Three short sentences have the capacity to break down relational barriers and push aside relational obstacles. They can help us remember connection, restore us to caring, and return us to intimacy. Intimacy is the ability and willingness to let someone “into-me-see,” meaning that trust is present. Intimacy is the connection that humans are born to experience, as it fills the two great needs of belonging and mattering.
The words are so simple. Yet they speak to the deepest regions of our hearts. The three sentences are:
I love you.
“I love you,” says I’m interested in your interests, hunger to know how you think and feel, what you desire. It says that I enjoy your presence, and I’m willing to stand up for you and to you. I’m willing to go through hurt and heartache with you and even because of you.
“I’m sorry,” says that in spite of love, I am a work in progress, with the capacity to harm with words and deeds, even with intent to wound. When I see and feel the pain of having wounded someone I love, sorrow comes to me in regret and desire to heal the wound. To speak our sorrow has in it the possibility of a return to trust, and a return to intimacy. Our sorrow can actually be a balm to the heart we wounded. “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix. It opens the door to healing.
“Thank you,” says I have gratitude for what has been given to me or done for me. Gratitude actually means that we are thankful for having received a gift. A gift is something given to us that we have not paid for. People who express gratitude are humble people because they know that they are receiving something that cannot be earned or purchased. “Thank you” expresses appreciation for someone offering and risking their own heart.
These three sentences are invitations to intimacy. Not only are they invitations, they are doorways to connection and fulfillment. Without intimacy we are not just lonely. We are alone. We are not created for aloneness.