My pastor is fond of saying the following: Intimacy leads to conflict, and conflict, well handled, leads to more intimacy.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot. Is that true? There’s just interesting (to me) implications if it is. If there’s conflict in a relationship, there may or may not be intimacy, you don’t necessarily know whether intimacy was the cause. Like, casual enemies conflict a lot, doesn’t mean they’re intimate. But if intimacy necessarily leads to conflict, then a lack of conflict necessarily means there’s a lack of intimacy.

Which is kinda counterintuitive to me. I naturally tend to think a relationship is “better” if there’s less conflict. But the goal of a relationship should be intimacy, not “peace”, so the absence of any conflict at all must then be a bad thing, an indication of lack of intimacy.

I dunno, I’m still thinking things through, but I think I’m realizing a lot of things about myself. Like I’ve realized that I define a lot of things in a negative sense rather than a positive. In other words, in my mind, a relationship is good if there’s an absence of certain things, like no conflict, no burden, etc. The less those things are there, the better the relationship is. Which I think is kinda screwed up. It should really be measured in terms of the presence of things, like intimacy, trust, whatever.

So like, I’m super conflict averse, because in my mind, one measure of a relationship is the level of conflict. But I think that’s fundamentally flawed thinking. The real measure is the presence of intimacy, of which conflict is both a necessary result and means, so my avoiding conflict at all costs is in certain cases counterproductive, not helpful.

I think that’s at least partly why I’m bad at keeping in touch also. To me, no conflict = good, so as long as we’re not fighting or whatever, all my relationships are hunky dory great, no need to do more.

Anyway, yeah, interesting realizations going on.