Intimacy is defined as a “close familiarity or friendship; closeness.” We all long for unconditional acceptance and closeness. We want to be cared for, known, understood, and loved for who we are.
Proverbs 19:22 . says, “What is desired in a man is steadfast love”
That kind of love is unwavering…it is new every morning as Lamentations 3:22-23 refers to God’s steadfast love for us. It is a faithful, intimate love.
Being intimate involves the “mixing of our life with another, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts”. This is something we all long for because it’s how God made us. We were designed to connect.
We are made in the image of God…we were designed to know God and to be fully known by Him.
Author Timothy Keller said:
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
IS IT POSSIBLE TO KNOW THIS KIND OF INTIMATE LOVE?
The answer is YES…but it’s our response to Christ and a relationship with Him that equips us to love and be loved, because our Heavenly Father is the one who fills us through our intimate relationship with Christ.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE? EVERYTHING!
When we dated, we pursued each other, spent time together, served one another, communicated, and intentionally prioritized the relationship. Then we got married.
If marriage is the end goal of dating then day one of marriage becomes day one of drifting away from each other towards isolation. But if marriage is the starting point, then marriage is an intentional pursuit of each other’s hearts…a life long journey together of being known and fully known by each other with the Holy Spirit as our guide.
We get married and have an unrealistic expectation of what marriage will look like. Marriage is work. Getting married is easy; but staying married and even more importantly having a passionate, loving, thriving…not just surviving marriage… takes intentional effort. It’s continually communicating, being quick to forgive, and remembering you are on the same team.
We tell couples, if the enemy can’t get in front of you to stop you; he will get behind you and push you so fast that you will lose each other in the midst of the fast paced race of life.
HOW DO WE MAKE TIME TO CONNECT AND HAVE GREATER INTIMACY?
- Be intentional
- Schedule time together
- Make an appointment and protect that time. We make appointments for things that are important to us.
- Pray together; read a devotional; read at least one marriage enrichment book a year together.
- Schedule date nights, date mornings, day dates…whatever works for your schedules..BUT SCHEDULE THEM.
- Use this time to debrief, check schedules, discuss the budget, make a budget, get on the same page with the kids. Marriage is a TEAM…work together.
- Take a Sabbath
- God created the sabbath for a reason…to rest, reset, reconnect…do you have a sabbath time together where you are intentionally connecting?
- Sunday is our day…minimal work. We rest.
- Look at your schedules…if you have something going on every day, every evening, multiple appointments and commitments…it’s time for a marriage meeting to discuss, TOGETHER, what can be laid down and let go in order to have a sabbath.
- Has your marriage become child-centered?
- Marriage only works in first place under your relationship with God.
- The children revolve around the marriage..not the other way around.
- How? We have to make that happen and teach our children the priority of marriage. It is INTENTIONAL.
- Schedule kid free time.
- Kids need a bedtime that allows you to be friends and lovers.
- Get a babysitter for date nights; work out a swap with another couple with kids so you can each have a date night once or twice a month
- Establish healthy work boundaries.
- Our jobs can become all consuming but we were never meant to be available 24/7 to anyone except God. We should not be married to our jobs…this includes being a full time mom.
- Sit down as husband and wife to determine together how to establish healthy work boundaries.
- Make a plan as a team, divide and conquer the chores, errands and evening routine with the children.
- Establish social media boundaries.
- Technology is a wonderful tool but it’s a terrible master.
- Intentional time together needs to be technology free unless you are watching a marriage enrichment video together or there is something you have determined you are doing or talking about that requires your phone.
- Turn the phones off. You do not need to answer calls, texts, emails, and check social media when you are having intentional marriage maintenance time.
Intimacy is intentional and intimacy is not necessarily about sex. Intimacy is so much more. The physical act of making love can be the result of the fulfillment of the kind of intimacy we were created for: TO BE FULLY KNOWN & LOVED…FIRST by God. This is what enables us to love our spouse with the God kind of love.
If we are each serving one another with the God kind of love then we will be led by the Holy Spirit into this beautiful lifelong marriage journey of true intimacy with our spouse. This is what God calls the Law of Purity in Genesis 2:25. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed in every way: physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, relational, financially… EVERY WAY.
When we are connected on a deeper, spiritual, emotional, relational level of intimacy in our marriage, sexual intimacy more naturally flows from that.
The marriage journey inevitably produces all sorts of things to distract us and require our attention. As we age, as we become busy with kids and work, in-laws, commitments, life challenges and hardships… all these “things” can interfere with us having time to share our feelings, fears, needs, challenges, failures, dreams, goals. When is the last time you and your spouse had intentional marriage maintenance time to talk about and write down dreams and goals for your marriage? Your children? Your work? Ministry? Finances? Sex life? You name it? When is the last time?
As a result, together you will CULTIVATE GREATER INTIMACY in your marriage.