I leaned in close to my beautiful Karen. Her back was resting against the railing that separated us from the waterfall. This was the girl I would spend the rest of my life with, and I knew it. Earlier, we had walked through the small New York town of Rush. We held hands and laughed. We dreamed and ate chocolate. Now we were hidden from the whole world beneath the fir trees, our very own secret hideaway. And we kissed. It was sweet, magical, beautiful, tender, affectionate, promising—all the things a good kiss should be. And in that moment, I knew Jesus and encountered my Father’s love like I never had before. Karen is my favorite, I love her best.
One of the reasons I married Karen was because I needed her, every part of her. As Jerry McGuire said so well, “She completes me.”
It’s the truth. It’s a healthy absolute. I am truly lost without her. I need her mind, her compassion, her patience, her wisdom, her revelation, her smile…
And it isn’t wrong to need her. But if our relationship were built solely on needs met, it would eventually collapse into a legal partnership, a business relationship, a sterile agreement to cohabitation. If needs met is what defines our interactions, at some point our love will grow apathetic and cold, at some point we will fall out of love.
If I only interacted with Karen when I needed her, it would break her heart. My need would become dysfunctional.
Marriage is meant to be an intimate covenant of love. When love is at the center of a relationship, it’s not about what I can get out of it; it’s about what I can give. And the generous truth in this relationship is not only are needs met, but needs are exceeded in the measureless abundance of love.
If Karen and I only loved each other because of needs met, we would miss out on intimacy. Intimacy is the greatest expression of love between two people. I am not just writing about the physical either. Intimacy is available in every aspect of a relationship where love is the foundation.
Intimacy is way bigger then needs met. It is about revelation. Karen and I have been married nearly twenty years and she is more fascinating to me today than yesterday. The more I know her, the more I want to know her. The wonder of intimacy is the discovery of a measureless love.
Revelation, in the context of a love relationship, will always lead to a greater intimacy.
Just so, if we only love God for what He can do for us, if our love solely revolves around needs met, our love will grow stale, lukewarm. And if we aren’t in a growing discovery of love, received and given, we will end up relating to Him through a dysfunctional need.
I’m convinced God’s greatest desire isn’t that we need Him, it’s that we love Him. Jesus didn’t tell us to need “the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). He said we were to love.
God perfectly values our need; it’s a healthy part of our relationship with Him. But as we grow in relationship, as we grow in intimacy, need becomes less the language by which He desires to relate with us. As we grow in God’s love, we begin to understand He doesn’t just want a relationship defined by needs met, He wants to be our best friend, He desires intimacy.
Need will always be a healthy beautiful part of my relationship with God but I am leaning into a greater revelation, a truer language—I am convinced that the Christian life and relationship is not meant to solely revolve around needs met, but is instead a daring intimate discovery of love.
Jason Clark is a singer/songwriter, author, speaker, and pastor. Jason’s passion is to know the love of God more each day. He lives to see a generation step into their identity as sons and daughters of the King and establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Jason’s new book Prone To Love is available now: www.jasonclarkis.com