glad you joined us for the Saturday installment of Tending Our Vineyard — code for exploring the wonderful and bewildering world of differences in the way men and women approach intimacy.

He craves physical intimacy. You desire emotional intimacy. And when each serves the other in love, somehow the needs of each are met, and there is indescribable and beautiful union, connection, intimacy, and LOVE (with fireworks, chemistry, lightning bolts!).

In the early days this was easy. You longed to express your love to him, to give him your whole self, to become one in intimacy. It was easy because he worked really hard to emotionally connect with you. And you responded to him. Remember those days? Flowers, love notes, long chats on the phone, sweet simple things he did to show you how much he adored you.

Then came the kids, and the bills, and the cares and worries, and the wrinkles, and the tired headaches, and tense muscles. And now when he reaches out, you withdraw.

Somewhere in the years of ’til death do us part, we tend to lose sight of the mystical magic, and what was once natural and effortless becomes a major obstacle and a contributor to marital discord and disappointment and lack of fulfillment. Suddenly you realize. . . “I don’t understand him, and he doesn’t have a clue about me.”

And he doesn’t NOT meet your needs on purpose, but the same curse that keeps you from complete intimacy with him, robs him of the ability to be emotionally intimate with you, and you both might be suffering from misunderstanding of the needs of the other and faulty thinking about what true intimacy is — naked and unashamed — emotionally, physically — the coming together of the differences of both into the unity of — one flesh.

What if you could respond to him with no memory of the history of hurts and the failures, the shortcomings of shame? What if when he approached you, there were no barriers, no fig leaves of failure to cover the embarrassed feelings of inadequacy? What if instead of barriers, there was a baring of souls, instead of pulling away, there was a pull of attraction, a magnetism stronger than nuclear fusion?

What if there was an attraction of magnetic proportions so that when he made a proposal, you moved toward him in response? He craves your response to him. He desires you, but he doesn’t always know how to reach you. Sometimes he gives up trying because the repeated failure is more than he can bear.

Someone has to break the cycle, to cross the barrier. And it’s easier for you to make the first move — because — well — because you’re reading this, and he’s not!

Response is a cycle. . . a circle. . .  what goes around, comes around.

It’s like the water cycle:  evaporation, condensation, precipitation, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, evaporation, condensation, precipitation. . . over and over and over. . . and over . . . again. . . and again. . .

couple walking in the rain

You respond physically to him, he responds emotionally to you . . .

Here’s another example about the power of response:

“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord — “I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.'” Hosea 2:21-23

Wow! Response is powerful! It’s the difference between famine and abundance!

Are you experiencing famine or abundance in your marriage at this particular season? God created marriage as the one place where two people can enjoy abundance within the covenant of two becoming one. And if there is famine of intimacy, it can be alleviated by the power of response.

It’s a big circle. What goes around comes around. If you turn around, turn toward him, or run to him, you can meet together in a thunderclap of sonic boom proportions! Break the sound barrier, by overcoming the intimacy-barrier. Realize that his maleness is different than your femaleness, and that it doesn’t have to be a handicap — it can be a beautiful vive la difference of lightening bolts meeting in a clash of exciting and thunderous energy!

The power of your response to him can be supersonic! Instead of reacting to him today, try responding to him! It’s subtle, but powerful.  As subtle as the difference between a desert and an oasis.

Bring on the rain!