Today, my god-brother (my god-mother’s son) turns twenty-one. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that I was holding a brand new baby boy in my arms… and now he is grown! As an only child myself, it was a big thrill to gain a god-brother and what “tweenage” girl does not want a baby to carry around?
When I first met him, I was jealous; because, for some strange reason, people seem more interested in playing with babies than ten-year-old girls. However, his cuteness got to me and, in no time, I was a big fan. Until he came along, I did not know how to hold a baby. And until he came along, I did not know that special feeling one gets when one holds a sleeping baby. And until he came along, I had never bonded with a tiny, new human.
I guess you could say that baby changed my perspectives on life. He allowed me to experience the power of connecting with another person. He could not do anything for me, but he still brought me great joy. There is nothing on Earth like having a deep connection with another person. We all desperately need connection.
What is Connection?
What comes to your mind when you think about two items connecting? Do you visualize links in a chain intertwining with each other? Do you see a couple holding hands? The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines connection as: 1) something that joins or connects two or more things: 2) the act of connecting two or more things or the state of being connected: 3) a situation in which two or more things have the same cause, origin, goal, etc.
When I think of connection, I think in terms of weak connections, stable connections, and strong connections. Think of holding hands with a stranger at church during prayer time. More often than not, that would be considered a weak connection. The two parties are touching, but a strong breeze would easily disconnect them. This is where a good number of dating couples find themselves. They are still together, but due to their lack of quality connection (for any number of reasons), their relationship hangs on by a thread.
Stable connections are like the walls of a barn. They are held together tightly as long as there is no tornado or hurricane on the horizon. Even when a strong wind comes, these boards put up a fight; but, in the face of a strong enough storm, even stable connections can be lost. Couples with stable connections are typically pretty good friends and they have invested a lot in each other in the past. They may still be investing in each other now, but perhaps not as much as they should.
Then, there are strong connections. When I think of strong connections, I think of two pieces of metal being welded together. There is no longer two distinct pieces being held together by glue or a nail, but both parts have literally become one item. If a strong wind hit a welded piece of metal, it would likely go flying, but the pieces would not separate. Do you think this is what God intended marriage to be? Two people becoming one, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually (ref. Mark, chapter 10)? All relationships will see some good times and bad times, but those with strong connections (something couples have to continually keep forging together) can stick together even though the fiercest storm or situation.
So, how important is connection?
We All Need Connection
Babies cannot do anything for us. Basically, they are completely helpless; but, they desperately need connection with their caregivers to survive. When you were a baby, you needed hugs, kisses, and cuddles. All babies do because God created them that way! But not only did he create babies with the need for hugs and kisses, but he made them so cute and cuddly that we would want to snuggle, hug, and kiss them! From the very beginning, we humans need to bond with others. And it is not just humanity which needs it.
In the mid-twentieth century, Harry Harlow, an American psychologist, did many experiments with baby monkeys; and, he found that social isolation in the early stages of life caused the monkeys extreme social and emotional problems. In one extremely sad experiment, he created a wire-made “mother” that dispensed milk and a cloth-covered “mother” which did the same. When given the choice, the baby monkeys would spend most of their time with the soft, cuddly mom. Later, he expanded the experiment by leaving one group of baby monkeys solely with a cloth-covered mom and another group of baby monkeys with a cold, wire mom. Both sets of monkeys grew physically at the same rate because the surrogate mothers both dispensed the same amount of milk, but the group of monkeys who did not have the advantage of a cuddly mommy showed signs of extreme social impairment. When frightened by a loud noise, the first group of monkeys would cling to their cloth-covered moms for comfort while the second set of monkeys fell on the floor, clung to themselves, rocked back and forth, and shrieked in utter horror.
As these experiments showed, babies need physical touch and bonding from the very beginning to develop normally. And as we age, we continue to need human relationships. Even those of us who can go days at a time without leaving the house still need to emotionally connect with other people. We need it for our overall health and well-being!
At PreEngaged, we know quality connection is essential to lasting relationships and throughout 2014, we are focusing this year on Deepening Connection! We plan to not only study the importance of connection in romantic and platonic relationships, but to also work on deepening our connection between Eric and I and sharing what we learn this year with all of you!
We also have plans in the works to connect more with our readers and connect more with other bloggers this year. (If you’re an active, Christian, relationship blogger and would like to connect with us, please contact us – we’d love to hear from you!) Stay tuned!
Couples who make it a point to maintain and deepen their connection are happier and more productive together than those couples who do not. We want your future marriage to last a lifetime and we invite you to journey with us this year as we explore the power and importance of connection in a myriad of topics and situations!
Do you feel a deep sense of connection to your boyfriend or girlfriend?